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How to remove tea stains from just about anything

A warm cup of tea sounds wonderful on a chilly winter day, but what doesn't sound so wonderful: tea stains. Read on for cleaning tips.
/ Source: TODAY

Whether it’s a cup of hot tea in the winter or a glass of iced tea in the summer, tea is a most refreshing beverage. Spill it on yourself, however, and it will make you lose your cool. We asked two cleaning pros to tell us how they remove tea stains and were surprised to learn that it’s not so hard after all.

Remove tea stains
Don't cry over spilled tea!Shutterstock

How to remove tea stains from clothing

Donna Smallin Kuper, blogger and fabric care ambassador for Tide and Downy products, offers a couple of ways to tackle tannin stains, like tea, on clothing.

As always, check the cleaning instructions on the fabric care label first.

1. Soak the stain in a solution of an oxidizing stain remover (like OxiClean) and cold water as directed on the product label.


If the fabric will withstand hot water, secure the fabric tightly with a rubber band over a bowl or mug. Carefully pour boiling water through the spot from about 2 feet above. This will flush out the stain. (I’ve removed fresh blueberries stains from a tablecloth using this method as my friends watched in awe!)

2. Wash the garment with detergent in the hottest water allowed on the fabric care label. Removing older stains may require use of an oxidizing stain remover.

Have silk and wool clothing professionally cleaned. And be sure to have clothing professionally cleaned when the items are labeled "dry clean only."

How to remove tea stains from upholstery and carpet

Merry Maids cleaning expert Debra Johnson suggests two ways to remove tea stains from carpet and upholstery.

Note: Not all upholstery and carpet can be cleaned with water or water-based products. With upholstery and carpet stains, we always recommend following fabric care guidelines and testing the cleaner in an inconspicuous spot, allowing the cleaner time to dry.

  1. Start by dabbing the stain with plain water to see if it clears up a little.
  2. Then, dab the stain with a solution of 1 tablespoon of distilled white vinegar and 1 to 2 cups of water.
  3. Let this sit on the stain for 10 minutes. Repeat as needed until stain is gone.
  4. Rinse by dabbing with a sponge wet with cool water.
  5. Blot dry with a microfiber cloth.


  1. Start by dabbing with water to see if the stain clears up a little.
  2. Then, mix 1 tablespoon of liquid dish-washing detergent, 1 tablespoon of distilled white vinegar and 2 cups of warm water. Apply little by little to the stain, dabbing with a clean microfiber cloth until stain is gone.
  3. Rinse cleaning solution from stain by dabbing with a sponge wet with cold water.
  4. Blot dry with a microfiber cloth.

If the stain remains, have the carpet or upholstery professionally cleaned.