3 Ways to Remove Tea Stains from Clothing

Tea has been staining fabrics for centuries. This age-old drink has found its way onto beautiful table clothes, cloth napkins, shirts. homework, you name it. Tea stains are light in shade so they may not stand out as much as a coffee or tomato stain but they do leave a distinct discoloration on materials.

Acting Fast to Treat a Fresh Stain

Our motto for treating any stain is: act fast! As soon as possible, begin treatment of the tea stain by using an absorbent cloth to soak up as much of the tea as possible. If the situation allows you, press the absorbent cloth into the affected area from both sides of the clothing to maximize the amount of tea removal. This will help to reduce the work needed to remove the remaining stain.

If you find yourself away from home at the time of the incident, dab the affected area with some water after absorbing as much tea as possible in the previous step. Press a dry cloth over the stained area to soak up the water dabbing in an attempt to remove more tea from the clothing. Keeping the tea hydrated will also help slow the setting of the stain in the fabric of your clothing.

Cleaning Method 1: Mild Detergent

Once you are able to address the stain at home, begin treating the stain by rinsing the fabric under cold running water. This will re-wet the stain and help to flush out some of the tea that is still caught in between the fibers. 

Next, you will want to use a mild, soapy solution to break up the stain and allow it to lift from the fabric of the clothing. Liquid dish soap or a small amount of laundry soap will do the trick for this. Take a brush, such as a toothbrush to scrub the tea stain so that you are able to ensure that all areas of the stain have been hydrated with the detergent.

After scrubbing the stain for a minute, rinse under the cold water back and forth to help break the tea stain up. If you still notice the stain is there, you will have to try an alternative. 

Cleaning Method 2: Baking Soda & Water

You can use a baking soda and water solution to assist the stain in loosening up. Follow these steps:

  • Create a thick paste of baking soda with a couple of drops of water. You want the paste to be thick enough that you can leave it on the stain for a period of time before rinsing off. 
  • Scrub the paste gently into the stain, making sure to cover all of the stain.
  • After allowing the solution to set on the stain for thirty minutes, rinse thoroughly under cold water.

Now, take a look at your stain. If it’s gone, then you can wash the shirt as you normally would. If you still see the stain, you will want to try the next solution.

Cleaning Method 3: Vinegar

  • Use a half cup of white vinegar and dilute it slightly with water for a solution of 1-part water to 3 parts white vinegar. 
  • Pour the vinegar solution directly over the stain and allow it to set for thirty minutes before rinsing it. The acid in the vinegar will cause the tea to break up and release from the fibers in the clothing.

It’s important to note that you shouldn’t wash the stained clothing in hot or warm water until you are satisfied that the stain is completely gone. As with most stains, hot water helps the staining material to set in and may ruin the clothing for good.

What’s Next?

It may be necessary to repeat the above cleaning method two or three times in order to fully address the tea that is staining your clothing. Depending on the type of tea, the amount, and the type of fabric, you may need to clean the stained area multiple times as gently as possible to avoid stressing or damaging delicate fabrics. If the stain persists, or the piece of clothing that you are trying to clean is made of a delicate or tricky fabric, we’d recommend consulting a dry-cleaning professional to have the stain safely removed.

We hope that one of the cleaning methods listed above did the trick to remove the tea stain from your clothing and that the fear of a future stain does not stop you from enjoying your next tasty cup.