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Clean Stained Coffee Cups With Baking Soda and Vinegar

March 22, 2024
Clean Stained Coffee Cups With Baking Soda and Vinegar


Coffee stains can be a daunting challenge, especially when they accumulate over time on our beloved coffee mugs. As an avid coffee drinker, I’ve experienced the frustration of trying to remove those stubborn brown rings and discoloration from my favorite cups. However, I’ve discovered a simple and effective solution that harnesses the power of two common household ingredients: baking soda and vinegar.

What Causes Coffee Stains?

Before we delve into the cleaning process, let’s understand what causes those pesky coffee stains. Coffee contains tannins, which are plant-based compounds that can leave behind unsightly brown stains on surfaces like ceramic, glass, and even stainless steel. These stains can be particularly difficult to remove because they tend to seep into the porous material of the cup or mug.

Additionally, the oils present in coffee can contribute to the staining process. As the coffee evaporates or dries, these oils can leave behind a sticky residue that attracts dirt and grime, further exacerbating the staining problem.

The Magic of Baking Soda and Vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar are two common household items that, when combined, create a powerful cleaning solution. Here’s how they work their magic:

Baking Soda: A Gentle Abrasive

Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is a mild abrasive that can help scrub away stubborn stains without damaging the surface of your coffee cups. Its slightly gritty texture helps lift and remove the embedded coffee stains.

Vinegar: A Natural Acid Cleaner

Vinegar is a weak acid that can break down and dissolve the tannins and oils responsible for coffee stains. Its acidic nature helps cut through the grime and discoloration, making it easier to remove the stains.

The Fizzing Reaction

When baking soda and vinegar are mixed, they create a fizzing reaction that produces carbon dioxide gas. This fizzing action helps loosen and lift the stains, making them easier to wipe away.

Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Stained Coffee Cups

Here’s a step-by-step guide to effectively clean your stained coffee cups using baking soda and vinegar:

  1. Gather Your Supplies:
  2. Baking soda
  3. White vinegar
  4. Water
  5. A small bowl or container for mixing
  6. A damp cloth or sponge
  7. An old toothbrush or scrub brush (for stubborn stains)

  8. Make the Cleaning Solution:

  9. In a small bowl or container, mix equal parts baking soda and vinegar. For example, you can start with 1/4 cup of baking soda and 1/4 cup of vinegar.
  10. The mixture will start to fizz and bubble as the baking soda and vinegar react.

  11. Apply the Solution:

  12. Dip your damp cloth or sponge into the fizzing solution.
  13. Gently scrub the stained areas of your coffee cup, focusing on the most stubborn stains.
  14. For particularly tough stains, use an old toothbrush or scrub brush to work the solution into the affected areas.

  15. Let it Sit (Optional):

  16. If the stains are extremely stubborn, you can let the solution sit on the stains for a few minutes. This allows more time for the fizzing action and acidic properties to work on breaking down the stains.

  17. Rinse and Repeat (If Necessary):

  18. Once you’ve scrubbed the stained areas, rinse the cup thoroughly with clean water.
  19. If any stains remain, repeat the process with a fresh batch of the baking soda and vinegar solution.

  20. Dry and Enjoy:

  21. Once the stains have been successfully removed, dry your coffee cup with a clean cloth or allow it to air dry.
  22. You can now enjoy your freshly cleaned and stain-free coffee cup!

Tips and Tricks

Here are some additional tips and tricks to help you get the best results when cleaning stained coffee cups with baking soda and vinegar:

  • Act Quickly: Try to clean coffee stains as soon as possible. The longer they sit, the harder they become to remove.
  • Adjust the Ratio: If the stains are particularly stubborn, you can increase the ratio of vinegar to baking soda for a more potent cleaning solution.
  • Use Warm Water: Mixing the baking soda and vinegar with warm water can help enhance the cleaning power of the solution.
  • Scrub in Circular Motions: When scrubbing, use circular motions to help lift and remove the stains more effectively.
  • Avoid Abrasive Sponges: While a scrub brush can be helpful for tough stains, avoid using abrasive sponges or pads that could scratch or damage the surface of your coffee cups.
  • Protect Your Hands: If you have sensitive skin, consider wearing gloves when working with the baking soda and vinegar solution to avoid any irritation.

Preventative Measures

While cleaning stained coffee cups is important, preventing stains from occurring in the first place can save you time and effort. Here are some preventative measures you can take:

  • Rinse Cups Regularly: After each use, rinse your coffee cups with hot water to remove any remaining coffee residue.
  • Use a Coaster: Place a coaster or saucer under your coffee cup to catch any drips or spills, preventing them from staining the cup’s surface.
  • Clean Regularly: Make it a habit to clean your coffee cups regularly, even if stains are not yet visible. This can prevent the buildup of tannins and oils over time.
  • Consider Stain-Resistant Cups: If you frequently struggle with coffee stains, consider investing in stain-resistant or coated coffee cups that can help repel stains.


Cleaning stained coffee cups with baking soda and vinegar is a simple, effective, and eco-friendly solution that can save you time, money, and frustration. By harnessing the power of these two common household ingredients, you can easily remove those stubborn brown rings and discoloration, restoring your beloved coffee cups to their former glory.

Remember, consistency is key. Make it a habit to clean your coffee cups regularly, and you’ll be able to enjoy a fresh, stain-free cup of coffee every time. Happy cleaning!

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