Whose bright idea was it to make all insides of coffee mugs white? As a coffee expert, I’m all too familiar with coffee stains in general, but especially the ones that mar the insides of my favorite mugs, thus making them look embarrassingly dirty. “Thanks for coming over for dinner! Here’s coffee in a gross-looking mug!”
While these stains don’t come out with regular hand-washing or stints in the dishwasher, there are a few different things you can do lift them. Which one is best and easiest? In today’s article, let’s find out together on the best methods to remove coffee stains from your mugs. Without further ado, let us dive in!
Best Ways to Clean Coffee Stains Off Mugs
1. The normal way: Soak it with (lots of) soap!
Dish soap is formulated to lift stains and can be your first line of defense to get coffee stains out of mugs. Squirt a little soap into the mug, add enough warm water to cover the stain, and swish the mixture around. Let the mug sit for a few minutes (longer if the stain is set in) and allow the dish soap to penetrate the stain. Once the soap has had a chance to work, scrub the stain with a sponge.
2. Try our favorite cleaner: Baking Soda
If soap doesn't do the trick, here's how to clean coffee stains out of mugs with baking soda. Sprinkle about 1 tsp. baking soda on the stain and add a little water to make a paste. Scrub the stain with a damp, soft sponge. The gentle, abrasive nature of baking soda helps lift coffee or tea stains from the surface. Once you've finished scrubbing, rinse the mug well to remove any remaining baking soda.
3. Another secret weapon: Vinegar
Vinegar is another tried-and-true cleaning essential. To put this powerhouse to work on coffee and tea stains, fill your mug halfway with distilled white vinegar, then fill to the top with very hot water. Allow the mixture to sit for at least 10 minutes to give the vinegar time to work. After soaking, scrub away the stains using dish soap and a soft sponge, then rinse.
How to prevent future mug stains?
No matter what you do, porous materials like ceramic, china, and the stainless steel in travel mugs will get stained eventually. Keep them clean for longer with these tips.
1. Filter your water
Remember we mentioned tannins? They bond well with the limestone and calcium carbonate in hard water, creating an insoluble material that accumulates inside your coffee or tea mug. Prevent this by using filtered water for your morning drink. Cleaner water means tannins will have fewer mineral molecules to bond to, automatically decreasing the chances of dark stains.
A water filter for your faucet or a pitcher with interchangeable water filters will do the job.
2. Do not over-steep
If you’re someone who leaves the tea bag in the mug while they drink, stop it. First, that’s not how you brew tea, and second, this will not only stain your mug but your teeth as well.
Find out what the ideal steeping time is for the kind of tea you’re drinking and set a timer to remind yourself to take the bag out. This is also a perfect excuse to get some tea bag holder dishes, or a new mug with a built-in holder.
3. Clean up your mess
Leaving empty coffee mugs scattered around your place doesn’t help, as both your home and your cups will look dirty.
As soon as you finish your morning joe, make sure to rinse the cup. Yes, this may mean actually going to the nearest sink, which can be hard when it’s often preferable to, well, not do that.
Solve this by keeping a water bottle nearby so you can immediately dilute the coffee residue. Just pour some water into your mug and swirl it around to avoid gunk sticking to its walls. That way you’ll only have to leave your seat when your body requires a new dose of caffeine.