Don’t let brown tannin stains ruin a perfectly good cup of tea. Here’s how to remove tea and coffee stains from cups and mugs naturally.

Years ago I had this colleague who was prone to black tea in a very particular cup. However, he never washed out the cup – instead just rinsing it with water each time. I would always shudder when it was my turn to make the tea for everyone. The thing was so badly stained with tannins from the tea, that the white cup was completely dark brown on the inside – almost like a coating of fur. It was SO disgusting.

Whilst my colleague claimed the tannins in the mug contributed to the perfect cup of tea, I completely disagreed! I’m definitely of the mindset that to make the optimum cup of tea you need to start with a clean cup or mug.

Whenever I made the tea I’d secretly scrub out his cup with hot soapy water to make it a little more hygienic to handle. Yet even hot soapy water and a scourer were never enough to touch the sides of that cup. Those brown tannin stains seemed to be an integral part of that cup.

I am partial to a cup of tea – particularly plastic-free tea. And I’ve found that no matter how well – and how often – you wash your cups and mugs, they do often develop these tannin stains. Over the years I’ve found the best ways to remove tea stains from cups, cheaply, naturally and easily in just 30 minutes.

How To Remove Tea and Coffee Stains From Cups & Mugs

White cup next to a plant with blue text box that reads how to remove coffee and tea stains from cups and mugs naturally.

To remove stains from tea cups and coffee mugs, all you need is some soda crystals – also known as washing soda.

Simply add one teaspoon of soda crystals, and then fill the cup or mug with boiled water straight from the kettle. Stir to dissolve the soda crystals, and leave the solution to soak in the cup for at least half an hour. After half an hour, pour out the solution, and wash the cup in your sink, using a scourer or scrubbing brush to remove any residue.

For particularly stubborn stains, try soaking your cups overnight. Then scrub and wash them as before to shift these stains.

It’s such a simple and non-toxic way to remove stains, that I don’t recommend any other method. Nothing else I’ve found is as effective as soda crystals. Next time I’m cleaning my cups, I’ll be sure to post some before and after photos to this post. Right now my cups are sparkly clean so I have no good photos to share.

What Are Soda Crystals Exactly?

If you are wondering what soda crystals then, soda crystals are a simple one ingredient product – sodium carbonate. In plain English, this is a salt that contains no other additives.

Historically, soda crystals were extracted from areas where trees that had grown in sodium-rich soils had burned down. However, due to the versatility of soda crystals – they’re used in the soap, textile, and glass industries – soda crystals have long since been made commercially. Here sodium chloride (saltwater) reacts with limestone to form soda crystals.

Wondering where to buy soda crystals? You can buy soda crystals in hardware shops, in the cleaning aisle of the supermarket, or online very cheaply*.

If you don’t want to buy a bag of soda crystals just to clean your tea cups, then worry not. Soda crystals have heaps of uses around the home. From naturally unblocking drains to cleaning your washing machine and more. In fact, here are 15 uses for soda crystals. I am never without a bag!

I’m a huge fan of natural cleaning methods like this simple method of cleaning tea cups. I hope that by demonstrating just how effective natural products can be at cleaning, then you might be convinced to give products such as soda crystals and bicarbonate of soda a go at cleaning the rest of your home. If you’re inspired, do check out my complete guide to natural cleaning products.

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