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If you’ve recently bought a set of cute mugs, the last thing you want is for them to become blemished with dark brown stains.
Here’s how to keep your mugs and dishware in tip top condition and stain free. You don’t need to shell out for any expensive, branded household cleaning products – there are a couple of standard pantry items that do just as good a job.
Tannins are responsible for the brown stains left in your mugs.
Tannins are plant compounds found in tea and coffee (and some other food and drink) and are what give these hot drinks their distinctive, slightly bitter flavour.
Mostly, tannin stains are not an issue, they’re just unsightly. However, depending on your dishware and the length of time the stain has been there, they can be tricky to remove.
Tannin stains show up and remain longer on white or light-coloured ceramic mugs. If you’re an avid guzzler of hot drinks, this might leave you tearing your hair out wondering just how to remove tea and coffee stains from mugs?
Before we look at methods, let’s talk about stain prevention.
To keep your mugs looking cute, always aim to rinse them with water immediately after finishing your drink. Then give them a quick once over with a cloth and detergent if you notice any stains.
Do this before putting them in the dishwasher as that can further bake on tea and coffee marks, giving you more work at the other end.
As more and more stains accumulate on a mug over time, they become harder to remove. If you get into the practice of washing away brown marks as soon as you notice them, you’ll save yourself some scrubbing hassle in the long run.
There’s no need to go out and find expensive cleaning products that promise the earth. These two tried-and-tested kitchen cupboard staples are just as effective as removing stains. And they’ll likely already be hanging out at the back of your cupboard.
Commonly known as the chemical leavener that helps cakes rise, baking soda is also a champion household cleaning product.
The compound has long been hailed as an excellent stain remover. It’s abrasive, but only mildly so, so it works away stains without damaging your cute mug.
Wet the inside of your mug and sprinkle a layer of baking soda so that it completely covers all the stains. Leave it to fizz and then let it settle for five minutes. With a damp cloth or sponge wipe it away and give the stain a scrub. It should come away fairly easily. Then wash your mug with washing detergent or put it in the dishwasher, as usual.
Vinegar is another pantry item that’ll bring your mugs back to life. It’s made up of acetic acid which helps dissolve grime and lift stains. In fact, vinegar is a main ingredient in many commercial cleaning solutions.
Put vinegar to work on your coffee and tea-stained mugs by filling them with equal parts vinegar and hot water.
Diluting vinegar with water before cleaning avoids the strong smell it can sometimes leave and weakens the acidity preventing damage to your mug.
Let the mixture soak in the mug for around 10 minutes or until the water’s cooled. Then using a cloth and detergent scrub the stains, which should come away more easily than before. Rinse and wash again if you’re worried about a lingering vinegar scent.
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