How to Quickly Remove Tea Stains From Clothing, Carpet, and Mugs

Tips For Removing Tea From Clothing, Carpet, and Mugs

Coffee stains on a table
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Tea stains may not seem like a big deal. After all, that pale liquid doesn't seem to leave much of a mark, right? Actually, no. Tea stains may be light in color but think of the brown discoloration they leave on a mug, and how hard it is to remove. The same goes for tea left on clothing, carpet, and upholstery. 

But there are some tips and tricks to getting the blotch of brown to disappear, from soaking to spot cleaning to rubbing with soap. Choose which method is best for you, and if that one doesn't work, give another technique a try. 

Remove From Clothing

You know how it goes: you are all dressed for work, rushing to get out of the door, and—whoops!—you spill your tea on your freshly cleaned shirt. Or maybe you enjoy your tea at the end of the day, and just as you are about to take a sip while you relax on the couch your kid plops down and causes the hot drink to spill all over you. No matter how it happens, the best strategy is to take care of it as soon as possible—the longer it sits the more difficult it may be to remove. But first, you need to decide which option to choose when it comes to removing tea stains from clothing. 

  • Rinse the tea stain thoroughly with cold water. Try to rinse out as much of the stain as you can working from the back of the clothing to try to flush the tea off of the surface instead of through the fabric.
  • 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. If tea traces remain, rub liquid laundry detergent into the tea stain and soak in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • 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 toss the clothing into the washing machine to try to finish cleaning.
  • Soak in a solution of cold water and oxidizing stain remover (such as OxiClean) as the product recommends.
  • If traces of the tea stain still remain after these attempts, apply a stain remover stick, gel, or spray and let stand for 5 minutes before washing normally.

Remove From Carpet and Upholstery

Many of us savor a cup of tea while cozying up with a good book or watching our favorite show, so chances of spilling on furniture are likely. But there's no need to run out to get special upholstery cleaner; there is a simple method you can try using basic supplies you have in your home.

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

Remove From Mugs

Rings of light brown tea stains can accumulate and make your mugs look dull and dirty. It's important to use natural products—such as white vinegar, baking soda, salt, and toothpaste—to remove the build-up from your mug as you don't want to ingest any chemical residue. 

You can make baking soda into a mildly abrasive paste by combining it with water. The gentle yet abrasive scrubbing will help remove those rings without adding any dangerous chemicals to your drinking mug.

  • Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with a little water to make a paste.
  • Let the paste sit for 5 to 10 minutes and then rub the paste onto the stains with a rag or a toothbrush if it's awkward to get your hand in the mug.
  • Once you notice the mug is clean, give it a rinse and dry with a towel.

Another method is to make a mixture of vinegar and salt.

  • First, wipe the inside of the mug with a damp cloth. Then, in a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons each vinegar and salt and mix well. 
  • Pour this mixture into the mug and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  • Using a dishtowel, rub the paste against the inside of the mug.
  • When the stains appear to be gone, rinse the mug and dry. 

We all use toothpaste to remove stains from our teeth, so why not use it to remove stains from a mug?

  • Using white toothpaste, place a bit on an old toothbrush.
  • Brush the inside of the mug until the entire surface is coated, making sure it gets into the crevices.
  • Let sit for 10 minutes and then rinse.