How to remove tea stains from clothes at home

Tea might be light in color, but the brownish discoloration it leaves behind on clothes, upholstery, carpet or other surfaces can be hard to remove. Luckily, there are different ways to eliminate the brown blotch ranging from soaking and spot cleaning to rubbing the site with soap. Simply start with a method that feels best for you and if it does not work, switch to a different method. Read further to learn ways to remove tea stains from clothes at home.

Techniques on how to remove tea stains from clothes at home

Once you discover a brownish spot on your favorite shirt, it is important to take action immediately to make the removal process easier. Let’s take a look at the steps on how to remove tea stains from clothes at home. 

  • The first task is to rinse out as much of the tea stain. Work from the back part of the clothing to flush out the stain away from the surface of the fabric instead of through it. 
  • Carefully rub liquid detergent into the stain. Let it sit on the stained area for a minimum of 5 minutes. For a dry or old stain, rub at the site with detergent and let it soak in cold water for up to 30 minutes. Rinse the garment thoroughly. If a trace of the stain lingers, rub liquid laundry detergent onto the site and let it soak in warm water for 10-15 minutes.
  • As an alternative to soap and cold water, dab on a thick coating of baking soda straight on the stained area while the tea is still damp. The baking soda works by soaking up the tea, drawing the brownish color out of the fabric, and into the powder. Leave it on overnight and scrape the powder off. At this point, most of the stain should be removed. Place the garment in the washing machine to finish cleaning it. 
  • For a stubborn tea stain or those on thick fabrics, allow it to soak in a solution of cold water and oxidizing stain remover. If a trace of the stain lingers, dab a stain remover gel, stick, or spray, and let it sit for 5 minutes before washing as usual.
  • You can repeat the steps as needed. The procedure can get rid of most tea stains from most fabrics. Sadly, repeated cleanings are oftentimes needed to eliminate stains that cover a wide area or those that are deeply set in.
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The best tactic when removing tea stains from clothes is to deal with them right away. Remember that the longer it’s left on the fabric, the harder it will be to remove. 


What is a tannin stain?

Tannin is considered as a natural vegetable dye present in bark and certain plants such as grape skin. Some of the examples of tannin stains are tea, coffee, and wine stains. Other common tannin stains can include fruit juice, soft drinks, and even washable ink.

Luckily, this type of stain can be removed by using the correct cleaning methods especially if you will deal with the stain right after the spill, whether right away or after a few days.

How do you get dried tea stains out of clothes?

If you are dealing with dried tea stains on clothes, you might be thinking that it will no longer be removed. Luckily, you can still remove it by following these steps.

  • Rub glycerin amidst your thumbs and work it into both sides of the stain. Let it sit for up to 10 hours. Stretch the fabric over a sink and shake out Borax to cover the stained area. Boil water and carefully pour it throughout the borders of the stain, moving steadily into the middle. You can repeat the process if necessary. Allow the fabric to rest in the water/Borax mixture for up to 30 minutes. Wash based on the fabric care label.
  • Soak the garment in an enzyme digestant for 30 minutes up to an hour. Wash it after in warm water and allow it to dry flat or hang. 
  • Cover the stained area with the enzyme detergent and soak in cold water for no more than 30 minutes. Wash the garment as usual. If a trace of the stain lingers, dab the enzyme detergent again on the site and soak in warm water for up to 15 minutes. Rinse thoroughly and wash as usual. 
  • Combine 3 parts Borax and 1 part water to create a paste and apply on the stain. Let it sit for up to 30 minutes. Brush or shake away the paste. Continue until you have removed as much of the stain. Wash the garment again using the enzyme detergent.
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Alternatives that you can use are chlorine bleach or hydrogen peroxide. Do not forget to test hydrogen peroxide on a concealed area first since it has a bleaching effect. 

Does Vanish remove tea stains?

If you discover a tea stain on one of your clothes, you can use Vanish to remove tea stains out of clothes. Simply follow these steps.

  • Use a clean, damp cloth or paper towel to blot the stained area, removing as much as of the residue as possible.
  • Dab Vanish right away to remove the remaining stain.

How do you remove green tea stains?

Similar with coffee stains, tea stains are tannin-based. Once you discover a stain, you must act right away or the stain will be hard to remove. 

  • Blot as much of the stain as possible using paper towels or a clean cloth. Dab at the stain. 
  • Rinse the stain under cold running water. 
  • For cotton garments, wash the garment using a biological detergent in a 40-degree wash. For silk, wash in a delicate, 30 degrees wash cycle. For wool, deal with the stain right away to prevent any damage.
  • After washing with cold water, soak the garment in a cool mixture of washing soda crystals or a pre-wash detergent. 
  • Hand-wash in lukewarm water and allow it to dry naturally. 

If the stain lingers, moisten the garment, and rub glycerin into the stained area. Let it sit for up to 30 minutes before hand-washing again. 

Final thoughts

Finding a tea stain on your favorite shirt can be disappointing. The brownish discoloration can disrupt the overall appearance of your clothes. The key is to act right away in removing this type of stain. With the methods described on how to remove tea stains from clothes at home, you can readily deal with the stain and keep your clothes looking good as new.

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