10 Best Ways to Remove Coffee Stains from Mugs

Coffee lovers understand the joy of enjoying a freshly prepared cup. However, they also know the frustration of stubborn coffee stains on mugs. Remove coffee stains from mugs is essential to maintain the beauty and cleanliness of their cherished cups. Fortunately, there are a number of time-tested techniques to get rid of these ugly scars. In this article, we’ll delve into the ten best ways to get your mugs looking brand new again.

1. White Vinegar: The Acidic Solution

Using white vinegar to clean mugs is an effective method, especially for removing coffee stains that often prove stubborn. Here’s a step-by-step guide to cleaning mugs using white vinegar:



Empty the mug and rinse it with water to remove any loose debris.

Vinegar Cleaning:

For General Cleaning: Mix equal parts of white vinegar and warm water in a bowl or jug.

For Tough Stains (e.g., coffee or tea stains):  You can use undiluted white vinegar for more stubborn stains.


Pour the vinegar solution into the mug.

Allow the mug to soak for about 15-30 minutes for general cleaning. For more stubborn stains, you might need to let it soak longer, even up to a few hours.


After soaking, carefully scrub the inside of the mug with a gentle brush or sponge. Pay close attention to regions that are discolored.

For stubborn stains, you can also use a bit of baking soda as a gentle abrasive. Sprinkle a little baking soda into the mug and then scrub with the brush or sponge.

Rinsing: Once you’re satisfied with the cleanliness of your mug, rinse it thoroughly with warm water to remove any vinegar residue.


Wipe the mug with a clean cloth or towel and allow it to air dry completely.

Ensure there’s no vinegar smell remaining. If there is, rinse again.

Additional Tips:

If you’re cleaning multiple mugs, you can fill your sink with the vinegar-water solution and let all the mugs soak at once.

Also Read: Benefits and Drawbacks of a Black Kitchen Sink of Stainless Steel

2. Denture Tablet Technique

Using denture tablets is a clever and effective method to clean mugs, especially those with tough stains or residual odors. 


  • Dirty mug(s)
  • Denture cleaning tablet(s)
  • Warm water


Rinse the Mug: Begin by rinsing your mug with water to remove any loose particles or residues.

Fill With Warm Water: Fill your mug almost to the brim with warm water. Warm water will help in activating the cleaning agents in the denture tablet and also improve its efficacy in breaking down the stains.

Drop in the Tablet: Add a denture-cleaning tablet to the mug. If you have an especially large mug or one with stubborn stains, you might consider using two tablets.

Wait and Fizz: Allow the tablet to fully dissolve and fizz in the mug. This usually takes about 10-15 minutes, but you can leave it for longer (even overnight) for particularly tough stains. The effervescence and cleaning agents in the tablet will work to break down and lift away the stains.

Scrub (If Necessary): For stubborn stains that didn’t come off with just the tablet, you might want to use a scrubbing brush or a soft sponge to gently scrub the inside of the mug after the tablet has done its work.

Rinse and Check: Once the tablet has dissolved and done its job, empty the mug and rinse it out thoroughly with fresh water. This will remove any residue or leftover cleaning agents. Inspect the mug to see if the stains have been lifted. If not, you can repeat the process.

Dry and Store: Once satisfied with the cleanliness, dry the mug with a clean towel or let it air dry.


Safety: Denture tablets are generally safe for cleaning food and drink containers as they are designed for oral use. However, make sure to rinse the mug thoroughly after cleaning to ensure no residue remains.

Also Read : How to Clean Oven Glass Door Without Baking Soda  

3. Baking Soda: 

Baking soda is a versatile and natural cleaning agent that can be very effective at removing stubborn stains and odors from mugs, especially coffee stains. 


  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Soft cloth or sponge
  • Soft-bristle brush 


For Mild Stains:

Directly put a good amount of baking soda into your discolored mug.

With a moist cloth or sponge, gently rub the mug in circular strokes. The granules of baking soda provide a soft scouring effect to help remove marks.

Wash the mug well with warm water and pat it dry.

For More Stubborn Stains:

Create a creamy mixture by combining baking soda with an equal amount of water.

Smear this mixture on the tarnished regions inside your mug.

Allow it to settle for a bit, but don’t let it harden fully.

Using your cloth, sponge, or gentle brush, softly scrub the tainted parts. The brush is particularly useful for cleaning the deep corners of the mug.

After scrubbing, wash the mug well with warm water and let it air dry.

Things to Keep in Mind:

Ensure you rinse the mug comprehensively to clear away any lingering baking soda.

Baking soda is not only safe but also eco-friendly, making it a superb choice for many cleaning tasks.

