Asked on Oct 22, 2016

Cleaning stained china tea cups

by Eboozer

I have a set of china that belonged to my grandmother back in the '40's. Most of the pieces are still beautiful except one cup that bears cracks inside with perhaps coffee stains that have seeped into the cracks. Does anyone know how to get coffee stains out of mugs?

  80 answers
  • Clare Roe Clare Roe on Oct 23, 2016
    Put a little bleach in the bottom and top up with water and leave to stand for 30mins
  • Judy Riley Judy Riley on Oct 23, 2016
    you could try a couple of denture tablets in hot water. if that doesn't work try bleach
  • Deb Johnson Deb Johnson on Oct 23, 2016
    I always use bleach to clean tea and coffee stains from my cups
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Oct 23, 2016
    For a non-toxic solution make a paste of baking soda and water. Leave on for a while ,rub with a cloth and wash.
  • Wendy Taylor Wendy Taylor on Oct 23, 2016
    I also use a baking soda and water paste. Works on my coffee mugs!
  • Mary Mary on Oct 23, 2016
    You could also try ceramic oven top cleaner or perhaps a baking soda scrub. Make sure to wash by hand and absolutely do not put in the microwave.
  • Cab12962163 Cab12962163 on Oct 23, 2016
    I would try the magic eraser. It's worked wonders in removing coffee stains out of my other cups,
  • Margaret Loiterton Margaret Loiterton on Oct 23, 2016
    denture cleaning tablets work fine just follow instructions on the pack!
  • Barbara Craig-Wenstrom Barbara Craig-Wenstrom on Oct 23, 2016
    Baking soda and boiling water will remove stains. but since the glaze is damaged it will quickly stain again.
  • Pamela Frost Pamela Frost on Oct 23, 2016
    a few drops of chlorine bleach in a sink of water and let it soak. Wash thoroughly after. Afraid to put bleach on eating surfaces. Don't be, all municipal water is chlorinated. As a side note though anytime the glazing is cracked cups and plates should not be used for eating or drinking.
  • Ell Ell on Oct 23, 2016
    I make a paste with water and Tang ( Dried orange drink) and let it sit in the bottom of any stained tea cups. Works every time.
  • Moni Batthish Moni Batthish on Oct 23, 2016
    Few drops of bleach for a few minutes then wipe it with paper towel so it doesnt come on the gold trip
  • Michele Michele on Oct 23, 2016
    I've read that Barkeeper's Friend takes care of scratches. I'm curious, too, as my Franciscan ware is getting quite scratched.
  • Sandra feuz Sandra feuz on Oct 23, 2016
    White vinegar, pour in let set overnight, rinse, dry
  • Patricia Millman Patricia Millman on Oct 23, 2016
    after you clean it seal it with a food safe nontoxic clear sealer. It might be available from a ceramic shop.
  • Barbara Barbara on Oct 23, 2016
    Buy hydrogen peroxide from a beauty supply house and soak the cups in that until the. Stain is removed then bake in a 200 degree oven. The heat will pull all the stain out from beneath the glazer which has failed.
  • Zeudi Zeudi on Oct 23, 2016
    Ammonia and hot water over nite
  • Deanna Nassar Deanna Nassar on Oct 23, 2016
    I've always cleaned badly stained cups with a little bleach and hot water; let it soak a few minutes and rinse well. I copied these comments from a cite on line about sealing china. If you use CA glue(Krazy Glue is one type), make sure to select a "penetrating" low-viscosity variety that will seep nicely into your crack, rather than the "gap-filling" high-viscosity variety. For example, if using Loctite, get Loctite 420. posted by Behemoth at 6:51 PM on June 13, 2013 [1 favorite] Cracked china cups used to be repaired by boiling them in milk. Googling that idea brings instructions to put the cup into a large vessel, carefully, then slowly pour milk over the top of the cup until it's submerged. Heat the milk slowly to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for about an hour. Let cool completely before you remove the cup. I don't know if this will work or not, but I know my grandmother fixed more than one piece of cracked china by boiling it in milk.
  • Velvet Velvet on Oct 23, 2016
    Try liquid dishwasher detergent. Squirt some in, add water and let sit overnight. This works well on my coffee cups. It also will renew stainless (great for the mugs and tea balls )and take stains out of some clothes (grass stains on baseball pants).
  • Theresia Sinnett Shearer Theresia Sinnett Shearer on Oct 23, 2016
    Oxyclean. We drink a lot of iced tea so I use it on to whiten my kitchen sink.
