We Tried 5 Cleaning Techniques for Stained Coffee Mugs, and the Best One Was Exceptionally Effective!

5 Cleaning Techniques for Stained Coffee Mugs

Stained coffee mugs can be a frustrating problem, ruining the look of your favorite mug and potentially affecting the taste of your coffee. We've all tried various ways how to clean mugs and these stubborn stains, but which ones actually work? 

To find out, we put five popular cleaning techniques to the test. From baking soda and vinegar to commercial cleaning products, we tried them all and found one that was exceptionally effective. In this blog, we'll share our findings and give you step-by-step instructions for the winning cleaning method.

1. How I Tested The Ways for Cleaning Coffee Stains Inside Mugs

When it comes to getting rid of coffee stains from your favorite mugs, it's important to know how to clean mugs in a way that not only works but is also efficient and easy to use. To put various methods to the test, I selected five of my most stained mugs and applied a strong batch of coffee to them, allowing the liquid to soak in and the coffee oils to form a stubborn layer on top of the existing stains.

I then tested five popular and proven cleaning ways on how to clean mugs, ranking each one from 1 to 10 based on its ease of use and efficiency. In addition to the rating, I included detailed notes on each method so you can get a better understanding of the results and decide which approach might work best for you. 

The Ways for Cleaning Coffee Stains Inside Mugs
The Ways for Cleaning Coffee Stains Inside Mugs

Whether you're looking for a quick and simple how to clean mugs or one that requires a little more effort, this blog will help you find the right approach for removing coffee stains from your mugs.

1.1. Mug Cleaning Method: White Vinegar

Duration: 8 minutes (3 active minutes)

The Process: Fill the stained mug halfway with boiling water, and top with white vinegar. Allow to sit for five minutes, then scrub using a sponge. Wash when done.

Result: White vinegar may seem like a logical choice for cleaning your mug due to its mild pH level, which helps break down tough grime and grease. However, it's not the most effective solution for removing deep-set coffee stains. Despite the time it takes to allow the vinegar and boiling water to sit, the solution still requires significant scrubbing to clean the mug. 

Mug Cleaning Method - White Vinegar
Mug Cleaning Method - White Vinegar

Additionally, the strong odor and taste of vinegar can linger and require thorough washing to remove. While it's a cost-effective solution, there are better options out there that require less elbow grease and result in a fresher smell and taste for your next drink.

Overall Rating: I gave this 2/10 due to the strong odor from the vinegar actually linger quite a while and affecting my next cup of coffee.

1.2. Mug Cleaning Method: Denture Tablet

Duration: 20 minutes (5 active minutes)

The Process: Fill the stained mug with warm water and drop an effervescent denture-cleaning tablet inside. Allow the tablet to dissolve and work its magic for 15 minutes, or until the water turns clear. Then, scrub the inside of the mug with a sponge and wash it as usual.

Result: The fizzing, foaming, and color-changing process of the denture tablet was definitely intriguing and felt like a science experiment. However, once the bubbling stopped, the blue water looked unappealing and the tablet didn't provide the cleaning results that were hoped for. Scrubbing was still necessary, which was a bit of a letdown after waiting for 15 minutes. 

Mug Cleaning Method - Denture Tablet
Mug Cleaning Method - Denture Tablet

Additionally, the mug had to be washed thoroughly after using the denture tablet to remove any residual odor or taste. All in all, this method was fun and unusual, but not very effective when it comes to cleaning coffee-stained mugs.

Overall Rating: This option is only 3/10. The biggest bump is that the waiting time is too long. If you want to wash your mug quickly and get some coffee pumping in the morning, the method is definitely not for you!

1.3. Mug Cleaning Method: Lemon Wedge

Duration: 3 minutes

The Process: For a natural cleaning solution, try using a wedge of lemon. Simply cut a lemon in half and use it to scrub the inside of the mug in order to remove any stains and odors. Then, rinse thoroughly with water. The acidic nature of lemon juice is gentle enough to remove stains without damaging the finish of your mug.

Result: While the fragrance of fresh lemon is a welcome change from the usual coffee odors, this method has some limitations. The size of the mug and the lemon wedge makes it challenging to maneuver and thoroughly clean the inside of the mug. 

Mug Cleaning Method - Lemon Wedge
Mug Cleaning Method - Lemon Wedge

However, the lemon's natural acidic properties do help to remove any stubborn stains and odors. But, be sure to wash the mug thoroughly after using lemon as the smell may linger and affect the taste of your next drink.

Overall Rating: I gave this a 4/10. Even though I really like the smell of fresh lemon and I need only 3 minutes to use this method, the lingering acidity and sourness of it do not go along with my favorite beverage (coffee, of course).

1.4. Mug Cleaning Method: Bar Keepers Friend and Steel Wool Pad

Duration: 11 Minutes (1 Minute of Active Cleaning)

The Process: To get your mugs looking sparkling clean, first, wet the inside of the mug and then sprinkle Bar Keepers Friend powder over the surface. Leave it to sit for up to 10 minutes to allow the cleaning powder to work its magic. Next, use a steel wool pad to gently scrub away any stains. Finally, rinse the mug with water and dry it thoroughly.

Result: The Bar Keepers Friend powder and steel wool pad combination proved to be a powerful duo in removing tough and persistent stains from the mug. The cleaning powder was effective in breaking down the stains, making it easy to scrub away with minimal effort. 