Exercise caution when cleaning mugs with artwork or stickers to prevent any harm.

For extremely resistant marks, the baking soda mixture can be left in the mug for a prolonged period, such as overnight.

Bonus Suggestions:

To deodorize your mug, especially if it’s retained the smell of old coffee, fill it with warm water and mix in a spoonful of baking soda. Let this concoction stand for a few hours, then rinse out.

For a more potent cleaning solution, you can add natural cleaners like lemon juice or white vinegar to baking soda.

Storing Baking Soda:

Keep your baking soda in a shaded, moisture-free area and ensure it’s properly sealed to keep it dry.

Also Read : Step by Step Guide to Clean Blanco Silgranit Sink 

4. Salt: The Natural Abrasive

Using salt as a cleaning agent is an age-old method. It’s abrasive in nature, making it effective for removing stains and residues.


  • Salt
  • Water (can be warm or cold, depending on the stain)
  • Soft cloth or sponge


Preliminary Rinse: Before using salt, give the mug a quick rinse to remove any loose debris.

For Light Stains:

Wet the inside of the mug lightly with water.

Sprinkle a generous amount of salt into the mug.

Use a damp cloth or sponge to scrub the stains. The salt will act as an abrasive and help remove any stains or residue.

Rinse the mug thoroughly to ensure all the salt is washed away.

For Tough Stains:

If your mug has stubborn coffee stains, make a paste of salt and a little water.

Apply this paste to the stained areas.

Let it sit for a few minutes.

Scrub with a sponge or cloth. The salt’s abrasive nature will help break down and lift the stains.

Rinse the mug thoroughly.

For Exterior Cleaning:

If the outside of the mug needs cleaning, the same salt method can be used. Apply salt to a damp cloth or sponge and scrub the exterior of the mug. Rinse thoroughly.

Final Rinse: Once you’ve finished cleaning with salt, give the mug a final rinse with clean water to ensure all salt residues are removed.

Also Read: How to Clean Stainless Steel Sink Hard Water Stains

5. Cream of Tartar: The Magic Powder

Cream of tartar is a useful and natural cleaning agent that can be used for a variety of household cleaning tasks, including cleaning mugs. It’s especially great for removing coffee stains from the insides of mugs. 


  • Cream of tartar
  • Water
  • Sponge or scrub brush
  • Dry towel


Make a Paste:

Sprinkle a small amount of cream of tartar directly onto the stains inside the mug.

Apply the Paste:

Use a sponge or scrub brush to apply the paste onto the stained areas. For stubborn stains, you might want to let the paste sit for a minute or two.


Scrub the stained areas in a circular motion. Be sure to pay extra attention to any noticeable stains. The abrasive nature of the cream of tartar should help lift the stains from the surface.


Rinse the mug thoroughly with warm water. You should notice the stains lifting and the inside of the mug becoming cleaner.

Repeat if Necessary:

If the stains are still visible, repeat the process. Cream of tartar is non-toxic and natural, so you can use it as often as needed without worrying about damaging your mugs.

Dry the Mug:

Use a dry towel to wipe the mug dry. Check to see if the stains are gone. If they are still visible to a minor extent, you might want to repeat the process or let the cream of tartar paste sit for a longer period of time before scrubbing.

Also Read : Tips for Keeping Your Kitchen Clean and Organized: Easy Maintenance Strategies

6. Lemon Juice: The Citrus Power

Natural solutions like lemon juice can be surprisingly effective. Lemon juice contains citric acid, which acts as a natural cleaner and can help in breaking down and lifting stains from various surfaces.


  • Fresh lemon or bottled lemon juice
  • Water
  • Soft cloth or sponge


Rinse the mug with warm water to remove any loose debris.

Squeeze half a lemon into the mug. If you’re using bottled lemon juice, pour in enough to cover the bottom of the mug.

Swirl the lemon juice around so that it covers any stained areas.

Let the mug sit with the lemon juice for 15-30 minutes. This will allow the citric acid to work on the stains.

After allowing it to sit, scrub the inside of the mug gently using a cloth or sponge.

Rinse with warm water and dry.

Also Read: How to Choose the Perfect Kitchen Sink for Your Needs

7. Magic Eraser: The Sponge Solution



Soak the melamine foam in water briefly.

Press out the excess moisture, ensuring it’s moist but not dripping.


Use the moist sponge to gently polish away the stains inside your mug. Use steady, consistent strokes. As you work, you should see the blemishes beginning to vanish.

If certain stains are more persistent, consider applying a bit more effort, but do so gently to protect the mug’s surface or any artwork on it.


