How to Clean Coffee Stains in a Stainless Steel Cup

Posted by Printed Kicks Team on

How to Clean Coffee Stains in a Stainless Steel Cup

Stainless steel cups are a great accessory for coffee drinkers; they’re reusable, easy to wash, and extremely durable. However, one of the more annoying aspects of drinking coffee out of a stainless steel cup is the stains that get left behind. If you’re anything like the typical coffee drinker and are drinking over two cups a day, you’ll likely notice some staining in your cup after a few weeks of using it.

The reason why coffee leaves stains on your cup is that coffee is partially made from plant matter. Coffee is usually composed of about 98.75% water and 1.25% soluble plant matter. The plant matter is what gives coffee its strong, dark color. It’s also what leaves stains on your coffee cup. 

Some people choose to replace their stainless steel cups after coffee stains begin to appear. However, it can become very expensive and tedious to constantly have to buy new ones. Fortunately, it is a lot easier than you may think to remove coffee stains from your cup. 

Many steel coffee mugs come with warnings of “hand wash only.” Most manufacturers of stainless steel coffee cups do not recommend using a dishwasher because most of the cups use polypropylene and plastic around the outside of the mug. 

Water can also get trapped in some parts of your coffee cup, opening the potential for contaminants to get in. The worst part is, it’s very difficult to notice. Even the slightest moisture left behind on your coffee cup can cause stains and nasty odors. When you hand wash, you can make sure to get out all the water from your cup and dry it properly.  

You can usually do a solid cleaning job on your coffee cup with just the supplies you already have in your home. There are several different ways that you can clean your stainless steel coffee cup. Here are some of our favorites!

The Detergent Method

The first and most accessible method is the dishwasher detergent method. For this method, you’re going to need a pot or kettle, some dish detergent, a brush or sponge, a stove, and some water. You can also use a detergent pod. Gloves are optional. 

To start, fill your pot or kettle with hot water and put it on the stove. Add a splash of dish detergent to the pot. Cook until it boils. Then, put your stainless steel coffee cup in the sink and pour the boiling solution into the cup until it’s full. Let it cool for about thirty minutes. 

With great caution, stir the water around in the cup with a utensil or mixer. If your stains are light, this may be enough to remove them. However, if your stains are deeply embedded into your cup, you may need to do some extra work. 

When the liquid is cool enough, put your gloves on and begin to scrub the inside of your cup with a sponge or brush. The boiling solution should have loosened up the stains in your cup. Now, it’s time to eliminate them completely. Once you remove the stains, rinse out your cup several times and dry it lying upside-down.

Many people underestimate the immense power of a simple dishwasher detergent. These liquids are made to hit the toughest stains on ceramic, plastic, and steel plates. So why not use them on our coffee cups?  

The Baking Soda Method

Another way you can clean your stainless steel coffee cup is by using baking soda and vinegar. These two ingredients can be used as very powerful cleansers. In tandem, they create a potent cleaning solution. 

First, gather your supplies. You need one cup of baking soda, half a cup of hydrogen peroxide, a brush or sponge, and some water. You can also use hydrogen peroxide if you don’t have vinegar. The process of cleaning your cup with baking soda is going to be very similar to the last method. 

Pour one cup of baking soda into your coffee cup and fill it with warm water. The water does not need to be boiling. In fact, it should be cool enough for you to put your hands in. Add a half cup of hydrogen peroxide or vinegar and stir until it is thoroughly mixed. Let it sit for a few minutes.

In the same way as the detergent method, brush or scrub down the inside of your coffee cup until the stains are gone. The objective is to make the solution foam up and to clean the inside of the mug while the baking soda is agitating the metal. Always keep your mug lid off during this process. Baking soda mixed with hydrogen peroxide or vinegar can build up pressure in a closed space and implode. 

When you’re finished, pour out the solution and rinse. By now, your stain should be removed completely or significantly lighter. If you’re unsatisfied with your results, repeat the process. 

The Denture Cleaning Tablet Method

This last method might be a little less accessible for most people. But if you’ve got some denture cleaning tablets lying around, you can put them to good use! 

You may have never imagined that denture cleaning tablets could be used as an effective stain remover for coffee cups. Surprisingly though, it is actually one of the toughest cleansers you can use. If you’re really struggling with a particular stain on your cup, consider picking up some denture cleaning tablets. 

Dentures can pick up coffee stains too. And these cleaning tablets do a great job of getting rid of them. There is no reason why they can’t be used for coffee cups as well. 

First, put your cleaning tablet into your cup and fill it with warm water.  The tablet can produce harmful gases in closed spaces, so leave the lid off. The tablet will essentially clean the cup for you. Just let it sit. 

After about thirty minutes, your coffee cup should be clean. For some extra diligence, use a brush or sponge to clean the inside of the cup. When you’re done, rinse your cup and clean it again with soap and water. You want to make sure that there is absolutely no trace of the denture tablet left. 

Cleaning the Lid

Now that you know how to clean the inside of your coffee cup, it is worthwhile to discuss how to clean the lid. Practically every stainless steel coffee cup uses a polypropylene lid. Usually, there are small crevices between the lid that can trap fluids also. 

Those who drink their coffee without additives probably won’t have many issues with the lid. But for those who enjoy their coffee with milk, creamers, and sweeteners, residue can build up in the crevices of your lid and start to let off a sour odor. You will most likely have to disassemble your lid, then clean it by hand, carefully inspecting it for spots. 

At Printed Kicks, all of our tumblers come with a vacuum-sealed lid with minimal crevices for water to get trapped in. Consider checking out our collection of tumblers if you’re looking for a new coffee cup!

When you’re done cleaning your lid, leave it on a drying board or mat to dry off. When it is completely dry, inspect it once again to see if you missed any spots.


With these methods, you’ll be able to remove coffee stains from your stainless steel cup, no matter where you are. All you need are a few basic home goods. 

Stainless steel is one of the strongest, most durable materials for coffee cups. Unfortunately, though, they are still prone to coffee stains. Knowing how to effectively remove these stains from your cup can save you hundreds of dollars every year. Having clean coffee cup parts makes for a more organized kitchen as well. 

Upon searching online, you may be inclined to purchase a cleaner specifically designed for coffee stains. However, we heavily recommend that you try these at-home options first, as they are more than likely sufficient for your needs. Many coffee cup cleaners are made from harmful chemicals that negatively impact the environment. Also, they can be very expensive! 

In the event that you’re unable to remove the coffee stains from your cup, you may have to come to terms with the fact that it’s time to buy a new one. Some stains are just too deep and too old to get rid of. Luckily for you, we’ve got you covered! Here at Printed Kicks, we offer a variety of stainless steel coffee cups with over 160 tumbler designs. 

Next time you notice a stain on your coffee cup, don’t fret! You can refer back to this guide at any time and be confident in your ability to remove it. Nobody likes an ugly, brown stain on their coffee cup. With these cleaning methods, we’re redefining the term “stainless!”



How to Remove Coffee Stains from your Stainless Steel Coffee Pot | Grab Green Home 

How to Clean a Stainless Steel Travel Mug | Life Maid Easy 

4 Easy Ways to Remove Coffee Stains From Stainless Steel | Tips Bulletin 

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