How to Remove a Tea Stain From a Cup

A cup of hot tea is relaxing way to start your day. Tea---particularly black tea---may leave a stain in the cup if you don't rinse it out right away. Porcelain, glass and plastic cups are all easily stained by tea. It leaves an unsightly brown residue in the cup or a ring around the inside that no amount of scrubbing or soaking removes, unless you use the proper cleaning solution. There is no need to purchase expensive chemicals to rid your cups of tea stains, as the necessary cleanser is likely already in your pantry.

Keep your cups free from stains.
  1. Mix baking soda with water to form a paste. Make the paste about as thick as liquid soap or slightly thicker.

  2. Smear the paste onto the tea stained area of the cup. Scrub lightly with a sponge until the tea stain is gone. If the stain is still apparent but visibly faded, rinse the cup and scrub a second time with the paste.

  3. Place one to two drops of liquid bleach onto the stain if the baking soda doesn't fully remove it. Rinse the bleach off as soon as the stain fades, especially if it is a plastic cup. Bleach can fade the cup and it may weaken plastic if it's left on too long.

  4. Wash the cup in warm, soapy water to remove all the bleach and baking soda residue, then rinse clean.


  • Baking soda is a mild abrasive, and may scratch the surface of some cups. If this is a concern, use only the bleach solution for stain removal.

About the Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.