How to Clean Coffee & Tea Stains In Cup

If you’ve struggled to remove stubborn coffee and tea stains from your cups, you’ll be shocked at how easily those dark marks wipe clean with this easy trick!

Cleaning With Household Products

You Will Need:

  • Salt
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Soft cloths

Steps to Remove the Stain:

  1. Begin by washing the cup as usual to remove any surface liquid/stains that may be present.
  2. Next, mix up a paste using one of the following mixtures
  3. Baking soda and water
  4. Equal parts of white vinegar and salt
  5. Make sure the stained areas of the cup are wet.
  6. Apply one of the above pastes using a soft cloth.
  7. Scrub the surface until the stain is removed.

Cleaning With Commercial Products

You Will Need:

  • Bar Keepers Friend  
  • Cloth scouring pad
  • Water

Steps to Remove the Stain:

  1. Rinse the cup with water.
  2. Sprinkle enough Bar Keepers Friend powder over the surface to make a light paste.
  3. Go over the area with a cloth scouring pad to ensure the paste covers the stains.
  4. Wait about five minutes, but do not let the paste dry on the cup.
  5. Begin scrubbing in earnest with the cloth scouring pad.  If you use a new pad, it won’t take long.
  6. Add more Bar Keepers Friend directly to stains as needed.
  7. Once the stain is gone, rinse well under water.
  8. Discard the scouring pad, then wash the cup with your regular dish soap or run it through the dishwasher.

Additonal Tips and Advice

  • If you use Bar Keepers Friend Liquid, apply it directly to the cup. Wait up to five minutes, then scrub with the cloth scouring pad.
  • Always rinse well and wash cups before use.
  • Another common item is denture cleaner. Simply fill the cup with water and add a cleaning tablet. Allow the stains to soak until removed.


  1. Neil says:

    When those pesky little coffee and/or tea stains start to show up in your favorite cups, try using a mixture of vinegar and baking soda.

  2. Helen says:

    A Greenie scratch pad cleans your cups and glassware with hardly no scrubbing. I use them on everything – and they don’t scratch your dishes.

  3. Donna says:

    Tip for tea or coffee-stained cups: Magic Eraser!

    You can use it on the finest of china! I use it on my china tea cups when they get stained.

  4. Maggie says:

    Pour bleach (Javex, Old Dutch, etc.) into the stained cup. Swirl it around til the stain disappears. Pour bleach into a clean jar and cap it tightly. It can be used quite a few times, kept handy beside dish-washing soap. Wash the bleached cup well with hot soapy water, then rinse well. A little effort is required.

  5. Barbara says:

    Drop-in a denture cleaner and leave over night. Rinse clean or wipe with a sponge. Done.

  6. Lori says:

    I had once read that using plain white Colgate toothpaste would clean my white porcelain crock pot. Worked like charm. Tried it today on coffee stained coffee cups. Worked great. Non-abrasive like salt. Non-toxic like bleach. Also does not leave the taste of salt or vinegar in the cup.

  7. Shiela says:

    I didn’t have white Colgate so I tried Crest Pro-Health. Worked so great I was amazed!!! Try it, you’ll love it!

  8. Lon says:

    I use an S.O.S pad to clean a coffee cup. When I see a little stain in the cup, I take a wet S.O.S pad and clean the inside of the cup. It works great and is fast too.

  9. Monica says:

    I don’t think it’s a good idea to use bleach on the dishes that you may eat or drink from.

  10. Jorge says:

    Crest pro-health worked like a charm for me. I had a white china cup that has been stained for quite a while and whenever cleaned, it would take lots of scrubbing. I used the toothpaste mentioned before and it was so easy!

  11. Ann says:

    I would like to add my support to the toothpaste solution. I had previously tried vinegar and baking soda, but did not get the results I wanted. After searching, I came upon this thread. I just used what I had handy, which was Aquafresh whitening, but it didn’t seem to matter. Toothpaste really works!

  12. Kim says:

    I have always used bleach to clean my stained tea cups. It doesn’t take much and the cup looks like new. Make sure you always rinse well afterward. It also works on tea pots, finish with hot soapy water and rinse well. I use a strainer in my tea pot for loose tea, a little bleach and hot water makes it look like new as well. I am going to try toothpaste on some of my older tea cups. Thanks for all the tips.

  13. Roma says:

    I have used bleach, dental tabs, vinegar and baking soda, various scrubbers and always followed with soap and water. All have worked to clean my tea cups. My problem is that the following stains are darker and more difficult to clean. It appears that the inner finish of the cups has been damaged. I have several cups that are fine bone china and nothing I’ve tried works to remove all staining. Please help!

  14. Ethan says:

    I believe the reason toothpaste works is because it contains diatomaceous earth, a very mild abrasive. This stuff is actually tiny fossilized remains of hard-shelled algae. The shells are comprised mainly of silica or glass. So it’s similar to using Turtle Wax rubbing or polishing compound, but much safer of course.

  15. Ed says:

    Hot cocoa does the trick! When my tea mug needs cleaning, I make a cup of hot cocoa with two packets of cocoa powder, enjoy it, and when I wipe it out, the tea stains are already gone or significantly softened and easy to remove!

    I would guess it is either the acidity of the cocoa, the grittiness, or both that facilitate cleaning. The best part of this method is that you get hot cocoa AND a clean mug.

  16. Paul says:

    I tried soda, vinegar and lemon juice, but have not found them ideal.
    I find that soaking with a small amount of biological washing detergent works well.

  17. Phil says:

    I use bleach; it seems to remove all sorts of stains, and cleans flasks as well. Just wash with soppy water and dry afterwards.

  18. Jim says:

    Vinegar and baking soda do not work because vinegar is an acid and baking soda is a base. You just end up with a neutral solution.

  19. Fran says:

    The toothpaste is amazing! I even used it to clean out the dishwasher – fabulous!

  20. Janet says:

    I just tried vinegar and salt. It really worked!

  21. Barbara says:

    I work in a retirement home in Tennessee. The coffee cups are stained inside all the time. Can the dish person use a bucket of bleach-soapy water to soak them and then run them through our dishwasher?

    Thank you!!

  22. Larrybud says:

    Any abrasive will just make it worse for the stains the next time around.

    Simple Green will take those stains right away with just a wipe of a rag after sitting there for a couple of minutes.

  23. Meghann says:

    Wow, the toothpaste really worked!!

  24. Mary says:

    I’ve used weak bleach on my lovely white china mugs for about four years. The glaze on the insides of the mugs is worn away. Definitely never used any kind of scouring pad/cloth/salt or bicarbonate. Now going to try toothpaste on my new mugs.

  25. Hugh says:

    Toothpaste is the best solution for coffee and tea residue on cups; quick and easy.

  26. Rose says:

    I use soda crystals. Average price is 68p for a kilo. I use a dessert spoon per mug, fill with hot water and leave to stand for a couple of hours. Rinse afterwards. Leaves no smell and perfect stain removal.

  27. Lesley says:

    Thanks so much! The baking soda worked perfectly. My china looks like new.

  28. Shaun says:

    Put two spoonfuls of washing powder into the cup, top it up with boiling water, leave it to stand for 20 minutes, then wash the cup under running water; no scrubbing at all. I’ve used this on cups, sinks, and tea pots, and it works every time.

  29. Jenny says:

    Colgate doesn’t work and neither does baking soda and water! I don’t want to use bleach on our cups… please help…

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