How to Remove Coffee Cup Rings

Few things are more annoying than spilling your coffee, only to discover an annoying cup ring has been left behind.

A saucer can prevent a cup ring and a coffee stain.
A coffee stain can be difficult to remove: It's acidic and often leaves a coffee-cup-shaped spot that doesn't respond to every cleaning chemical or technique. Here's how to remove coffee-cup rings and coffee stains from common surfaces like wood, countertops and clothing. .

Determine the nature of the surface the cup ring is imprinted on. Some non-porous surfaces, like a glazed-tile counter top or a glass-topped table, will be easy surfaces to clean, while others, like an unfinished wooden table, a stained or painted wood surface or an enameled surface, might be more difficult. Knowing the nature of your coffee stain is the first step in removing it.

Spray the cup ring with all-purpose cleaner if it's on a non-porous surface. In fact, you might even be able to simply use water, depending on whether or not there was a lot of cream or sugar in the coffee. If there is cream in the coffee, the fattiness of the cream can cause streaks on a glass table, and it will be necessary to use either very hot water and an absorbent cloth to cut through the greasiness or an all-purpose cleaner that can cut through the fat molecules, breaking them up and releasing their bond. Sugar and other sweeteners in the coffee can cause a sticky film to form at the cup ring, and need to be removed with either hot water or an all-purpose cleaner. Spray the table and allow the chemical to penetrate the coffee stain for a few minutes, then simply wipe it away.

Blot surfaces like fiberglass, acetate, rayon or triacetate with vinegar to remove the coffee stain. Change the blotting pad frequently and continue blotting until the stain disappears. Rinse the surface with clean, running water.

Soak other synthetic fabrics in a solution of 1 gallon warm water, 1/4 cup white vinegar and 2 tsp. dish detergent for 15 minutes and blot with rubbing alcohol to remove the coffee stain.

Blot excess coffee from porous natural surfaces, like alabaster or marble, and rinse well. Allow the surface to dry naturally. If a coffee ring remains, mix a solution of 1 cup hydrogen peroxide and 1 tsp. ammonia in a glass or plastic container. Press the solution into the stain and blot to remove. When you can no longer see the stain, you're finished.

Things You Will Need

  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Vinegar
  • Absorbent cloth
  • Dish detergent
  • Rubbing alcohol


  • Consider using a no-spill coffee cup if you're accident-prone.

About the Author

Lisa Russell has been a writer since 1998. She's been published in Rethinking Everything Magazine, Playdate, AERO and Home Educator's Family Times. She has a Bachelor of Science in business marketing management and a professional background in marketing, education, cosmetology and hospitality.