Remove Coffee & Tea Stains From Carafes, Pitchers, & Thermos Bottles

Removing coffee and tea stains out of your coffee pots, pitchers, cups, carafes, and even thermos bottles, can be a challenge.

I learned of an easy way to clean my pots, carafes, cups, pitchers, and thermos bottles years ago. Since I hand wash my coffee pot, ice tea pitcher, and thermos bottles, I still use this method today.

Fill the carafe, pot, pitcher, cup, or thermos, with hot water. Add 2 tablespoons of dry dishwasher detergent (not dish washing soap). Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. The coffee and/or tea stain will lift right off.

If you have a stubborn stain, repeat this process.

Rinse the carafe, pot, pitcher, cup or thermos thoroughly and it’s ready for use.

I haven’t tried this with liquid dishwasher detergent, however, it seems like it may work. Nor have I tried putting the carafe or pitcher in the dishwasher.

I make daily batches of tea in my Mr. Coffee Ice Tea Maker (see my product review). Just today I used this cleaning method to remove the tea stains from the ice tea pitcher and it worked like a dream.


UPDATE: Many thanks for comments from readers. It has been determined liquid dish washer detergent works just as well as the dry dish washer detergent to remove those stubborn stains from thermos bottles, carafes and cups.

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21 Responses to Remove Coffee & Tea Stains From Carafes, Pitchers, & Thermos Bottles

  1. Kirt says:

    This spell checked version looks better! :)

    This technique worked marvelously!!! I could see a few tea lines on my clear acrylic pitcher from where it had stood with tea in it for a couple days. I thought to myself there was no way it could be this easy because usually I have to scrub the heck out of it and when I’m drying the pitcher I’m still rubbing off remnants of tea. Figuring that this wasn’t going to work I started looking for vinegar and baking soda which was mentioned on a few other websites. I searched my pantry for less than a minute before finding the vinegar hidden way in the back. When I turned around and looked at the pitcher all the tea stains were gone that fast! Amazed I placed the white plastic top into the picture to see if the tea stains would lift from the ice blocking area that was heavily stained. I waited about one minute then removed it from the solution and all the stains were gone … even in between the narrow ice blocking slits. I rinsed and dried everything and it was like I had a brand new set up in less than 5 minutes max. Many thanks for the tip!

  2. Barbara says:


    Isn’t that amazing how well that works. I’m glad I made life a little easier for you. Enjoy your “new” tea pitcher.

    Barbara’s last blog post..Online Business Mentors

  3. Pingback: removing coffee stain

  4. Mary says:


    I had to write. I used your remedy this morning to clean an old crusty red wine vinegar from a glass carafe so stained that I thought I’d have to throw it out! Immediately, I could see the stains lifting off. I let it sit for a few minutes more and all that dried vinegar and crusted on the bottom was gone!! I was stunned. I’m thinking of what else I can clean using this method….lots of possibilities!!

    My thanks to you for posting this great home remedy!!

  5. Mia says:

    Hello Barbara,

    Thank you SO much for posting this! I had tried everything with my stainless coffee carafe (scrubbing with a bottle brush, soaking in vinegar, etc.) and there still remained lots of coffee stain that stubbornly refused to come off. This worked like MAGIC! It literally dissolved the coffee grunge off the inside off our carafe in less than half an hour (could have been less than that, but I didn’t check it for about 30 minutes).

    Many thanks!

  6. Janye says:

    Worked like a charm!! My travel mug (originally white inside) became as black as the exterior. I filled it with boiling water & added approx. 2-3 Tbsp liquid dish detergent, stirred it & let it sit for 15 min. The stains melted away. Repeat for stubborn ones. Thanks so much!

  7. Hi Janye,

    Thank you for sharing liquid dish detergent works too. I wondered if the liquid would work as well as the granular. It’s good to know it does.

  8. Kathie says:

    This works great! My ice tea pitchers are crystal clear without any scrubbing. Thanks

  9. Jacqui says:

    Wow, this is amazing. I literally could see the tea stains disappear. Thanks so much for sharing.

  10. Gail says:

    Thanks for the tip. My many-years-old ice tea pitcher looks like new. I had been shopping for a new one but couldn’t find the same quality. Now, you’ve save me money and it looks great.

  11. Susan Atkins says:

    Wow!! Thank you!!! I thought I would have to buy a new pitcher…I can’t believe your idea worked SO FAST!!! THANK YOU!!!

  12. I have used this method for years to clean out my Nalgene bottles. It works excellent!

  13. Mark says:

    Just chiming in to swear this really works. I have an iced tea jug with a white plastic top that I could never get completely clean no matter how hard I scrubbed or what cleanser I used, so it had years of accumulated dark tea stains. Instead of hot water I went for the overkill route, and used boiling water with a liquid dishwasher detergent, let it sit for 10 minutes, and…YEAH!! Stains completely gone, it looked brand new. Thanks for sharing this tip!

  14. Heather says:

    Ok…I read all the comments and said to myself “yeah, right!”. I just came back from the kitchen…I tried it and OMG!!! One of the first tips I’ve found that REALLY works!!!!! The basket that holds the tea in my Mr. Tea Maker was absolutely black with stains. I’ve tried all the fancy cleaners and scrubbing, vinegar, boiling water, yadda yadda yadda…and nothing ever worked. So I wait until it gets bad and then buy another one. Well, I don’t think I will be buying another one until this one just stops working. The basket, the lids and the pitcher are literally like new!!!! I have never seen anything like it. I only used hot tap water and waited 15 minutes (I timed it). I used my kitchen scrubber and just ran it over the inside of the basket and….gone. Really gone! I cannot thank you enough for this tip…and all of you who commented that prompted me to “prove you all wrong” !!!! LOL You have saved me a bunch of money…and for something I have in my cleaning supplies all the time. I am totally shocked and completely impressed. Thanks a million!!!!!!

  15. karen says:

    Unbelievable!! I read this today because I could not get my tea thermos clean. I mean it was once stainless but now it was brown with tea stains. I filled it with hot water and added about 1/2. Of an Electrosol. The water turned brown. After 15 minutes I poured it out and the inside was spotlesss and shiny stainless again. I am still in shock! Thank you!!!!

  16. Hi All,

    Thank you for your great comments. It pleases me to know what I share here on my blog is helping others.

    Have a marvelous day. :)

  17. Jim says:

    WOW! 3 minutes to clean a water bottle that was loaded with stains from iced tea. Can’t believe I was drinking out of this!

  18. Jean says:

    I am a believer! Thank you so much. I did not think it would work on my crusty bottle but it did.

  19. Tamra says:

    Was a skeptic like some of the rest….NO MORE! WOW! Really does work and fast! Thank you so much Barbara! You should have your own show for that one! Any other tips you put out there for us simple folk? LOL!!!

  20. Patricia Jongsma says:

    I had heard of the dishwasher detergent remedy and tried it on an iced tea maker that had not been used for quite a while and was badly stained. It worked well on the pitcher but, unfortunately, it did not work on the badly stained basket. I tried both dishwasher detergent and vinegar but the stains would not budge. It could be because the stains had set for so long. I guess part of the solution is to do it regularly.

  21. Lesa says:

    OMG ! That is Miracle stuff…. It didn’t take long and it worked like MAGIC and the tea stain was GONE before I knew it ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you for that helpful tip! Once again – YOU HAVE SAVED THE DAY !!!!

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