Tea stains can be a real pain to clean, especially if the stain went unnoticed and it has already started to dry up. The main reason why tea stains, is due to the high concentration of tannins found in the tea, also commonly known as tannic acid. Tannic acid is brownish in colour and is used for dyeing leather and even used in natural inks, it’s very potent, which is why tea leaves stains on pretty much any surface it touches, whether that be fabrics, inside mugs, or even your teeth! Now that you know what makes the tea stain, below are some of the ways the tea stains can be cleaned and/or prevented from getting worse.
Do tea stains go away after a wash?
It’s best to remove tea stains as soon as they happen. We recommend soaking the fabric in water straight away to disperse the concentration of tannins and try and make the stain less visible from the start. Ideally, you would need to treat the fabric with stain remover before you put it in the wash, to make sure the stain is lifted from the fibres, this is very important if the stain was on a vibrant piece of fabric or item of clothing.
Removal Technique 1
There are a few DIY options that may be able to aid you, such as applying vinegar to the stain. It’s best to apply the vinegar on the stain while it’s wet or soak the fabric in water for a few minutes before applying the vinegar. Please note, if you’re using vinegar on your clothes always use the white vinegar as the malty brown could potentially stain your clothes even more. Allow the vinegar to soak for at least half an hour or more, depending on the intensity of the stain, and make sure the stain is completely submerged. We recommend rinsing the fabric and repeating the process if the stain is still there, after you’ve completed these steps pop the fabric in the washing machine with some laundry detergent.
Removal Technique 2
Another option to remove the stain could be to apply baking soda to the stain while it’s still wet. The baking soda will fizz up and the reaction will help break the tannic acid away from the material. We recommend rubbing the fabric afterward to make sure the baking soda seeps deeper into the fabric and removes the tough stains from within. Let the baking soda sit for around 10 minutes before rinsing. Repeat if necessary. We recommend washing the solution off with cold water and applying laundry detergent which you should rub into the fabric in the same way, make sure to use your knuckles or you could even use a sponge.
There’s one more stain-cleaning tip: using lemon and salt. This may seem like a weird one but, the citric acid in lemons helps to break down stains and unlike bleach, lemon juice is safe for colours, too. Additionally salt has strong dehydrating properties and will lift up the water and the tannic acid. After soaking the fabric in lemon and salt, use some cold water to rinse the stain. Wash your garment as usual. With this method, the fabric will appear clean with no spots on it. Salt and lemon is a powerful cleaning duo, and can even be used to brighten up white garments of clothing.