I've noticed that my coffee cups are getting stained. Neither myself nor the dishwasher can get the stains out. Any suggestions? (Other than buying new cups ;)

  • Can you clarify a bit? What types of cups are these? Obviously not glass. Plastic and enameled cups can obviously become stained. Looks like you found your answer, but more info could help find a better one.
    – brendo234
    Commented Oct 14, 2016 at 16:53
  • @brendo234 It is porcelain coffee mugs
    – TungstenX
    Commented Oct 16, 2016 at 14:40

7 Answers 7


Baking soda. I use a standard dish sponge/scrubbie with baking soda and a little water and it comes completely out. I've actually tried it with just a damp paper towel and baking soda and it's almost as easy.

Baking soda has natural whitening properties and is a very gentle abrasive. I actually started using it elsewhere (sinks, counter tops, greasy pans) before discovering its use in coffee cups.

I've also tried baking soda + salt on counter tops and pans with great success. Salt has similar whitening properties (surprisingly to me) and is a stronger abrasive. Haven't tried it in coffee cups, but you might consider trying that if you need a little extra cleaning power. (Also: Aside from being cheap, baking soda / salt are food-grade and non-toxic!)

  • This seems to work some what, enough to make a difference. And it is cheap ;) Thank you.
    – TungstenX
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 18:22

Another possibility for residual stains: Try soaking in powdered dishwasher detergent (i.e., stuff for automatic dish machines, not dish soap) and boiling water.

The process: put a small amount (~ 1 tsp / 5 mL) of powdered dishwasher detergent in the cup. Fill cup with boiling water (very hot tap water might also be okay). Stir to dissolve detergent. Let sit for at least 1 hour or overnight. Empty, rinse, wash with sponge or scrub brush and conventional dish soap as usual.

I did this to clean my heavily tea-stained equipment, and it worked great, as I noted in another question and answer of mine from Seasoned Advice.


All the tips above are good and might help, but in my opinion a good coffee cup shouldn't get any stains what so ever, in case it does I suggest you to throw it away and buy a new one.

Why not using a regular espresso glass cup similar to:

Espresso glass cup

These cups will never get stains :)

  • Those borosilicate cups sure are pretty but often times I really enjoy seeing the contrast of the dark coffee against a clean white interior. I do notice that some ceramic mugs stain easier than others. After reading your post it comes to mind that I should pay more attention to the quality of the glazing. Thanks! Commented Oct 12, 2017 at 18:38

Puro Caff

This stuff cleans stains from all my presses, thermoses, and cups...makes all like new again.

  • Thank you for the tip but it is very expensive and not readily available outside the USA, it seems.
    – TungstenX
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 18:19

Use some thick household bleach with the option of adding a bit of warm water.
Leave this to stand in the cup making sure the stains are coated with bleach. After leaving these for several hours the stain will eventually be removed! Works on the toughest stains.

Remember: wash this out thoroughly under a tap before using it!


I nice clean cup or mug certainly adds to coffee drinking enjoyment in my opinion. Since coffee stains are somewhat oil based, I suggest you put in a dollop of coconut oil, sprinkle in some baking soda, salt, and a few drops of water, scrub with a toothbrush or nail brush. Follow with some vinegar, then a hot water rinse. Since your cup is warm it is a perfect time for another cup of coffee :-)


For ceramic mugs just use toothpaste and toothbrush.

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