How to Easily Remove Tea Stains From Clothes | Expert Tips

Britains drink a lot of tea, and we consume over 100 million cups of tea per day. We love tea, but it can be one of the most stubborn stains to get rid of. Anyone with kids or pets will need to know how to remove tea stains from clothes and other home areas after a spillage.

removing a tea stain with stain remover

The following advice is appropriate for hot or cold tea stain removal. Tea stains are challenging to get out because of the tannins in them. So we will show you how to get tea stains out of clothes and unwashable surfaces using products you probably already have at home. Let’s find out what type of stain you’re dealing with first, so we know how to remove it.

What are tannins?

 a cup of tea spilt over a note book
  • Tannins are a type of compound found in plants.
  • Tannins are a plant’s natural defense against pests.
  • Tannins are found in coffee, wine, chocolate, and tea ( all the things we love!)
  • Cheaper teas contain more tannin.
  • The longer you steep the tea, you will release more tannin.
  • Black tea contains the most tannin, and green tea has the least. White tea sits somewhere in the middle of the two.

Do Tea Stains Come Out of Clothes

Are tea stains permanent? It depends on how quickly you get to the stain and how you treat it after the spillage. One tiny mistake could cost you, and you may make the stain permanent.

Why is it Important to Clean Tea Stains quickly?

  • To prevent the stain from becoming permanent.
  • To avoid damaging your clothes.

How to prevent the stain from becoming permanent

As l always say with any stain, always treat it before you put it in the washer or dryer, as heat will nearly always make the stain permanent and impossible to remove.

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How to remove tea stains from colored clothes 

Always read the instructions on the care label and test in a small area before using any products. 

  1. Act quickly

    Always clean the stain as soon as it happens to give yourself the best chance to remove it. A stain that has been allowed to dry will be much more stubborn to remove than a fresh one.

  2. Check your garment is colorfast.

    You must be sure that your clothing is colorfast before treating the stain. If you have washed the garment and it bled color, for example, if you washed a red blouse, and the water turned red afterward, the garment is not colorfast. 

  3. Remove any excess liquid.

    Begin by blotting the stain with a paper towel or tissues to remove most of the liquid. It’s important to blot rather than rub the area so as not to spread the stain outward.

  4. Flush the stain.

    Rinse the stain with cold water. It’s important to flush with cold water as hot water may set the stain further. Let the water force its way through the fibers to eliminate as much tannin as possible.

    removing a tea stain from a white t-shirt

  5. Agitate the stain.

    While rinsing under the cold water, gently rub the stain together to loosen the fabric’s fibers.

  6. Add some laundry detergent to the stain.

    Rub in a small amount of good quality liquid laundry detergent like Persil

  7. Allow the detergent to sit for a while.

    Leave the laundry detergent to sit for a few minutes on the stained area to break down the tannins in the tea stain.

  8. Rinse the laundry detergent from the garment

    Rinse thoroughly under warm water to remove the detergent.

  9. Wash the garment as usual

    Place the garment in the washing machine and wash it on an everyday setting with good quality detergent like Persil. There is no need to prewash the garment.

 How to remove tea stains from white clothes

 someone showing how to remove tea  stains from clothes with bicarbonate of soda

It’s usually my luck to spill tea down my crisp white top, so knowing how to remove tea stains from white clothes without spreading the stain and making it worse is essential. Follow these tips to keep your whites white!

  1. Act quickly. Treat the stain immediately before it has time to set into the white fibers.
  2. Blot up as much of the tea and excess moisture as possible before treating the stain. This will prevent the stain from spreading during the treatment process.
  3. Vinegar. Pour white vinegar into a spray bottle and spray it under the tea stain from the back of the garment to flush as much of the tea away as possible.
  4. Let the vinegar soak into the stain to break down the tannins in the tea stain. Half an hour will give the vinegar time to work its magic. 
  5. Rinse in cold water to remove the excess vinegar.
  6. Soak the garment in a non-chlorine bleach or an oxidizing stain remover like this one. Do not use chlorine bleach as it does not react well with the tannins in tea, so a non-chlorine bleach like this one is best.

Other Methods of Fighting Tea and Coffee Stains

Before trying these methods, make sure that you treat the stain immediately and blot up as much of the excess liquid before you begin.

Baking soda

  1. Sprinkle baking soda liberally onto the stain, and tap with your finger to cover it.
  2. The baking soda will start absorbing the tea and liquid.
  3. Allow it to sit until all the excess moisture has gone and the baking soda dries.
  4. Brush the baking soda away.
  5. Rinse in cold water
  6. Wash as usual.


  • Use half the lemon like a little scrubbing brush to agitate the stain.
  • Keep squeezing the juice onto the stain while you rub it with the lemon.
  • The lemon is working its magic when the stain starts to come out.
  • You can sit the stained garment in the sunshine to help speed up the process and bleach the stain further.
  • Wash as usual

Stain Remover

Soak the garment in a fabric stain remover like Vanish for whites. I keep a few tea stain removers, like this stain devils one, for emergencies to quickly remove tea stains from clothing.

 someone showing  us how to remove  a tea stains from on a white shirt with oxy stain remover

Additional Tips For Handling Tea Stains

Tea stains can be hard to remove from other surfaces, not just from clothes, so here are some tips on dealing with spillages and stains in other home areas.

Removing tea stains from unwashable fabrics

Sometimes tea might spill on surfaces that can’t be laundered, like sofas and carpets, so it’s important to know how to remove a tea stain from unwashable fabrics without getting in a mess.

  • Blot up as much of the excess liquid
  • Choose one of the methods listed above to treat the spillage.
  • Blot at stain rather than rubbing, so you don’t damage the carpet or upholstery fibers.
  • Work from the outside of the stain to the inside to prevent it from spreading.
  • Blot with clean water to rinse any cleaning solution residue but do not oversoak the fibers as this may cause water damage.
  • Dry the stained area well with a hairdryer or fan to prevent mold from growing.

How to Remove Tea Stains From Mugs and China

I’ve written a convenient guide about removing tea stains from cups. You can read all about it here.

If you have any questions or concerns, leave a comment below!


Does vanish remove tea stains?

I always keep Vanish in the house to remove stains and find it very effective to remove tea stains from clothes. I usually throw a large scoop in with every white load to keep my whites white.

Are tea stains permanent?

If you don’t know how to remove tea stains from clothes correctly, you may cause them to become permanent, but you can remove them quickly by following the tips above.

How to remove tea stains on granite 

tea stains can be one of the most stubborn to remove from natural stone. Read this handy post to find out how to remove stains from granite and quartz.cup of spilt tea

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