How to Remove Tea Stains From Carpet

How to Remove Tea Stains From Carpet

The Spruce / Hilary Allison

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 10 mins - 20 hrs
  • Total Time: 20 mins - 1 hr
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $10

Whether you are enjoying a steaming cup of hot tea or a frosty glass of iced tea, spills can spell big trouble for your carpet. Teas are loaded with tannins, natural astringent compounds that can stain fabric, upholstery, fine china, and even teeth.

Removing tea stains requires dilution with water, a strong stain remover, and sometimes an acidic agent like household white vinegar. Most importantly, act fast to begin treatment as soon after a tea spill as possible. This will greatly improve your chances of completely removing the stain from your carpet.

 Stain Type  Tea
 Detergent Type  Carpet stain remover
 Water Temperature  Cold

Before You Begin

It is critical to act quickly when trying to remove spilled tea from a carpet—especially a white or light-colored carpet. Tea can leave dark brown or red marks that will be much harder to eliminate once the spill dries. Immediately after a spill, blot the liquid without rubbing per the instructional steps below.

If you are faced with a dry tea stain, begin with Step 2, repeatedly rinsing and blotting with cold water. The stain may not completely disappear, even with repeated efforts and the best stain removers, but it may fade a bit and become less obvious.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Vacuum
  • Sponge (optional)


  • Clean, white cloths
  • Carpet stain remover
  • White vinegar (optional)


Steps To Remove Tea Stains From Carpet

  1. Blot to Soak up the Stain

    Blot up as much of the tea stain as possible by using a clean white cloth. Continue to blot until no more liquid is transferred onto the cloth and the area seems almost dry.


    Do not rub the tea spot; this will just move the liquid around and increase the surface area of the stain. Pressing down will make sure that any liquid in the carpet padding will soak into the cloth instead.

    Tea stain blotted with white cloth

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

  2. Rinse to Dilute the Stain

    Pour a small amount of water onto the stained area and continue blotting up the liquid. This dilutes the remaining tea a little bit, but you will still be able to soak it up with a clean cloth.

    Repeat until the cloth repeatedly appears clean after blotting and the area feels almost dry to the touch.

  3. Apply Stain Remover

    Apply a carpet stain remover according to the directions.


    Always test carpet stain remover on a hidden spot of carpet first, like under furniture or in an out-of-the-way corner of the room. Ensure that the stain remover will not strip the color of your carpet or rug before using it in a conspicuous area.

  4. Air Dry and Vacuum

    Allow the stained area to air dry. If you are satisfied with your results, vacuum the area to lift the carpet fibers and diminish any trace of the stain removal process.

    If you still see traces of the tea stain after the carpet air dries, then try the next step, which employs the power of white vinegar.

  5. Treat a Stubborn Stain With Vinegar

    • Sponge a solution of white vinegar diluted with water (one part vinegar to one part water) onto the stain.
    • Allow it to sit for five to 10 minutes.
    • Rinse with cold water and blot up the liquid with a clean white cloth until almost dry.
    • Allow the spot to air dry and then vacuum to lift the carpet fibers.


    Be sure to test the vinegar in a hidden spot of the carpet, just as you would with a commercial stain remover. Depending on your carpet fibers, white vinegar can have a bleaching effect that cannot be undone.

    Glass bottle of white vinegar next to stingy tea stain and glass cup

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

Additional Tips for Handling Tea Stains

Tea stains can reappear on a carpet, even after diligent cleaning, if the liquid deeply penetrates the carpet backing or padding. When this is the case, the stain can wick up through the fibers within hours, days, or even longer. Sometimes, a seemingly stainless area may get wet years later and suddenly draw up dark remnants of the original tea spill.

If the stain reoccurs, don't be too quick to ditch the carpet. First, check the padding underneath. If the stains in the padding are particularly bad, consider changing the padding, which is a much cheaper solution than replacing the whole carpet.

Tea stain revealed on flipped over carpet backing

The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska