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How to Remove Tea Stains From Cups And Mugs

Mar 26,2024 | TeaTsy Team

Do you have stains on your teacups? Prolonged use of teacups or accidental staining of something can lead to unhygienic brown or dark-colored ring stains around our tea mugs.

Using a stained teacup for some special occasions can feel particularly embarrassing. For example, if you are serving tea to your guests at a meeting with tea and you use a teacup with brown stains to serve tea, it can feel very awkward for both of you.

But don't worry, this article will provide you with various ways to remove tea stains from cups and mugs.

Why Do Tea Stains Cups and Mugs 

tea mugs

Tea contains a variety of compounds, including tannins (a type of tannic acid), caffeine, and tea coloring. When the tea liquid cools in the cup or is stored for an extended period, these compounds react with the surface of the cup to form yellowish-brown tea stains. Tannins, in particular, can combine with minerals on the surface of the cup to form stains that are difficult to clean. 

In addition to this, tea-stained teacups and mugs are also related to the quality of the water used to make the tea, the temperature, the time, and the material of the teacup. For example, when hard water is used to brew tea, the calcium and magnesium in the water will combine with the compounds in the tea to form precipitates, which adhere to the walls of the cups, leading to more visible stains.

when tea is brewed in hot water, the compounds in the tea are more easily released from the tea leaves, and the high temperature also encourages these compounds to react with the walls of the cups more easily to form stains; the longer the tea is steeped the more time the tea compounds have to react with the walls of the cups to form stains, and the more the tea is steeped the more time the compounds have to react with the walls of the cups to form stains. 

The longer the tea is steeped, the more time the compounds in the tea have to react with the wall of the cup, forming stains that are more difficult to remove; different materials have different porosity and roughness on the surface of the cup, and some materials (such as porcelain) are more prone to adsorb the colors and compounds in the tea than others (such as glass).

Natural Cleaning Method of Removing Tea Stains from Cups and Mugs 

Tea stains on mugs and cups are recurring problems that often become permanent fixtures if care is not taken. However, because of stains, you wouldn't throw away your favorite tea cups and mugs. 

Since we sell teacups in a variety of materials on the Teatsy website and are very knowledgeable about different teacup materials and the issues associated with making tea, we offer you several ways to remove tea stains from teacups.

How to Remove Tea Stains From Cups and Mugs by Soaking 

Tea stains can be removed by ordinarily soaking your mug and cup in hot water. This is a gentle and effective way of removing stains without adding anything else. 

What you'll need:

  • Warm Water 
  • Bowl 
  • Liquid dishwasher 
  • Tea towel 

Step 1: Pour one quart of warm water into a large bowl large enough to submerge your tea cup or mug fully. 

Step 2: Pour a liquid dishwasher formulated to remove stains into the warm water. You can use your hand to mix them if you want. 

Step 3: Gently put your tea cups or mugs, one after the other, into the bowl and let them soak for 30 minutes or more. 

Step 4: After soaking for 30 minutes, remove the cup or mug from the bowl and clean it with water. Afterward, get a tea towel to dry them accordingly.  

How to Clean Tea Stain Using Baking Soda and Water 

In a situation where the tea stain is becoming too stubborn to get rid of, you should try out this method. 

Cleaning tea stains using baking soda and water is an effective combo to eliminate any stains. Let's look at the following steps to use this stain removal technique. 

What You'll need:

  • Baking Soda 
  • Water 
  • Sponge or Dishcloth

Step 1: Get a small bowl and put one tablespoon of baking soda in it. Pour a little water intermittently to make a paste. 

Ensure the paste looks like butter and gets sticky on your cup when you apply it. Lastly, you can do as much as you like to cover the stain area comfortably. 

Step 2: Moderately apply the baking soda paste directly on the stain area. Use your index finger to lift some baking soda paste and apply it directly on the tea stain area. Ensure it covers all the affected surfaces. 

Step 3: You should leave the paste on your teacups or mugs for about 20-30 minutes. This is important to allow the baking soda to break down the stubborn tea stain and, most importantly, weaken the tannin compound that is the causative material. 

