How To Clean Your Stainless Mugs With A Few Ingredients From Your Pantry

When you continuously use stainless steel mugs for your coffee or tea, over time, they start to stain if they're not rinsed or washed right away. Coffee has a deep rich color that can be difficult to remove from most things. In addition, coffee has tannins and oils that easily stain anything it falls on, like clothing, carpets, car interiors, mugs, etc. Removing the oils with detergent or dish soap can only help the surface level, but the stain will still be left behind. However, to deep clean your stainless steel mugs and get them back to perfection, TikTok user @lifewithsydneyx claims all you need is a bit of citric acid, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda. All three are ingredients you can probably find in your pantry or laundry room.

Any type of mug can get stained, like porcelain, stainless, and handmade ones. Before pouring each ingredient into your stainless steel mug, thoroughly wash it to prep the inside. Follow the mug's care instructions, especially if you're working with porcelain or handmade mugs. You don't want to damage the interior by scrubbing too hard and removing any paint. If you don't want to handwash them, throw them in the dishwasher if it's safe.

How to make your stainless steel mugs brand new

TikToker @lifewithsydneyx shows her process of cleaning her dad's stainless steel tumbler with coffee stains from top to bottom. She uses hot water, citric acid, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda. While she doesn't specify her measurements, a half tablespoon or one full tablespoon should suffice for removing the stains.

Once you have your mugs pre-washed, let them dry. Boil some water and fill your cup halfway with the water. Then, add your tablespoon of citric acid and hydrogen peroxide and stir them together. Next, add your baking soda slowly to your mixture. It's going to bubble up, so it's vital to add a teaspoon at a time until the fizz settles. You don't want it to overflow and create a mess on your counter. 

After adding the rest of your baking soda, fill the rest of the mug with more hot water and let it sit for 30 minutes. Finally, once the time is up, dump the water, lightly scrub the inside with your sponge and dish soap, and rinse. If all the stains don't lift, repeat the process a second time until you're satisfied and the stains are all gone.

Why this works

Using all three ingredients together will combat any coffee stain on your mugs. You could use them individually, but combining them creates a powerful solution. Citric acid has strong elements, including lemon, which helps to de-grease and remove stains. It seeps into the stain, breaking it down, and lifts it from the surface without damaging any other layers. Hydrogen peroxide helps break down the stain's color since it's a bleaching agent, making it easier to clean. Once the color separates into various smaller parts, it makes them easy to clean with water. Lastly, when combined with hydrogen peroxide, baking soda will bubble and fizz, enhancing the hydrogen peroxide's bleaching agents to lift every stain.

Taking care of your mugs will prevent them from staining quickly. When you drink coffee or highly pigmented teas, it's best to rinse out your cups after every use. Whether you thoroughly rinse or leave them soaking, both will help prevent stains. However, washing them with soap as soon as possible is best. If you use a lot of travel mugs to hold your coffee while you're on your way to work or the gym, always use a bottle brush that can reach the bottom and insides of the mug. This makes it easier to reach the bottom of the mug, so you can clean it thoroughly.