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How to Remove Tea Stains from Clothing

Don't stress over spilt tea – this article is full of helpful methods for removing tea stains from clothing, including how to pre-treat & soak fabric.


Reading Time: 5 minutes

Written by Eunice Samson

removing tea stains from clothes

Whether at home or at work, everyone enjoys a rejuvenating cup of tea now and again. When accidents happen, you’ll need to act fast in order to make removing tea stains from clothing as easy as possible!

Of course, if you’re not at home when a spillage occurs, or if you’re cautious about hastily leaping into action with delicate garments – this is easier said than done. But no matter where you are or what material you’re dealing with; follow our informative guide for effective tea stain removal from clothes.

Before you start, always follow the instructions on any cleaning products for your safety and for the best chance of ultimately removing stains. You should also check the care advice on your clothes, and test the product in a small, inconspicuous area before using.

The faster you can tackle a tea stain, the better the result will be. Use a good quality detergent like Breeze with ActivBleach to pre-treat stains before washing – just remember to follow the instructions on the product’s label.

Removing Tea Stains from Clothing – Common Fabrics

Tea stains on clothes are caused by the tannin in tea leaves – not to mention the carbohydrates and oils in milk and sugar or fruit and spiced teas. By acting promptly to target tea stains with appropriate methods, you can immediately minimise the impact of stain-causing ingredients. If you’re at home when the spillage occurs, you can act immediately, so you’re off to a good start.

  • Rinse the stain as soon as you can, running a stream of warm water through the fabric. As tea is water-soluble, this simple step can reduce the stain effectively, but avoid using hot water as direct heat can speed-up the stain setting into the fabric.

  • Apply Breeze liquid detergent directly to the stained area and lather by gently rubbing the material against itself, before rinsing and repeating until the stain has dissolved as much as possible.

How To Remove Tea Stains from Clothes While Out Or At Work

If you spill tea on your clothes while you’re out, you may need to be more creative with the immediate steps you take to avoid a permanent stain. Try as many of the following techniques as you can:

  • Blot the stain with absorbent tissue to soak up as much liquid as possible while still wet. Avoid using toilet paper as it can disintegrate, making a mess of your clothes; try to find tougher tissue such as napkins or kitchen paper.

  • If you haven’t got spare clothes and it’s not practical to remove the garment to rinse, press wet tissue against the stain while wearing.

  • When you get home, treat the stain with a product like Surf Blossom Fresh bar and wash as normal following the recommended instructions on the garment’s care label.

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Stubborn Tea Stain Removal from Clothes

If you’ve been able to act promptly and pre-treat the stain, but it’s still proving to be stubborn – try soaking the garment:

  • Immerse stained clothing in a bucket with a little Breeze detergent and leave to soak for a few hours or overnight.

  • Put the tea-stained clothing into the washing machine straight from soaking, and wash according to the instructions on the care label.

How To Remove Tea Stains From Clothing – Delicate Fabrics

Acting quickly with stains on delicate clothing can seem daunting, and sometimes it’s preferable to take treasured garments to a dry cleaner as soon as possible after acquiring a tea stain.

To remove tea stains from wool and silk, use a mild detergent that’s suitable for the material to pre-treat the stain. Your machine’s hand-wash or delicate setting may work well with delicate and dry clean items, although you should follow the clothing’s instructions with regards to washing and drying.

When removing tea stains from wool, it’s essential to reshape as soon as garments come out of the wash. When soaking silk to remove tea stains, you should immerse the entire garment in tepid water.

With these simple tips, removing tea stains from clothing can be a breeze. Now you can sit back, relax, and enjoy a nice cup of tea without having to worry about spilling any!

  • Rinse the stain. Avoid using hot water – this can set the stain.

  • Apply laundry detergent directly to the stain as a pre-treatment.

  • For tougher stains you may need to soak your garment over night.

  • Remember to check the care label on your garment for washing guidelines.

Do you want to learn which household cleaning tasks cause the most stress?  Then read our Heated Household data analysis. 

Frequently asked questions on removing tea stains from clothes

Can dry cleaning remove water stains?

There are two types of stains – water-based and oil-based. Dry cleaning is a process through which most stains can be removed – including water stains. It is important that you be completely upfront with your dry cleaner and point out where the stain is so that they know to pay special attention to it during the cleaning process.

Does milk tea stain clothes more than tea without milk?

Tea with milk could cause a set-in stain if not treated as quickly as possible. Milk is a protein-based liquid, and heat can cause the stain to set into the fabric. To try and avoid this, you should immediately rinse the fabric with cold water. As tea is water soluble, this should be enough to clean away the stain and all you need to do is wash as normal.

How do I get dried tea stains out of clothes?

Although you should aim to treat tea stains as quickly as possible, and when still wet, there are ways to learn how to get dried tea stains out of clothes. Start by dabbing the stain with water, as this may be enough to lift it from the fabric. If this doesn't work, mix 1 tablespoon of distilled white vinegar and 2 cups of warm water, and use a clean microfiber cloth to dab the solution onto the stain. Little by little you should see the stain lift away from your clothing.

Are dried-on tea stains permanent?

If you've found yourself wondering, “are tea stains permanent?” You've come to the right place. The only thing that could really set a tea stain into your fabric is heat, so take care to treat the stain as soon as possible and flush it out of the fabric with cold water before washing the garment. Always check the stain is fully removed from the fabric before drying it - especially if using artificial heat such as a dryer.

Originally published