Step 4: After 30 minutes, use your sponge or dishcloth to scrub the entire surface. You can do this by covering your finger with the towel and gently scrubbing the stained area in a circular motion. You can also use a soft bristle brush. 

Step 5: Inspect the entire tea-stained area to ascertain the effectiveness of the baking soda paste. Then, you can use your cup or mug and enjoy the sparkling white appearance once again. If the stain persists, apply the baking soda paste again and let it sit for 2 hours before you scrub and rinse. 

Remove Tea Stains From Cups And Mugs

How to Clean Tea Stain With Vinegar and Salt

Discolored cups and mugs are a regular theme that every tea lover comes up with. Using vinegar and salt to clean tea stains has been proven to be an effective solution. 

We bring this up because the acidic constituent of vinegar can help break down tannin, while the salt solution is an abrasive that lifts the stain particles off the cup or mug surface. 

What you'll need. 

  • White vinegar
  • Table salt
  • Water (optional)
  • Clean dishcloth or sponge

Step 1: Soak your dishcloth in water and use it to wipe the stained cup or mug. Do this so that it looks like you are trying to wipe the stains off the surface. This process is essential for sticking to the stained surface of the white vinegar and salt mixture. 

Step 2: Mix equal parts vinegar and salt in a bowl. As a rule of thumb, take two tablespoons of white vinegar and two tablespoons of table salt. 

Mix the two to make a paste. The amount of vinegar and salt you mix is determined by the number of cups or mugs you intend to clean. 

Step 3: You can apply the white vinegar and salt solution to the stained surface in two ways. 

  1. You can just pour a certain proportion of the vinegar and salt paste into the stained surfaces of the cup or mug. Let it soak for 20-30 minutes, and in some cases, you can leave it overnight if the stains are firmer or stubborn. 
  2. Another option is to cover your fingers with a dishcloth and use the paste to scrub the stained surface aggressively in a circular motion. 

Step 4: Check the stained surface to see if the process worked. Once the stained surface is cleaned, you should rinse the cup thoroughly. To get rid of vinegar stains, wash the cup or mug with warm water mixed with dishwasher detergent. 

Reasons You Should Clean Tea Cups and Mugs After Use

Tea Cups

Cross flavoring, bacteria deposits, and other chemical reactions are the undersides of a stained tea cup or mug. These are purely distasteful feelings that can quickly make you lose your appetite. 

Most tea lovers often mistake tea stains on cups and mugs as a natural that they can not avoid. This belief is quite flawed because that is not the reality. 

Tea stains can be avoided with appropriate cleaning measures immediately after every use. The following explains why you should clean tea cups and mugs immediately after use.

Potential Bacterial Infestation

Leftover tea that ends up being a little bit crusty, especially those with milk or sugar, can become a breeding ground for bacteria. Although this might not cause any life-threatening disease, the thought of sipping from a germ-infested tea cup or mug is an appalling experience that can mar your tea experience. 

Ensure you wash your tea cup or mug with hot water mixed with liquid dishwasher detergent immediately after use. 

Cross Flavoring

Imagine drinking black tea that tastes like a mixture of green and white tea. This is due to tannins that have been left to stick to the tea cup for a long period. Experiencing such can erode your taste and ruin your tea-drinking experience. 

Tea Stains Can End Up Becoming Permanent 

Tea stains can vary depending on the material the teacup is made of, so you first need to understand the differences between different teacups. In particular, tea stains are more noticeable where there are cracks or a thinner glaze.

Tannic acid is the main component of tea stains on teacups and mugs. The interesting thing about this compound is that the more you let it stay on fine china cups and mugs, the more it will ferment and become a permanent fixture on your drinkware.

Ruins Sipware Aesthetic 

A tea-stained cup or mug has become an unappealing sight in the face of tea lovers. Apart from the appalling tastes that make people lose their appetite, you also lose the chance to appreciate the masterpiece of aesthetically pleasing software. 


Tea stains can be one sort of sticky enemy that's not going away anytime soon unless you do what is needed. With our clearly outlined natural stain removal method, you can fight off any stain on your cups and mugs. 

Remember, timely cleaning is essential to preventing stains from setting in. It's worth noting that all the above-stated natural methods are highly effective and safe to use without any underlying effects, unlike chemical stain removals.