Mug Cleaning Method - Bar Keepers Friend and Steel Wool Pad
Mug Cleaning Method - Bar Keepers Friend and Steel Wool Pad

However, it's important to note that the steel wool pad could be harsh on delicate ceramic surfaces and may scratch the surface or remove decorative elements if used too vigorously. A softer sponge may be a better option, but it may not deliver the same level of cleaning effectiveness. Overall, this cleaning method was a great success!

Overall Rating: I gave this an 8/10. The only drawback that I may not like from this method is that if I keep using the steel wool pad on the mug, although a plain mug would be fine, but when it’s my favorite mug with pretty design, the pad would definitely destroy it and make my mug look damaged!

1.5. Mug Cleaning Method: Baking Soda

Duration: 3 minutes (1 active minute)

The Process: Mix a small amount of tap water with baking soda to create a thick, yet easily spreadable paste. Use a scrubby sponge to apply the paste to the interior of the mug, and let it sit for a few minutes to allow the baking soda to work its magic. For added convenience, you can even prepare the paste directly in the mug itself to avoid dirtying another dish. Once you have scrubbed the mug thoroughly, simply rinse it clean.

Result: It's no surprise that baking soda comes out on top as a cleaner – it's a versatile and inexpensive household staple that does wonders in the kitchen. The grittiness of the baking soda paste makes for an abrasive yet gentle scrub that effectively removes stains and grime without leaving any unpleasant odors or flavors behind that could compromise the taste of your next beverage. Cleaning the mug was an easy and satisfying task, and you'll love the results!

Mug Cleaning Method - Baking Soda
Mug Cleaning Method - Baking Soda

Overall Rating: For obvious reasons, this is a 10/10. What can I really complain about here? The process is fast, the result is awesome and I have a clean mug ready for my next potion of coffee already. This is the best (not to mention, most economical) to clean your coffee mugs from stains and odors.

2. Mug Cleaning Tips & Tricks for Coffee Stains (and even Tea Stains!)

Stains on your favorite coffee mug or travel tumbler can be frustrating and difficult to remove. Whether you're dealing with stubborn coffee stains or trying to remove a tea stain, finding the right cleaning method can make all the difference. 

Along with the above-mentioned 5 methods, here are some more tips and tricks on how to clean mugs that you can use to make sure your mug is squeaky clean every time!

  • Choose the Right Tools: When it comes to cleaning your coffee mugs, having the right tools makes all the difference. If you have tall mugs, consider investing in a bottle brush that can reach all the way to the bottom. This will make cleaning the inside of your mugs much easier and more effective.
  • Prevention is Key: One of the simplest ways to avoid coffee and tea stains is to rinse your mug immediately after using it. This will remove any lingering drops of the beverage and prevent them from setting into the material. If you can't wash the mug right away, a quick rinse will still help to prevent staining.
Mug Cleaning Tips & Tricks for Coffee Stains
Mug Cleaning Tips & Tricks for Coffee Stains
  • Hydrogen Peroxide Solution: Hydrogen peroxide is a powerful cleaning agent that can effectively remove coffee and tea stains from your mugs. To use, simply mix equal parts of hydrogen peroxide and water in a spray bottle and spritz it onto the inside of the mug. Let it sit for a few minutes and then scrub the mug with a sponge or cloth. Rinse the mug with cold water and dry thoroughly.
  • Salt and Lemon Juice: Salt and lemon juice make a powerful combination for removing coffee and tea stains from your mugs. Simply mix together equal parts of salt and lemon juice and rub it onto the stains with a sponge or cloth. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes and then rinse the mug with cold water.
  • Scrub with a Toothbrush: An old toothbrush is a great tool for scrubbing hard-to-reach areas inside mugs. Simply dip the brush in a cleaning solution and scrub the stain away. You can also apply a small amount of white toothpaste to the stain, then scrub with a brush and rinse thoroughly.
  • Toothbrush: If you don't have a scrub brush or a nylon scrubber on hand, consider using an old toothbrush. Simply wet the toothbrush and add a small amount of dish soap, then gently scrub the inside of the mug to remove any coffee stains. Rinse the mug with water and let it air dry.
  • Microfiber Cloth: To keep your mugs looking spotless and new, use a microfiber cloth to clean them. These cloths are gentle on surfaces and are great for removing coffee stains and fingerprints. Simply wet the cloth, then gently wipe the inside and outside of the mug to remove any stains and fingerprints.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, knowing how to clean mugscan be a challenge, but it's worth it to keep your favorite drinkware looking its best. We tried five different cleaning techniques and found that baking soda was the clear winner, providing a quick and easy solution that effectively removed even the toughest coffee stains. 

Whether you're dealing with daily use or an older stain, baking soda is an inexpensive and safe solution that will get your mugs looking like new again. So, next time you're facing a stubborn coffee stain, grab a box of baking soda and get to cleaning!

And if you have any other cleaning tips and tricks on how to clean mugs, we would love to hear them in the comments section below! Don't forget to share this article with your friends and family who are coffee lovers, so they too can benefit from this amazing cleaning solution. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more great content!

Jane Park | View all blog posts

Jane Park is a talented content creator and marketer at Unifury, she has demonstrated her great ability to connect with readers and deliver valuable insights. With her passion for writing and marketing, coupled with her dedication to empowering and inspiring others, Jane is well on her way to achieving her goals and making a meaningful impact in the world.

Share this post

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.