Once you’ve addressed the stains, cleanse the mug with water to wash away any remnants from the sponge.

Air Dry :

You can either towel dry your mug or place it in a rack to air dry.


Avoid using the Magic Eraser on painted or delicate surfaces as it can act like fine sandpaper and potentially remove paint or designs.

Also Read: Creating a Functional Kitchen Layout: Tips from Interior Designers

  8. Bleach: The Strong Remedy


  • Plain bleach (preferably without added fragrance)
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Water
  • Scrub brush or sponge
  • Optional: Protective gloves and eyewear


Safety First:

It’s a good idea to wear gloves when working with bleach to shield your hands.

If you’re concerned about splashes, protective eyewear can also be helpful.

Ensure you’re in an airy environment to prevent inhaling strong fumes.

It’s crucial not to combine bleach with other household chemicals, especially ammonia.

Initial Wash:

Start by rinsing the mug to discard any leftover bits.

Use liquid dish soap to cleanse away any old drink remnants.

Making the Cleaning Solution:

Create a blend using one portion of bleach to ten portions of water. An example would be one tablespoon of bleach mixed with 10 tablespoons of water.

Cleaning Process:

Pour your bleach mixture until the mug is half full.

Use a scrub brush or sponge to attentively clean stained sections. Let it settle for a few minutes but ensure it doesn’t remain for an extended period to prevent potential material damage.

Rinse Away:

Empty the bleach solution from the mug and give it a thorough rinse, ensuring no bleach remains.

Final Wash:

For added safety, wash the mug one more time with dish soap.

Do a final rinse to wash away any soap or lingering bleach traces.

Dry Off:

Set the mug aside to air dry or use a clean cloth to wipe it down.


Always test an inconspicuous spot first if you’re unsure how the material of your mug will react to bleach.

Avoid using this method frequently, as over time, bleach can weaken the material of the mug.

It’s essential to store bleach safely and away from young children or pets.

9. Cola: The Surprising Solution

Using cola (like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and similar carbonated soft drinks) to clean a mug is an unconventional method but can be effective, especially for removing stubborn stains, such as coffee residue. The acidity of the cola and its carbonation can help to dissolve and lift some stains. 


Preparation: Empty the mug of any leftover liquid.

Fill with Cola: Pour cola into the mug until it’s filled, ensuring that all stained areas are submerged.

Let it Sit: Allow the cola to sit in the mug for a few hours. The exact time might vary depending on the severity of the stain, but typically, 1-3 hours should suffice.

Scrub: After the soaking period, use a scrub brush, sponge, or even a toothbrush (dedicated for cleaning) to scrub away the stains gently.

Rinse: Once you’ve finished scrubbing, empty the mug and rinse it thoroughly with water.

Wash with Soap: It’s essential to wash the mug with dish soap and water to ensure that all cola and any sticky residue are removed.

Dry: Dry the mug using a dish towel or let it air dry.

This method might not be effective for all stains, especially if they have been set for a long time.

10.  Toothpaste: Not Just For Teeth

Using toothpaste to clean mugs can be effective, especially for removing coffee stains.


  • Toothpaste (preferably white and non-gel)
  • A soft cloth or sponge
  • Water
  • An old toothbrush (optional, for detailed cleaning)


Preliminary Wash: Rinse the mug with warm water to remove any loose debris.

Toothpaste Application: Squeeze a small amount of toothpaste onto the cloth or directly onto the stained area of the mug.

Scrubbing: Gently scrub the stained area with the cloth. For stubborn stains or hard-to-reach areas (like the bottom of the mug), you can use an old toothbrush to scrub. The mild abrasive quality of the toothpaste can help lift stains.

Rinse: Once you’ve scrubbed away the stains, rinse the mug thoroughly with warm water. Ensure that all toothpaste residue is washed off since you don’t want to taste toothpaste the next time you use the mug.

Dry: Dry the mug with a clean towel or let it air dry.


Always test a small, inconspicuous area of the mug first to ensure the toothpaste does not damage or scratch the surface.

Avoid using whitening, gel, or colored toothpaste as they might contain ingredients that can leave residues or discolor the mug.

If you’re cleaning a mug with a delicate design or decal, be gentle and careful not to scrub off the design.


Coffee stains on mugs may appear difficult to erase, but with the correct tools and methods, they may be successfully done away with. The idea is to be gentle and patient, whether you go with classic treatments like cola or denture tablets or more alternative ones like baking soda and lemon juice. Additionally, stains can be avoided by performing routine maintenance and fast cleaning. So, take a sip of your coffee and let your mugs sparkle!

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