  • Judith Watson Judith Watson on Oct 23, 2016
    I agree with two methods. Try the Hydrgen Peroxide first. Pour it full strength into each cup and let sit overnight. Then use a toothbrush to clean more. Also, bleach or the cleanser with bleach and a tooth brush after letting them sit overnight with the product on the stained areas.
  • Karen Reilly Karen Reilly on Oct 23, 2016
    Are you going to use them for drinking? I use baking soda/water/Castile soap to clean old cups. Be sure to test old dishes for lead too. If you are not using them for using leave them be.
  • Ann Puthoff Ann Puthoff on Oct 23, 2016
    You'll need the 40% Hydrogen Peroxide that you can only buy at a beauty shop supply store. You want the clear not the cream. One brand is Salon Care 40 volume clear developer. You may be able to get a smaller amount from a hair dresser friend.
  • Nancy Gramm Nancy Gramm on Oct 23, 2016
    Best china restorer I ever found is 8% Hydrogen peroxide bleach (hair bleaching strength). There's a technique where you can soak for several hours, then warm in oven. I've never tried that technique; instead I've simply covered the stain with the peroxide, placed in an enclosed container and let it soak for as long as needed. Sometimes it takes days, sometimes weeks but it gets both the stains and the crazing. Good luck, whatever procedure you try.
  • Myc11345679 Myc11345679 on Oct 23, 2016
    1/2 teaspoon bleach into cup. fill to brim with water. Let sit from 1 hour to overnight depending. No scrubbing necessary.
  • @llchicagolofts @llchicagolofts on Oct 23, 2016
    Denture cleaner also works. DC can also be used in toilet bowls to remove rings, keep the trap clean and toilet flowing smoothly.
  • Anna Anna on Oct 23, 2016
    Bleach them...I do all my china tea pots all the time. It won't hurt them.
  • Darlenestrenn Darlenestrenn on Oct 23, 2016
    boil milk in them
  • Connie Connie on Oct 23, 2016
    Do not use bleach as it can damage your pieces and do not put anything boiling in them. Use peroxide as suggested.
  • Connie Connie on Oct 23, 2016 Here is a good site. I used regular hydrogen peroxide on an old platter. I simply dipped cotton balls in peroxide then let them sit. I haven't tried th peroxide for hair but please read and be careful.
  • Vee Vee on Oct 23, 2016
    Try Barkeepers friend.
  • Spa11238834 Spa11238834 on Oct 23, 2016
    Baking soda & warn water...gently "scrub" with soft cloth.
  • Christine Audoire Christine Audoire on Oct 23, 2016
    Hi I would use Milton baby sterelising lotion
  • Mary Anne Mary Anne on Oct 23, 2016
    I found a very cracked and stained Wedgwood pitcher from about 1795 in a thrift store for about $2.00. What a find, but what a mess! I took it home and placed it in a bucket of water for about 3 days. I had to change the water about twice a day, because the stains were leaching out and the water would change to a nasty brown. In the process, I discovered that there were sweet little bouquets of flowers scattered over the exterior that couldn't be seen before, as the stains were so bad. Eventually, I mixed in oxygen bleach in the water and kept soaking it and replenishing the water for about another week. It worked! It isn't perfect, but it is SO much better than the pitcher I brought home. (And worth a lot more, too!) What usually happens in these old pieces is that the glaze - not the clay body - cracks and "crazes" over time, allowing staining liquids like tea or coffee, or even milk!, to penetrate to the body of the piece. What you have to do is clean it by the same method it was stained with in the first place, using CLEANSING liquids to penetrate to the stain. If you have even MORE patience than I did, you can use cotton balls saturated with lemon juice to do the same thing. If you are going to use the piece for food service, lemon juice is a good option. However you clean it, be sure to "rinse" (soak) your piece in clear fresh water 2- 3 times to leach out any residue of whatever cleaner you used to get rid of the stain. By the way, during this process, I discovered that occasionally leaving the pitcher out to dry completely over night, gave me a good indication of how well this cleaning method worked, as the clay body had a chance to dry out and reveal the progress of your efforts.. Good luck!
  • Robin Robin on Oct 23, 2016
    A lot of this old pottery has some really bad stuff in it. I would just use that one for decor and not for tea or coffee.
  • Donna Ferguson Long Donna Ferguson Long on Oct 23, 2016
    I had good luck with soaking in water and 1 tsp. chlorine bleach.
