How to Remove Tea Stains from Clothes: We Tried All Methods


It’s Sunday morning, and you are sipping a cup of tea, when (suddenly) the handle slips a little, and oh no, the tea is spilled all over your clothes.

Ignoring your minor burns, you suddenly realize how much trouble it will take to get that tea stain off your clothes. Racking your brains to figure out how to remove tea stains from clothes can be quite cumbersome.

Now don’t shoot the messenger, as harsh that it sounds, it is true most of the times. Various remedies are said to be effective to remove the oh-so-difficult-to-tackle tea stains, but do they really work?

We tried top 6 remedies (that are widely popular online) for you to see if they work or not. This way you can choose the method that suits you the best to remove tea stains from clothes.

intro to remove tea stains from clothes

Bleach worked quite wonderfully on the tea stains and gave the best results by far. So, if your clothing happens to be bleach-safe, you’re in luck. Hydrogen peroxide seems to work just as well and is also easy on colored clothing.

Toothpaste should also work; although, don’t expect to get pristine results for white garments using this method. Also, don’t use toothpaste on delicate fabrics and you may need to use elbow grease.

Vinegar gave worse results than toothpaste but is something that you may try if you don’t have anything else at hand. Baking soda and club soda gave the worst results by far. At best, they seemed to lighten the tea stain by a small degree.

Method 1: Use Bleach

before and after using bleach

Bleach acts as a wonderful stain-removing agent and works especially well with whites. As it is easily available in the market, bleach is always the first choice when it comes to hard-to-remove tea stains.

Bleach gets its smell and the stain-removing quality from chlorine. Often used for cleaning and sanitizing, bleach is also a leader in removing stains. It works by chemically changing the pigments that constitute the stains.

Note: Wear gloves while working with bleach to protect your hands from bleach burns.

Step 1. Mix bleach powder with water

mix bleach powder in water

  • Put 1 teaspoon of bleach powder into a glass or ceramic bowl. You can add the same quantity of liquid bleach as well.
  • Pour 1 cup of water into the bowl.
  • Stir well with a wooden or plastic spoon to mix the ingredients into a lump-free solution. The use of metal spoon or bowl is not advised as bleach is highly corrosive to metal surfaces.
  • Make more amount of solution in the same proportion if dealing with a large area of stained clothing.

Step 2. Soak the stained cloth in bleach

soak the stained cloth in the solution

  • Check the garment-care tag, especially with colored garments, to determine if the fabric is bleach-safe.
  • If you’re unable to do so, do a patch test on a similar fabric or on an inconspicuous part of the clothing. If the color bleeds or the bleach appears to be too harsh to the fabric, consider using another stain removal method.
  • Submerge the stained part of the fabric into the bleach solution, and leave it there for at least 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Don’t let the fabric sit for more than 30 minutes at a time.

Step 3. Launder the clothing as usual

launder the cloth as usual

  • Remove the clothing from the bleach soak and launder it as usual.
  • Allow the garment to dry only when you’re done with the stain removal process; if dried with stains on it, the stains become difficult to remove.

Ninety-nine percent chances are that the tea stain will disappear, and your whites will revert to their former glory. After bleaching, our white test fabric showed no signs of the stain.

final removed tea stain using bleach

Method 2: Use Hydrogen Peroxide

before and after using hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is simply water with an extra molecule of oxygen. The extra oxygen molecule is considered to be good at removing stains (as it dissociates its bonds very easily).

Often known as color-safe bleach, this not only helps remove tea stains from clothes but also brings brightness and a new life to your cloth (basically because of that extra oxygen molecule).

So if you have a colored garment with awful tough tea stains that you can’t afford to bleach, try out this method. You can easily find 3% hydrogen peroxide at any drugstore.

Did you know that hydrogen peroxide can also remove deodorant stains?

Step 1. Mix hydrogen peroxide with water

mix hydrogen peroxide in water

  • Pour ½ cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide into a bowl.
  • Pour in 1 cup of water as well.

Step 2. Soak the stained cloth in hydrogen peroxide

soak the stain in the solution

  • Soak the stained area of the cloth in hydrogen peroxide.
  • Give it a little rub with your hands and let it sit for 20 minutes.

Step 3. Wash the garment as usual

wash the garment as usual

  • Remove the cloth from hydrogen peroxide and put it in the wash.
  • Let the cloth dry when the stain has been removed to your satisfaction.

Hydrogen peroxide also managed to get the stain off as well as brighten the fabric.

final removed tea stain with hydrogen peroxide

Method 3: Use Toothpaste

before and after using toothpaste

Efficient stain removal is one of the applications of toothpaste. This simple household commodity can come in handy as a tea stain remover.

