How to Clean Tea Stains from Stainless Steel Travel Mug

Tea is a wonderful drink that refreshes our minds and warms our hearts.

Many of us love to carry tea during travel. It increases the joy of travel.

And what can be better than a stainless steel travel mug to drink tea?

But tea is responsible for leaving stains in the steel mug. It looks unhygienic and feels disgusting to drink in it. You can get rid of the problem if you know how to clean tea stains from stainless steel travel mugs.

Tons of options can be applied to clean tea stains. You can use cleaning tablets, baking soda, vinegar, dishwasher detergent, cornstarch, soap, lemon, and even salt to clean stains. Read the guide to know every method with step-by-step processes, and finally follow the one you find most useful to clean it effectively.

What Causes Stains in a Stainless Steel Travel Mug?

Tannin or tannic acid gives the color of the tea. It is also the main reason why tea is being used in tanning leather, dyeing cotton, and making ink. This acid starts growing at the bottom of the mug when leaving tea for a long time. It builds the stain slowly and finally makes it hard to remove.

How to Clean Tea Stains from a Stainless Steel Travel Mug

A man drinking tea from stainless steel travel mug

You can try different options to clean stains. Here are the main ways to remove stains from a stainless steel travel mug.

Primary Preparation

Before starting the cleaning, prepare yourself with some essential elements that are going to be useful. You may need,

  • Sponge or scrubbing brush
  • Right cleaning ingredients at your convenience
  • Hot water
  • Tablespoon
  • Cup
  • Bowl

Use Bottle Cleaning Tablets

The easiest way to remove tea stains from stainless steel travel mugs is using the bottle cleaning tablet. But try to use non-toxic and environment-friendly tablets to protect your drink and mug. You can take water bottle cleaning tablets from here.

The tablet releases a gentle oxygen fizz when it comes in contact with water. It removes any stains, grease, and odor from the steel. Follow the process to clean the stains.

  • Fill up a ¼ part of your mug with clean hot water.
  • Drop one tablet into the water.
  • Leave it for a night to resolve properly.
  • Shake your mug vigorously in the morning.
  • Rinse it properly with clean water to remove any residues.
  • Dry it in natural air and light.

Use Baking Soda as A Cleaning Agent

Baking soda has a pH level of 9 that shows how acidic it is. It is available in your kitchen and does not cost much. Simply follow the steps below to use baking soda.

  • Pour clean water into your mug and swish it to wet the entire mug.
  • Sprinkle baking soda throughout the mug to let it stick to the water.
  • Wait for a few minutes to create a paste.
  • Take a sponge or scrubbing brush and wipe out stains.
  • Use clean water to remove any residues.
  • Wait for it to dry naturally.

Try Vinegar

Vinegar is also available in your kitchen or nearby shop. You can try it to clean stains from a steel travel mug. Follow the steps below.

  • Wash the mug with clean hot water and mild detergent.
  • Pour hot water until it is half full.
  • Add distilled white vinegar to the water.
  • Wait for 30 minutes to mix and soak.
  • Use a brush to scrub the mug and remove stains.
  • Clean the residue with fresh cool water and wait for drying.

Create A Vinegar and Baking Soda Mixture

Baking soda and vinegar mixture is an excellent solution to clean stains. The combination works like magic to clean stains from travel mugs. Follow the process below.

  • Clean the mug with water and detergent first.
  • Pour 1/4 cup of baking soda into the mug.
  • Add white distilled vinegar until it is half-full.
  • Fill the rest with hot water.
  • Wait for 30 minutes to see bubbles over.
  • Remove the mixture and scrub with clothes or brush.
  • Rinse and clean the residues with clean water.
  • Dry the mug in natural air.

Lemon Can Be A Good Solution

Lemon can be a good solution for small-level tea stains in the mug. It has citric acid and essential oils that can work effectively. Here are the steps.

  • Cut a few lemons in half with a sharp knife.
  • Take a piece and rub the mug with the open side.
  • Sprinkle salt before rubbing to get a better result.

Baking Soda and Lemon Method

You can also create a mixture with lemon and baking soda to get rid of tough tea stains. Lemon has a naturally pleasant smell that will make your tea smell even better. Here is the process.

