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Coffee Tips

How to Remove Coffee Cup Rings?

At first, you might’ve wondered, “what are coffee cup rings?” But after picking each word one after the other, you probably have an overall picture of what they are. You know those brown ring stains you get from a coffee cup after you’ve placed them on a table or desk for a while? Or the dark round colours inside mugs that look like they’ll never come off. Those are coffee cup rings. Read on because this article will explain how you get them and remove them.

Coffee cup stain


What Exactly are Coffee Cup Rings?

Coffee rings are formed as a result of the peculiar mannerism and characteristics of coffee particles in water droplets. Physicists have conducted research and come to some conclusions. Particles of coffee have a knack for moving peripherally in drops of water. As a result, when the drop evaporates, the remaining particles are located on the perimeter of the liquid spillage or liquid level inside the cup, forming a ring.

In addition, the conducted research also noted that the mannerism resulted from the spherical shape of the coffee particles. Other liquids with elongated particles don’t make the same sort of stain. Elongated particles don’t move to and settle at the periphery of droplets; therefore, no definitive radius is formed. This phenomenon gave rise to the term coffee ring effect.


How do you Get Coffee Cup Rings?

While many already get coffee cup ring stains on their tables or desks by accident, actively making one isn’t difficult. All you need to do is “accidentally” spill some coffee right by where you place your mug. Sometimes, the cup gets too filled up, and the beverage pours out down the side. Making a coffee cup ring on a table is as easy as that.

The coffee gunk in the mug happens due to a staining agent called tannin. Beverages such as coffee, tea, and red wine have this staining agent, which has a knack for clinging to the surface of your mug, irrespective of the material. Tannins bond with the calcium carbonate and limestone in hard water in an adhesion reaction and create the insoluble material you see as stains in your mug.

How to Remove Coffee Cup Rings

There are various methods to remove coffee cup rings from desks, tables, or other furniture. If you ever need to remove the stains, try out any of these options.

  • Vinegar 

Apply a teaspoon of vinegar to the affected surface and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Afterwards, use a clean washcloth to wipe the surface.

  • Homemade Cleaning Mocktail

To make a homemade cleaning mocktail, you’ll need baking soda and non-gel toothpaste. Mix a part of baking soda and toothpaste, then apply a neat washcloth to the cup ring. Apply in a circular motion to aid removal, then allow the mocktail to sit for some minutes. Afterwards, wipe the furniture and mocktail with a rag, then apply furniture polish to complete the procedure. The cup ring should be gone leaving behind a spotless table. There are several recipes, this is just one.

  • Hot Iron and Towel

This method is said to be the swiftest and easiest method. All that’s required is a cotton washcloth or dish towel and an iron. In place of an iron, you could use a hair dryer. Place the cotton cloth on the furniture with the coffee ring stain and then place the hot iron on top. Using dry heat from the iron, move the iron and dish towel around for about fifteen to twenty seconds. Doing that will remove the ring and prevent an imprint of the dishcloth on the iron or furniture.

  • Toothpaste

While this might sound odd, toothpaste could come in handy with removing coffee ring stains. Like the homemade cleaning mocktail, use a white toothpaste instead of gel. Apply a small amount to the affected region, and use a rag or washcloth to scrub lightly against the area. The stain should be gone within seconds to a minute or two. Try to wash the affected area only to avoid ruining the paint job or furniture polish.

  • Mayonnaise

Besides making a nice sandwich, mayonnaise works excellently on coffee cup rings. First, you have to confirm the authenticity of the mayo. Check the ingredients to be sure it’s got eggs, oil, lemon juice and vinegar. Apply some mayonnaise and let it sit overnight. By morning the stain should be easily wiped off. The fat and acid contents draw the water out, making cleaning easier.

If the stain persists, add some cigarette ash with the mayonnaise for some abrasion. Petroleum jelly is an excellent substitute to use if you happen to be out of mayonnaise.

  • Olive Oil and Table Salt

This is another DIY homemade remedy to deal with cup rings. You’ll need some table salt and olive oil. Mix some olive oil and salt into a paste in a bowl. Apply the paste to the affected portion and allow it to sit for about 30 minutes. Afterwards, wipe with a clean washcloth; the stain should be removed. The salt absorbs the water while the oil polishes the furniture to look neat. Feel free to use a cheap olive oil for this; it’ll work too.


How to Avoid Coffee Cup Rings

It’s best to avoid a stain altogether when it comes to coffee mugs and furniture. An excellent method is to use drink coasters or saucers. Using this along with your mug or cup of beverage will prevent direct contact with the table and avoid the stress of cleanup. It’ll also come in handy while holding on to the mug while it’s still hot.



While coffee cup rings might seem minor, they could be a hassle sometimes. Gradually, they’ll eat at the beauty of your furniture and leave a mark that doesn’t sit right with a recently cleaned house. By now, you know some DIY methods to help you quickly get rid of the stains. Nevertheless, don’t stay too long before you remove the stain, whether from your cup of joe or your favourite red wine. What other methods have you tried that work for you? Feel free to add these to your cleaning arsenal.


Also read: How to Remove Spoon Marks From Coffee Cups