The micro-abrasives present in the toothpaste help scrub away the stain from the fabric of the clothing. Be sure to go for the generic white toothpaste for removing tea stains from the clothing.

If you’re dealing with whites, the outcome may not be pristine. Colored fabric should fare better.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need to use toothpaste to remove tea stain from clothes

  • Toothpaste (gentle abrasive properties)
  • Old toothbrush

Step 1. Scrub the stained area with toothpaste and toothbrush

apply toothpaste on the stain and scrub with a toothbrush

  • Squeeze out a liberal amount of toothpaste over the stained fabric of the clothing.
  • Scrub out the stained area with an old discarded toothbrush. Before scrubbing, do a patch test to ensure that the toothbrush won’t fray the fabric.
  • You may need to put in some elbow grease to scrub out the stains.

Step 2. Rinse and launder

  • Rinse out the toothpaste from the fabric.
  • If the stains are not entirely gone, repeat the entire process till you’re satisfied with the outcome.
  • Launder the clothes as usual to remove the remnants of the stains.

Toothpaste also worked well on the fabric. The tea stain was gone. It may not work every time, but there’s a good chance that it will.

final removed tea stain using toothpaste

Method 4: Use Club Soda

before and after using club soda

There is a good chance that club soda is chilling in the freezer of your refrigerator right at this moment. Just grab a bottle and try it out to remove tea stains from clothes.

Club soda is simply carbonated water. Its fizzy nature is considered responsible for its cleaning properties.

Step 1. Soak the fabric in club soda

soak the stain in club soda

  • Put the stained fabric of the clothing into a bowl.
  • Pour club soda over it, immersing the stain completely.
  • Let it soak for 2 to 3 hours.

Step 2. Launder the clothing

  • Take it out of the bowl.
  • Rinse and wash the cloth with soap and detergent as usual.

Club soda simply managed to lighten the tea stain in our fabric.

While it should not be your first choice for removing tea stains, you can certainly use club soda if you’re in a restaurant or away from home to keep the tea stain from settling into the fabric, until you get around to laundering the garment.

final removed tea stain using club soda

Method 5: Use Vinegar

before and after using vinegar

Vinegar is a pro when it comes to cleaning. Being a mild acidic agent, it acts as an efficient degreaser and a stain-remover. Thus, vinegar can come in quite handy for tackling tea or coffee stains on your clothing.

Step 1. Mix vinegar and water

mix vinegar and water

  • Pour ¼ cup of vinegar into a bowl.
  • Pour in 1 cup of water as well.

Step 2. Soak the stained fabric in vinegar solution

soak the stain in the solution

  • Soak and scrub the stained fabric in a vinegar solution.
  • Let it soak for 1 or 2 hours.

Step 3. Wash the garment as usual

wash the garment as usual

  • Thoroughly rinse the fabric with water, and wash with detergent like you would normally do.

Even though the bulk of the stain was gone, the lingering traces of the stubborn tea stains are visible. Vinegar is unable to remove the stains on its own but can be used in a pinch.

final removed tea stain using vinegar

Method 6: Use Baking Soda

before and after using baking soda

As baking soda can be used to clean almost anything around the house, it makes sense to try it out on tea-stained clothing. It acts as a degreaser and stain-cutter for a variety of stains on most surfaces.

It is a natural, non-toxic, and not to mention, cheap remedy to remove tea stains from clothes, without affecting the color of the fabric.

Step 1. Soak fabric in warm water

soak the cloth in warm water

  • Fill a bowl with warm water.
  • Soak the stained area of the clothing in warm water for a few minutes to loosen the stain.

Step 2. Sprinkle baking soda over the stain

sprinkle baking soda over the stain

  • Sprinkle baking soda, covering the stained part of the fabric completely.
  • Let it sit for a few minutes.

Step 3. Rub with brush

rub at the stain with a brush

  • Use a small cleaning brush or an old toothbrush to scrub baking soda over the stain.
  • If you wish, you can repeat the process to further lighten the stain.
  • Rinse out the baking soda and wash the clothing with detergent.

A few rounds of scrubbing with baking soda will definitely lighten the stain but won’t remove it completely. Don’t bother with this one; simply put it as a waste of your time and energy.

final removed tea stain using baking soda

Tips

  • Treat tea stains immediately after the spill with the stain removal methods for best results. Older stains are often more difficult to tackle.
  • Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from chemicals and stain removers.
  • Don’t let the clothing sit in bleach or hydrogen peroxide for long as long-term exposure can ruin the fabric.

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