  • Cut a lemon into four pieces.
  • Squeeze all the pieces to create coating inside the mug.
  • Make sure the entire mug wall and bottom are coated.
  • Sprinkle baking soda throughout the mug to create the paste.
  • Wait to see bubbles and hear fizzing.
  • Wait for a couple of minutes.
  • Use a clean cloth or sponge to wipe out the paste.
  • Remove the residue with clean water.
  • Wait and let the mug dry before use.

Vinegar with Cornstarch

You can even use cornstarch to mix with vinegar and remove stains from the mug. Follow the steps below.

  • Make a paste of cornstarch and vinegar.
  • Apply the paste throughout the mug.
  • Wait for 30 minutes to let the mixture work.
  • Take a non-scratch pad or cloth to wipe out the mixture.
  • Use clean water to remove existing residues.
  • Let the mug dry in natural light and air.

Dishwasher Detergent or Soap

Dishwasher detergent or soap is the primary defense against the tea stain in a steel travel mug. It is simple and works smoothly. Here are the steps for you.

  • Squirt a little soap or dishwasher detergent into the mug.
  • Pour hot water until it covers the stains fully.
  • Mix them with a spoon.
  • Wait and let the mixture penetrate the stains.
  • Take a brush or sponge the scrub and remove stains.
  • Use clean water to remove residues.
  • Let the mug for further use.

Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide

Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide is the ultimate method you should try to remove tea stains. You need to simply follow these two steps below.

Step 1: Loose the Stains

  • Add 1 cup of baking soda to the mug.
  • Fill the mug with hot water.
  • Wait to let baking soda work.
  • Take a brush and scrub inside.
  • Empty the mug and clean it with fresh water.

Step 2: Remove the Stains

  • Add 2 tablespoons of baking soda and ½ cup peroxide.
  • Swish the mixture to coat the mug wall and bottom.
  • Wait for at least 30 minutes.
  • Take a brush and scrub the wall and bottom thoroughly until the stains are gone.
  • Repeat the process if any stains are left.
  • Rinse with fresh water to clean the mug.
  • Let the mug dry for future use.

How to Remove Coffee Stains from Stainless Steel Travel Mug?

Coffee can also leave stains just like tea. You need to remove coffee stains from stainless steel travel mugs for a hygienic experience. The process is all the same as removing tea stains from a stainless steel mug. You can use any methods you want from above to remove coffee stains.

How to Prevent Tea or Coffee Stains in The Mug?

Prevention is better than cure. It is always better to prevent tea or coffee stains instead of cleaning them. Here are the things you can do to prevent it from happening.

  • Drink the entire cup of coffee or tea and do not leave some at the bottom.
  • Rinse and clean the cup with fresh water right after you drink tea.
  • Do not over steep your tea for a long time.
  • Try to make your mug dry before pouring tea again.
  • Clean your mug regularly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have any questions related to the topic? You may then find the below section helpful.

Does vinegar damage the stainless steel mug?

Long-term exposure to vinegar can damage the stainless steel mug. Make sure you clean the mug properly with fresh water after using vinegar.

What should you not use on stainless steel mugs?

You should not use any harsh abrasives, steel wool, scouring powders, bleach, and other chlorine products to clean stainless steel travel mugs. Glass cleaners containing ammonia like Windex, tap water, and oven cleaner are also not recommended.

Does baking soda damage the stainless steel mug?

Baking soda is acidic but does not damage the steel travel mug when cleaning. But you should clean the soda properly after use since long-term exposure may damage the steel wall and bottom.

Wrap Up

Tea stain in stainless steel travel mugs is common. You can hardly avoid it.

But if you know how to clean tea stains from a stainless steel travel mug, it will not be a big deal.

Make sure you follow the right procedures and right ingredients to clean the mug. You may damage the steel otherwise. Try to prevent tea or coffee stains from building up as much as possible to avoid any hassle.

A clean and stain-free travel mug gives you a hygienic tea experience. It also delivers a refreshing travel experience. Keep your travel mug clean and enjoy the trip better than any time.

You May Also Like:

Can You Put Travel Mugs in the Dishwasher?

How to Use Portable Travel Cooker During Traveling.

How to Choose A Small Portable Food Scale for Travelers.

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1 thought on “How to Clean Tea Stains from Stainless Steel Travel Mug”

  1. Wonderful collection of tools to clean stainless steel mugs! Thank you.
    One correction is to change your statement about baking soda being acidic. At pH 9, it is alkaline. pH 7 is neutral.


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