How to Remove Stains From Ceramic Mugs

Part of: Quick Cleaning Tips (2 of 2)

If you are an avid coffee or tea drinker, you’ve probably noticed that these hot drinks can stain your favourite mugs. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to remove these stains. In this article, I’m sharing a foolproof method for cleaning tea or coffee stains from ceramic mugs.

Step-By-Step Instructions for Removing Stains From Ceramic Mugs

This method uses a mildly abrasive cleaning paste to clean stained mugs. The cleaning paste is created from three simple ingredients from your pantry, and it can make stained mugs look new. (In fact, I regularly use this method to restore mugs that are over 10 years old.)

  1. Sprinkle a layer of salt across the bottom of the mug.
  2. Sprinkle a layer of baking soda on top of the salt.
  3. Add a few drops of cooking oil to the mixture, forming a thick paste.
  4. Use a damp sponge to scrub the paste around the interior of the mug, focusing on the stained areas.
  5. Remove the cleaning paste by washing the mug using a sponge, dishwashing liquid, and water.


Here are some additional tips to help you restore your mugs to a state of sparkling cleanliness.

What if I don’t have salt?

If you’ve run out of salt, you can use sugar instead. If you don’t have sugar either, you can skip it and use extra baking soda instead.

What if I don’t have baking soda?

If you don’t have baking soda, you can skip it and use extra salt instead.

What does the oil do?

The oil has two functions. It provides the liquid necessary to turn the salt and baking soda into a paste. Also, oil is slippery, and in my experience this helps to loosen the stains.

What if I have a narrow or irregularly shaped mug?

If it’s hard for you to reach inside the mug with a sponge, try using a different cleaning tool. It can be helpful to use a tool with a long handle, such as a bottle brush or a toothbrush.

What if the stains aren’t coming off?

You might not be using enough of the cleaning paste. Repeat the process once more, using more salt, baking soda, and oil. It is easier to remove the stains when you have more cleaning paste to work with.

Also, make sure that you are scrubbing the stained areas. Scrub in circular motions on the affected areas, rotating the mug occasionally to ensure a thorough coverage.

Finally, older stains can be hard to remove in one session. Try repeating this process once a day, several days in a row.

Bonus Tip: How to Prevent Tea and Coffee Stains in Mugs

Now that your mugs are clean, you’ll want to keep them that way. Here are some tips to help you maintain your mugs:

  • Wash your mugs as soon as possible. This is the best way to prevent stains from forming.
  • Rinse any mugs that you don’t wash immediately. If you don’t intend on washing your mugs right away, swish some water around the interior of the mug after you’ve finished your drink. This will make the mug easier to wash later.
  • Give your mugs a weekly deep clean. Sometimes, we don’t notice stains until they are severe and hard to clean. To avoid this situation, scrub your mugs with the cleaning paste once a week—even if they don’t look visibly stained. This prevents stains from building up.