Can denture tablets clean tannin-stained tea cups and spoons?

When I was a little kid, one of the things that used to make me laugh out loud for hours was watching my grandad take his dentures out.

These days, thanks to fluoridated water and good dental care for kids, fewer people end up needing dentures. But Polident, the denture cleaning tablets, are still a thing. Could there be a second use for the minty-fresh sterilising power of these little tabs?

The tablets are made from a concentrated detergent called sodium lauryl sulfoacetate that you do not want in your mouth or even on your hands for long. The tabs also oxygenate (or carbonate) the water that activates them... Which means they could be good for getting tannin stains off china and porcelain.

Let's see if that works.

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METHOD: I bought a packet of 36 original Polident tabs for about $9 from the supermarket.

Because cleaning cups and spoons is not its original purpose, there's no guide on how much you'd need to do, say, a set of six tea cups or even one cup, so I'm erring on the side of caution and using one tab per cup.

I have two bone china cups that have average to severe staining on them. For the light-use staining, I follow the directions on the pack and drop one tab in very warm water.

Can denture tablets clean tannin-stained tea cups and spoons?

It foams up very quickly and the room is filled with the minty fresh aroma of cleanliness. These smell really good, which explains why there are directives on the pack not to use it as mouth wash. That's exactly what it smells like though.

I fill the a basin to soak the underside of another cup, and drop a stained teaspoon in with it and set them aside.

The directions on the box say you can leave them for 3 minutes, or overnight, so I opt to do that.

Unable to stop myself checking after three minutes I take a sneak peek, in case they are melting my mum's fancy bone china, and discover the tannin stains all but gone from the teaspoon and definitely much lighter on the cups.

We'll see how things look in the morning.

RESULT:Holy shamole! This stuff is powerful!

The stains in the cup are completely gone - even at the very top, where the water in the cup didn't quite reach. They've even bleached out of the base of the cup, which was very, very stained.

The teaspoon, which I thought was stained permanently, looks like new.

It's so effective I'm a little bit freaked out to be honest. It's so caustic, I don't think I'd want to use this more than once a year, which means a pack of 36 tabs at $9 is super cost effective.

But I want to put a caveat on it: While it is effective, even on very deep stains, the fact you're making a very powerful detergent and pouring it down the drain is not great. Buyer beware, I guess.