How to Remove Coffee Stains from Cups?

By November 21, 2016

If you start every day with a cup of coffee, then you’ve probably found yourself wondering on more than one occasion how to remove coffee stains from cups. Coffee stains are among the worst stain culprits for two reasons: oil and tannin.

remove coffee stains from cups

Coffee gets its dark, rich color from tannin, a kind of natural food dye that can be stubborn to remove, especially once they’ve been set on a surface for sometime. While coffee doesn’t always come to mind when you think of oily substances. But the fact is that coffee beans release oils during the roasting process. Most of these oils roast away, but still enough remain behind to make coffee stain difficult to take out. The good news is, there are a number of cleaning supplies, most of them right in your cupboards, that can help you remove coffee stains from cups.

1. Using white vinegar

white vinegar

Vinegar alone is often enough to remove light coffee stains from cups. However, mind you that, simply filling a coffee cup with vinegar will not work if the coffee stains are thick for a long time. But for coffee cups which you just simply neglected to rinse or wash this morning, white vinegar can do the thick.

What’s more, white vinegar can deodorize cups, removing both the stains and smells associated with coffee. That may be difficult to comprehend, considering the pungent odor that the vinegar is famous for. But when you rinse the vinegar away, no odor remains. This is especially useful for plastic or acrylic cups, which can often become so imbued with the scent of coffee that it’s impossible to enjoy any other beverage from the cups without inhaling the smell of coffee at the same time.

Here is the detailed steps:

  1. Fill the coffee cup half full with hot water.
  2. Add enough white vinegar to fill the cup full.
  3. Let the mixture of water and vinegar set in the cup for a few minutes.
  4. Dump the mixture and wipe the cup out.
  5. If any coffee stains remain behind, scrub using a nylon scrubber sponge.
  6. Rinse well, and wash as usual.

2. Using baking soda and vinegar

Baking Soda with Vinegar to Clean Sink Drain

If white vinegar alone is not enough to remove coffee stains from cups, then you need to add a little baking soda to the mixture. When baking soda and vinegar are combined, the result is a bubbling action that can literally foam away most stains, including tough coffee stains. What’s more, this often means that stains will disappear without any help from you. In other words, you just stand back and watch the action.

For plastic or acrylic cups with a strong coffee stain or odor, there is nothing more effective than a baking soda and vinegar combination. Vinegar and baking soda are both natural deodorizers, and when combined, work even harder against tough odors. While coffee is well known for its aroma. However, if you’ve neglected your cup so long that coffee has formed a thick crust inside, then the foaming action may only be enough to loosen the crust. You need to scrub or wash the cup either by hand or in a dishwasher to remove the rest.

Detailed steps:

  1. Add one teaspoon of baking soda to the cup.
  2. Pour a quarter cup of vinegar over the baking soda.
  3. Allow the mixture to bubble and foam for several minutes.
  4. Pour the mixture out and wipe the cup with a clean cloth.
  5. Rinse well.

remove coffee stains

With these tips, there is no need to worry about how to remove coffee stains from cups. 

Related: [Round-Up] Coffee Filters Can Do More Than Make Coffee 
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Trash to Treasure: 10 Uses for Old Coffee Grounds

Tags: Life Hacks

Comments (31)



  1. I use white vinegar to get rid of coffee stains in my cups and it works a treat.

  2. If the stains are really bad I use a drop or two of bleach in hot water and then put it so the sun can shine on it.

  3. I HATE the coffee stains on my mugs. I usually use baking soda, but have never used vinegar. I will have to try that. It sounds easier to let the mixture foam and clean versus cleaning with a toothbrush and baking soda.

  4. I use a dab of baking soda on a cloth and cover the area and let it soak in for a few hours and then wash the cup in hot soapy water.

  5. Good to know this

  6. Sugar is a good way

  7. Great

  8. I use Milton steriliser that’s used for baby’s bottles it’s great for removing stains

  9. I use toothpaste

  10. I’ve always used denture cleaning tablets

  11. I use hot water and fairy washing up liquid

  12. Salt, bleach or a scourer. Or buy new mugs!

  13. I bleach and rinse

  14. I never have any coffee stains in my cup, just regular dish soap and water keeps them cleans, but our cups are rinsed immediately after use.

  15. with salt normally

  16. I’m a tea drinker, and tea leaves stains, too. I am going to have to try this method to get the stains out. I have been scrubbing my mugs with salt. It works, but it’s a lot of elbow work.

  17. I don’t. Shopping for new is fun!

  18. Thanks for these great tips.

  19. I usually make it with normal dish soap

  20. I too would use vinegar, it also works on windows.

  21. I use a spot of bleach on a Q-Tip.

  22. With liquid detergent

  23. My granny used to scrub with salt and it worked

  24. I’ll now the methods described in the blog

  25. I always use bleach and water

  26. I usually just rinse with water.

  27. I use a tiny amount of bleech and fill cup with boiling water. When stains are gone give it a really good clean.

  28. I use Vinegar