How to Get Rid of Tea Stains

Businesswoman holding cup and saucer, dabbing tea stain on shirt
Judith Haeusler / Getty Images

Tea stains may not seem like a big deal. After all, that pale liquid doesn't seem to leave much of a stain. Tea stains may be pale but think of the light brown stain they leave on a mug -- these stains can be very difficult to remove. Here's how:

Steps for Removing Tea Stains

  1. Rinse the tea stain thoroughly from the back of the clothing with cold water. Try to rinse out as much of the stain as you can. Work from the back of the clothing to make sure the tea doesn't have a long distance to travel.
  1. Use a liquid detergent and rub gently into the tea stain. Allow the detergent to stand on the tea stain for at least 5 minutes. If the stain is old or dry, rub the tea stain with detergent and allow to soak in cold water for 30 minutes. Rinse the clothing thoroughly.
  2. Try a warm water soak. If tea stain traces remain, rub liquid laundry detergent into the tea stain and soak in warm water for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Try baking soda. Apply a thick layer of baking soda directly to the stain while the tea is still wet. The powder will absorb the tea, pulling the brown color out of the fabric and into the powder. Leave it on overnight and then scrape the powder off. Most of the stain should be removed, and then you can try tossing the clothing in the washing machine.
  4. Use a stain remover. If traces of the tea stain remain, apply a stain remover stick, gel or spray and let stand for 5 minutes before washing normally.

    What You Need:

    • Liquid laundry detergent
    • Stain remover

    How To Remove Tea Stains From Upholstery

    1. Mix one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid and one tablespoon of vinegar with two cups cool water.
    2. Use this solution to sponge the spot with a clean white cloth. The upholstery should be as wet as necessary to remove the spot. Then blot until the liquid is absorbed.
    1. Repeat steps the steps above until the tea stain is lifted.
    2. Once the stain is removed, sponge the area with a new white cloth and plain cold water to remove the cleaning solution. Blot dry.
    3. If these steps don't work, you can try removing the tea stain with a dry cleaning solvent.

    What You Need:

    • Dishwashing liquid
    • Vinegar
    • New white cloth
    • Dry cleaning solvent

    How To Remove Tea Stains From Mugs

    Rings of light brown tea stains can accumulate and make your mugs looks dull and dirty. It's important to use natural products to remove the build-up from your mug as you don't want to ingest any chemical residue. You can try:

    • White vinegar
    • Baking soda
    • Salt
    • Toothpaste
    • Oxygen bleach

    You can make salt or baking soda into a mildly abrasive paste by adding a little water. Then rub the paste onto the stains with a rag or a toothbrush if it's awkward to get your hand in the mug. The gentle yet abrasive scrubbing will help remove those rings without adding any dangerous chemicals to your drinking mug.