  • B. Enne B. Enne on Oct 23, 2016
    Although I never tried it, a friend swore by leaving milk in it overnight, for scratches.
  • LibraryKAT LibraryKAT on Oct 23, 2016
    Try wetting the dish and then sprinkling salt on the stained portion. Let it set for several minutes and then scrub off gently. It should lift most of the stain. It certainly worked on my old cups. It only takes a few minutes and all the 'stuff' is already at home, it's worth trying!
  • Carolyn W Carolyn W on Oct 23, 2016
    Try a paste of baking soda and water. Rub in with your finger.
  • Earlene Earlene on Oct 23, 2016
    I use a bleach solution....mild and only in the stained area After it is clean, I would not use it for food again. Some old china, etc. is no longer food safe after the glazing has cracked. So clean so it is pretty again and display....careful not to damage the gold though.
  • Norma Norma on Oct 23, 2016
    I have heard that a denture cleaning tablet works very good and is not harsh on the china.
  • Mary D Mary D on Oct 23, 2016
    Soak it with Oxi Clean powder overnight and stain will be gone.
  • Mary Mary on Oct 23, 2016
    Try a wet cloth rubbed over a bar of ivory soap.
  • Roseann8628 Roseann8628 on Oct 23, 2016
    When my coffee cups become stained I make a paste of white vinegar and baking soda. Coat inside of cup, allow to soak a few minutes and then rub gently. Hope that's helpful.. :)
  • Carlene Babcock Hanson Carlene Babcock Hanson on Oct 23, 2016
    When it's cracked, I would re-purpose the cup for decorative purposes.
  • Joan Joan on Oct 23, 2016
    Looks like its just the glaze has small cracks that have absorbed and stained a bit... "BarKeepers Friend" will work on that. Its sort of like an Ajax powder, you can get it on Amazon for around $6. I have my Grandmothers old Soup Tureen that appeared cracked all over and I used this miracle find and it looks brand new now.
  • Cwh6899259 Cwh6899259 on Oct 23, 2016
    Fill with water to cover stain area and add some dishwasher detergent - let soak. If they were newer cups I would tell you to put them through the dishwasher, but as they are older and have the gold trim, I would not advise this.
  • Jody Jody on Oct 23, 2016
    Chlorine bleach and water mix 50/50. Pour or spray into tea-stained vessel, use an old toothbrush or a soft dish brush. Stains easily lift off ... severe staining that are raised and can be felt with your fingertips may require more than one go at it.
  • Mary Ann Clayton Mary Ann Clayton on Oct 23, 2016
    Try denture cleaning tabs, in hot water. Let it soak, repeat if needed. I use this to clean coffee and tea from my coffee mugs, stainless steel thermos and tervis tumblers.
  • Janice Furtado Janice Furtado on Oct 23, 2016
    When the glaze is cracked like that, it is no longer "food safe". Any & all bacteria seeps into & under the glaze and can cause serious food-borne illness! Use it as a small planter for succulents.
  • Elaine Elaine on Oct 23, 2016
    I recall reading that those marks, known as "crazing", are from food and/or liquids seeping through hairlines cracks in the finish of the plate/cup/etc. I WAS going to suggest bleaching with a 50/50 mix of bleach and water then adding hot milk to "fill" in the crazing marks but I'd suggest you first go on Google and pull up sites, such as and type in the word "Crazing". I'd hate to read that you've destroyed your cup trying some idea that you may regret!
  • Bernadette Staal Bernadette Staal on Oct 23, 2016
    I really don't know what is the right or wrong answer but I would try soaking some lemons in boiling water, then let the water cool and fill the cup past the cracked position and lit it sit for a couple of days. Alternatively I would try tooth paste but I think you will find the staining may be at a level where the paste can not reach. You do not want to damage the cups / tea set. Maybe just leave them as they are as that shows the authenticity of the age of the set and in the antique would authenticity is every thing.
  • Mon13124328 Mon13124328 on Oct 23, 2016
    Scrub with a paste made from baking soda and water.
  • Cathy Norris Bilich Cathy Norris Bilich on Oct 23, 2016
    The denture tabs are the best bet. I too use them to clean the insides of cups with stubborn stains. Works like a charm.
  • Darlene Darlene on Oct 23, 2016
    Mr. clean magic erasers work really well.
  • Susan Susan on Oct 23, 2016
    My Mother always took bleach and water (equal parts) and let it set in the cups for a day. Then washed as usual. Worked for her!
