Did your tea end up on a carpet? Work quickly to make sure this stain does not set and reappear even after treating it. Teas are loaded with tannins, an astringent compound found in nature, that can stain fabric, upholstery, fine china, and even teeth. Removing tea stains can often require a strong detergent, abrasive substance, or acidic agent. If you act fast, most times you can remove the tea stain completely.
What You Need to Do
Get three things right away when a tea stain occurs: a clean white cloth, water, and carpet stain remover. You might need white vinegar as a backup plan if the first items do not do the trick.
The first thing you need to do, as you would with any type of liquid that spills onto the carpet, is 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. Do not rub the spot; this will just move the liquid around and increase the surface area of the stain. Pressing down will make sure that any liquid that filled the padding will soak into the cloth instead.
Once it seems it is almost dry from your blotting, 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.
Once the cloth repeatedly comes up clean, use a carpet stain remover according to the directions. Always test the stain remover on a hidden spot of carpet first, like under furniture or in an out-of-the-way corner of the room. You want to make sure that the stain remover is not too strong that it will strip the color of your carpet or rug.
What About a Stingy Stain?
If the stain still remains, you can try sponging white vinegar diluted with water (1-to-1 ratio) onto the stain. Allow it to sit for 5 to 10 minutes before rinsing and blotting up the liquid with a clean white cloth. Be sure to test the vinegar in a hidden spot. Depending on your carpet fibers, it can have a bleaching effect on your carpet.
You may have worked the stain for an hour, and finally, it is spotless. Then, the next day, you return to the site of stain, and like magic or a ghostly prank, it is back as if you never did a thing.
Stains can reappear on the carpet after cleaning because you probably did a great job on the surface, but carpet fibers are long, and the pesky liquid may have penetrated the carpet backing or carpet padding. When this is the case, then wicking occurs. The stain rises up through the fibers again. This can occur within hours, days, or even longer. Sometimes, if the area gets wet with even just water a year later, that may be all it takes to bring up the stain.
If the stain continually reoccurs, and before you start thinking about ditching the carpet altogether, you might want to look at the padding underneath. If the stains in the padding are particularly bad, it may be best to consider changing the padding, which is a much cheaper solution.