When bad stains happen to good mugs.

By Caylin Harris
November 20, 2019
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No matter the strength of your dishwasher or how speedy you are at cleaning your breakfast dishes, over time your coffee mugs will stain. But the good news is that if you handle those stains right away, they’re much easier to remove. Don’t wait for years and then try to scrub away those set-in stains! Here’s how to avoid embarrassing tea or coffee rings (I swear, we just washed these!) in your favorite mug.

RELATED: How to Remove Every Type of Stain, in One Simple Chart

How to Clean Stained Coffee Mugs

What You’ll Need:

  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Sponge (soft and abrasive side)
  • Denture cleaning tablets

Follow These Steps:

Start with the least expensive and abrasive method first. If it doesn’t work, proceed to the next method.

1. Make a paste of baking soda and warm water in the mug, using the soft side of a damp (but not wet!) sponge until the stains are removed. Baking soda is mildly abrasive, so it will remove the stains without scratching the inside of the mug.

2. If that doesn’t work, fill the mug halfway with vinegar and fill the rest of the way with very hot water. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes, then empty the mug. Scrub the stains with dish soap and the abrasive side of a dish sponge.

3. For the must stubborn, stuck-on stains, try denture cleaning tablets. Use according to package instructions, but add enough water to submerge the stains, and then wash the mug with warm water and dish soap.

Dos and Don’ts of Cleaning Coffee Mugs

Do know when to give up. If your mug has seen better days and is all cracked and stained beyond repair, it might be time to recycle it (or simply accept the signs of wear).

Don’t scrub the inside of the mug with anything that’s so abrasive it will take the finish off. It might look a little better initially, but it’s not safe to drink from and the stains would come back with a vengeance on an unfinished surface.

Do wash your mug with dish soap after every use. Letting coffee sit in the mug for hours is the easiest way to create set-in stains.

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