Tea, one of the world’s oldest drinks, and still one of the most satisfying ones, is more enjoyable in a proper mug that retains the temperature of the liquid and makes it fun to pour and sip.
Sadly, a lot of us enjoy our liquids darker and more flavorful, which means that we need to pay closer attention to how exposure to caffeine affects the actual teacup. It is no different than checking other drinks, such as soda and coffee, darken our tooth enamel. When it comes to bone china, porcelain, and other delicate pieces, dark liquids can wreak havoc on any delicate material. What is one to do?
Here are some ideas on how to prevent staining, how to fix it, and what options are available for us to enjoy our favorite drink
The first step to clean your mugs or teacups is to rinse the mug or cup as soon as you are finished. Remember that water molecules will interact with the oxygen polymers as a powerful reactor that washes away everything.
You do not need to scour and scrub the cups; you do not want to treat bone china abrasively. Just a very good rinse is a great first step.
As far as actual detergent solutions, you can blend baking soda, water, and a clean (new) toothbrush. Think how you use these type of brushes for polishing silver. It is the same process.
Make the paste with a tablespoon of baking soda and a couple of drops of water. Then, gently brush the toothbrush in circular motion to ensure that the stain is removed. Do it gently, as you do not want to scratch off the surface of your fancy china. Let the mixture rest for a few minutes, and then rinse it off.
This famous mix is also used to clean other delicate surfaces. The important thing is to make a paste with the ¼ cup of white vinegar and a tablespoon of sugar or salt. Again, using a brush, or even a washcloth, scrub the surface gently until the spot is gone.
A baking soda-based whitening toothpaste is also a solution for whitening a delicate surface. If it works on tooth enamel, it can also work with porcelain. Once again, use a toothbrush or a washcloth with a gentle texture to gently brush away the stain.
It is important that you let the cleansing mixture to rest and go to work on the surface prior to scrubbing and rinsing.
It is also important to take into consideration what your pieces are made from. If it is porcelain, bone china, or something even more delicate, do not attempt to wash those delicate materials with harsh detergents or dish soap.
Most importantly, do not wash these pieces in your dish washing machine, as the powerful water cycle, and the temperature of the washing cycle, may shatter the cup altogether.
However, stoneware, Polish pottery (except the Unikat models), and other dishwashing safe mugs are strong enough to withstand a washing cycle.
Coffee, sodas, broths, and anything else that is a dark liquid have the capability of leaving stains on any type of porous material. This is true for other things such as teeth, tabletops, and other, more porous surfaces like Formica.
The reason why dark spots come up in our cups is because the molecules in all dark drinks, when mixed with oxygen, bind together. The molecular mass within this combination, once it hits a surface, will adhere to it. This is a microscopic process called polymerization, or molecules coming together. However, even the tiniest things can grow over time if they are not taken care of.
Dark spots in porcelain are no different than darkened teeth. The more exposure to the darkening element, the more the effect on the surface.
Fortunately, just like when you are told to brush and rinse your teeth after drinking dark liquids, you can also prevent the cup staining process from continuing to build up by quickly rinsing and washing away your cups.
However, as it happens with those annoying rings left by sweating beverages on tables in the absence of a coaster, the longer the drink sits out, the worse the staining it will get.