Coffee Talk

By Sharon Naylor

February 27, 2015 5 min read

If you regularly drink coffee, your coffee mugs are likely looking pretty dingy, with brown rings on the sides and brown circles on the bottoms (the brown stains coming from the oils and tannins in coffee beans). A pass through the dishwasher, even on high heat settings, isn't going to remedy the problem, but there are some easy and natural quick cleaning fixes that can remove those coffee stains and get your mugs looking new again:

*Soaking Methods

--Heat several cups of white vinegar until hot, and carefully place the entire mug in the hot vinegar. Let soak for four hours or overnight, and then rinse the mug.

--Heat several cups of water until hot, add baking soda to the water, and soak the entire mug in this mixture for several hours or overnight. Then rinse the mug well.

--Heat several cups of water until hot, add a denture tablet to the water, and soak the entire mug in this mixture for several hours or overnight. Then rinse the mug well.

*In-Cup Method

--Place the coffee mug in your sink. Add a tablespoon of baking soda to the cup, and then pour in white vinegar so that it foams. Allow to sit for several hours, and then pour out and rinse the mug well.

--Add two drops of dishwasher detergent to your coffee mug, carefully pour in boiling water, and soak the entire mug in this mixture for several hours or overnight. Then pour out, and rinse the mug extremely well so that you don't get soap bubbles in your next cup of coffee.

--Add the juice of a lemon to your coffee mug, and then pour in boiling water and let sit for several hours or overnight. Pour out and rinse well.

--Fill the mug with hot water, and drop in one or two denture tablets. Allow to fizz and sit for several hours or overnight. Pour out and rinse well.

Stain-removal experts say that soaking methods work best on coffee stains that aren't deeply set or old, but rather on the coffee marks you see on this morning's cups. For tougher coffee stains, they advise using a nylon scrubber sponge to help remove stains after you pour out initial soaking ingredients.

They also say that baking soda is a key ingredient for removing any coffee smells that accompany stains in your coffee cups.

*Scrubs and Pastes

--Wet a cloth, and dip into a saucer of salt. Scrub the mug with this moist, salty cloth to remove stains. Rinse well.

--Create a paste of cornstarch and vinegar, dip a cloth into it, and scrub the inside and edges of the mug to remove stains. Rinse well.

--Create a paste of baking soda and lemon juice. Dip a cloth into it, and scrub the inside and edges of the mug to remove stains. Rinse well.

--Create a paste of salt and vinegar. Dip a cloth into it, and scrub the coffee mug to remove stains. Rinse well.

Magic Eraser sponges are another solution that can work well to remove coffee stains from mugs -- just moisten and scrub away coffee stains. Rinse well after using these sponges on your mugs.

Of course, the stains could be inside your stainless-steel travel coffee mug or coffee decanter, and Heloise of Hints from Heloise has a solution for a vacuum-insulated mug of this variety. She advises putting a tablespoon or two of baking soda into the mug or decanter and then adding a generous amount of white vinegar, letting it bubble up. After the foaming is very much complete -- and not before, as you could cause an explosion of the mixture -- put the cap back on the mug or decanter, give it a shake or two, and then pour it out and rinse with water. Let dry before using.

The hope is that your coffee mug will be clean and clear after using these natural ingredients. It's not advisable to use bleach, because such a chemical could cause burns if it comes into contact with your skin, and you certainly don't want to risk any bleach residue remaining in your coffee mug or decanter when it's time to pour your next cup of java.

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