I Tried This British Coffee Stain Remover — And I Was Honestly Shocked by the Results

published Sep 21, 2022
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It seems like British brands really know how to get stuff clean. A few months ago, I tested Dri-Pak Soda Crystals on my well-worn coffee mugs and watched old stains in hard-to-reach cracks and crevices melt away. So when I learned about Premium Edition Cup Clean Stain Remover from the popular U.K.-based brand Astonish, I was ready to jump in and try it out. 

Astonish, which touts itself as home of the “Great British Sparkle,” designs products that clean just about everything. The brand has been around for over 40 years and makes such products as disinfectant, fabric stain remover, and surface cleaners.

Based in West Yorkshire, the company started as a door-to-door business, selling Original Oven & Cookware Cleaner. It now sells more than 60 different cleaning products, including Cup Clean, their coffee stain remover.

Credit: Ashley Rodriguez

Astonish’s stain remover claims to clean mugs without scrubbing: All you have to do is put in a teaspoon of cleaner, let it soak in hot water for one to two hours, and rinse thoroughly. I have to admit, I don’t have a ton of very dirty mugs (I keep on top of my cleaning schedules!). But I found three different cups worthy of the test: an older mug with deep-set stains from years of use, the mug I drank coffee in that morning (I let a little coffee dry in the mug to leave a ring), and a travel mug that was looking a little dingy.

The package indicates that it can clean anything that picks up stains from coffee, tea, or wine. It can also clean wine decanters, coffee pots, and flasks.

I wondered for a moment why Britain would have so many different cleaners for their mugs. It occurred to me that tea (like wine) has a lot of tannins, which is basically a molecule that attracts proteins, leaving unsightly rings around your mugs (coffee also has tannins, but much fewer than tea).

Considering that tea is pretty popular in the U.K., it makes sense that British folks might need more tools to keep their mugs looking clean.

Credit: Ashley Rodriguez
Here's my trio of mugs, ready to be cleaned.

Back to the testing, I set up all three mugs on a rack inside a sheet tray because the instructions warned that the cleaner might fizz. I added a half teaspoon of the cleaner to each mug, then poured in boiling water. I was sort of waiting for each mug to fizz over (like a volcano at a school science fair), but that never happened.

Credit: Ashley Rodriguez
In goes the cleaner.

While I let the solution sit, a cloudy film began to form at the top, indicating that … yes, something was happening!

After about an hour-and-a-half of waiting, I emptied each mug out, rinsed with water, and checked out the three mugs. I was honestly shocked by the results, which you can see for yourself.

Credit: Ashley Rodriguez
My old mug looks like new!

The first mug — the older mug with set-in stains — looked brand new. I hadn’t even really considered this mug dirty, but rather well-worn, and I noticed that the solution lifted all the tiny little stains in the crevices at the bottom of the mug. 

Credit: Ashley Rodriguez
Nice and clean!

The second mug — my morning coffee mug — came out perfectly clean, but I expected that. I knew the stains in this mug were pretty new and superficial, so I treated this one more as a control than anything. 

Credit: Ashley Rodriguez
Wow, look at my travel mug.

The third mug — my travel mug — probably surprised me the most. Like the first mug, I didn’t really think it was that dirty. And when I took the before photo, I was unsure anything would even happen. But the insulated interior gleamed like I’d never seen before, and it looked just like it once did right out of the box. 

I was thoroughly impressed by how well the Astonish cleaner worked, especially because it required zero scrubbing. I wouldn’t use this as my everyday cleaner (it’s a little annoying to have to wait one to two hours before you can do anything), but I think this is an amazing choice if you want to deep-clean your coffee gear and make everything look shiny and brand new. 

How do you remove coffee stains from your cups? Tell us your tips and product suggestions in the comments below.