  • Pas13195345 Pas13195345 on Oct 23, 2016
    I learned the bleach thing from one of my aunts. No equal parts, either. Fill the sink with warm soapy water and put one cup of bleach in there. Set your dishes in the sink and leave for a while. How long you ask? Go back periodically and check. If the stains are gone, then you have left them there long enough. If not, leave them a while longer.
    • Lilly Clifton Lilly Clifton on Oct 23, 2016
      When I was cleaning with bleach I threw the rag in my stainless steel sink and low and behold it left a stain that would not come out. Looked as though it had eaten thru the steel. So please be very careful. Hope this might help someone else.
  • Joy12852789 Joy12852789 on Oct 23, 2016
    Put a teaspoon of dishwasher powder, like Cascade, a stained cup. Pour very hot water into cup and let sit a while. It will whiten the cup beautifully.
  • Gina Valdez Gina Valdez on Oct 23, 2016
    Back in the day, milk was used in stained tea cups. Leave overnight.
  • Roc6250382 Roc6250382 on Oct 24, 2016
    Pon un poco de agua a calentar y agrega 2 cucharas de cloro. Cuando este ya muy caliente, que no hierva sumerges la taza varias veces hasta que veas que se quita la mancha. Le puedes ayudar con una fibra para trastes.
  • Barbara Wesolowski Barbara Wesolowski on Oct 24, 2016
    Try this no harsh bleach. Equal parts of baking Soda and peroxide with dab of dish liquid soap. Mix and let it work for a while in our cup. No scrubbing, just rinse and dry. I clean all my porcelain dishes and the kitchen sink too. 😊👍 it works. And you do not have the smell of bleach.
  • Ranger Ranger on Oct 24, 2016
    I use salt to clean tea stained cups. In your case, perhaps a thick paste of a little water with salt and brush it gentle into the cracks, leave overnight and rinse. Let us know how you go.
  • Crystal Crystal on Oct 24, 2016
    Mr clean MAGIC ERASER
  • Jag8528824 Jag8528824 on Oct 24, 2016
    Soak them in a little bleach with water. Should clean up immediately.
  • Vicki Vicki on Oct 24, 2016
    Peroxide soak will work wonders. Buy it sat a beauty supply store for the best price.
  • Susan Riley Susan Riley on Oct 24, 2016
    May not work, but fill the cup with water and drop in one or two denture tabs..
  • Jas12135139 Jas12135139 on Oct 24, 2016
    Try a little Clorox clean up in the bottoms and let it set... I too have had this same problem... if it doesn't remove completely... then try a little Bon-Ami or Barkeepers Friend powdered cleaner... they do not scratch surfaces.... use a light scrubbing pad with it... I've used it on fine china too... won't hurt it.
  • Con8790511 Con8790511 on Oct 24, 2016
    Denture cleaner tablets may work.
  • Carolyn Davis Sipes Carolyn Davis Sipes on Oct 24, 2016
    Try hot water w/some cream of tartar. A neighbor who dealt in antiques told me this several years ago.
  • Teresa B Teresa B on Oct 24, 2016
    Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. Use with the Barkeeper's Friend.
  • Cherylbeatrice Cherylbeatrice on Oct 25, 2016
    Lemon juice and baking soda let it set with plastic wrap sealing in the vapors for 20 minute then lightly scrub or even try toothpaste.
  • Gina Valdez Gina Valdez on Oct 25, 2016
    I put milk in them and let it sit overnight. Next day, rinse out the milk and the stains are "covered" or gone.
  • María Elena matus María Elena matus on Oct 26, 2016
    Bakingsoda and vinegar, or try greased lightning With amonia, buying in home depot, lowes, family dollar, H.E.B. and ohter clue the greased ligthning usted in all your diferents colors laundry, and your se counter tops, cabinets, Stove, carpeta, sofas, beds, where you want to clean, and clean, marker, blood, Coffee, pen, chocolate, grease, Black moho, wherever you want think, you perefectorio clean.
  • Sheree Sheree on Oct 27, 2016
    Try cheap denture cleaner tablets from the dollar store. Fill the cup with boiling water and add a tablet. Allow to soak. It might work or even lighten the stain.
  • Geri Geri on Nov 01, 2016
    let liquid dishwasher soap sit in them for an hour
  • Dvcssr Dvcssr on Nov 07, 2016
    Bar Keeper cleaner will do the trick
  • Chas' Crazy Creations Chas' Crazy Creations on Aug 01, 2022

    I have several cleaning tutorials that might help you

  • Annie Annie on May 31, 2024