Your tea can spill on your clothes while taking it if you’re not very careful. As such, you will constantly have to be on your toes when taking tea. Nevertheless, not to worry, even if there’s a splatter on your clothes, there are several handy expert tips you can use to save your clothes and your day.
Are Tea Stains Permanent?
Have you noticed that generally, when it comes to spills and stains, there’s a hard and fast rule that applies to them becoming permanent or not? It works this way: the earlier you notice a stain and salvage it, the lower the chances of a permanent mark on your clothing. Tea stains are seemingly light, but they might not come off at all, leaving an evident discoloration if you don’t work on them sooner.
Why do some tea stains come off quickly and others don’t?
Ever wondered why some tea stains come off easily and some do not? Research has it that the water you use in making your tea plays a prominent role. Stains from tea made with water with a high concentration (also known as hard water because of its high chemical makeup) are tough to come off clothes.
But, if you use soft water, which has a lower concentration of dissolved minerals, to make your tea, any stains from it are easy to wash off your clothes. As such, ensure that you avoid, if you can, making your tea with hard water.
Tannins in tea
Asides from the water type, another major factor determining how tough washing off the tea stains on your clothes is the level of tannins in your tea. Tannins are the chemical components found in tea.
They are responsible for your tea’s natural taste and infuse various antioxidants and essential nutrients. Curious about how tannins work?
So, if you are wondering if tea stains are permanent, there is no definite answer. It all depends on when you notice the stains and how soon you wash them off. Thus, tea stains could be permanent or not. Older stains are usually tough to remove.
When you let tea stains dry, the tea components seep into the fabrics quickly and stay in them. Efforts to remove the tea stains from your clothes may work to an extent where it would be less noticeable on your material, but it could leave a light yellow streak on the affected area.
4 Ways To Remove Tea Stain From Clothes
1. Use detergent
Detergent has been an all-time stain remover and would work perfectly for removing those stains off your clothes. First, check the care label on your clothes to know how best to do your laundry. Next, wet the stain’s surface and pour a reasonable amount of detergent on that spot.
Let the detergent sit on it for a minute, then use your fingers to do a gentle scrub in a circular motion. Pour some water into a washing bowl and place that piece of clothing in it. Add some more detergent and let it soak for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, do a brief hand-washing on that spot and rinse.
2. Apply baking soda
Baking soda is reputable for getting dirt, grease, grime, and stains off disparate surfaces. Sprinkle the stained surface with cold water. Make a thick paste of your baking soda, then apply the paste on the surface. Let it sit on the surface for about 20 minutes. Finally, wash the clothes with a good detergent.
3. Soak in a bleach solution
This method is most suitable for white clothes. Bleach consists of an active oxidizing agent, Sodium Hypochlorite, the critical ingredient in bleach whitening ability.
Soak your white clothes in a laundry bowl of bleach mixed with cold water for about 10 minutes. Afterward, wash your clothes with detergent; you can wash by either hand or a washer, as long as it’s suitable for your clothing fabric.
Note that using bleach to get rid of tea stains off your colored clothes is a bad idea. It would ruin the color of your clothes.
4. Use vinegar
Vinegar is one handy kitchen staple that almost always comes through whenever there’s a household maintenance problem. It contains several acidic properties that give it the ability to act as a cleaning agent.
Pour vinegar into a spray bottle and spray generously on the tea stain. Let it settle into the fabric. Even while spraying the vinegar on the spot, you would already see the stains coming off slowly. Wash off with detergent and water afterward.
3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Allow Tea Stains Linger On Your Clothes
To prevent the stain from becoming permanent
While it is more convenient to save the washing for a later time or the weekend when we do laundry the most, allowing tea stains to linger on your clothes reduces the likelihood of the stain or its scar being erased permanently.
The best time to get tea stains completely off your clothes is the very moment it spills on them. It may be inconvenient, especially when you want to enjoy your tea while it is still steaming hot, and going to the bathroom to remove the stains will make it get cold or run late for your appointment.
No matter what hinders you from washing your clothes immediately after a spill, you can beat that (especially if you don’t want to lose that clothing) by doing a quick detergent soak.
You can go out and return to wash your clothes without them being damaged. If you have a housekeeper or a family member who’s not so hooked up with activities like you, you can beg their indulgence to help you with removing the tea stains on your clothes.
To make your clothes durable
Even quality clothes aren’t immune to chemical damages from concentrated cleaning agents like bleach. When the tea stain is dry, you might tend to add a lot of bleach to remove the stains, and this would affect the quality of the fabric.
Also, as an oversight, you might pour bleach on your colored clothes to remove tea stains, which will ruin their color and make them not good enough for wear again.
To avoid damaging your clothes
Since procrastinating on washing your clothes to remove a tea stain would cause it to set into the fabric and give you a tough time trying to remove it, you might try to use stain removers, which might be too intense for your fabric type to weaken its quality.
Not all clothes can withstand acidic properties in stain removers. But using laundry soap to wash tea stains off your clothes immediately will prevent them from any damage.
Want To Know How To Protect Your Clothes From Tea Stains? Follow These 5 Steps
Be focused on your drink
You can attest to the number of times you got tea sloshing on your pants because you were scrolling through Instagram. Getting distracted while drinking tea will heighten the chances of ruining your clothes with tea stains.
Try not to drink your tea while doing other things like deep thinking, reading, typing, and chatting. These distractions can get you engrossed, and you might not notice when a splash is about to happen.
Keep your hands firmly on your mug
Mug slips are so common. They happen based on varying reasons. It could be due to simply not gripping the mug tightly or because the mug might be too hot to handle.
For the former, ensure that your hands aren’t slippery so that you can hold your mug tightly while taking sips, and for the latter, which happens whenever you make your tea with hot water, grip the mug handle or body with a napkin whenever you need to take sips.
Take slow sips
Tea stains happen in a heartbeat, especially when you decide to take your tea in haste, thereby increasing the chances of tea dropping on your clothes. Just like any liquid, when there is no organized flow, your tea would move in varying directions. Thus, whenever you are drinking your tea, take each sip slowly while maintaining focus.
Avoid taking tea in a moving vehicle
You definitely cannot enjoy a nice cup of brew sitting in a moving vehicle. Vehicles go through speed bumps, potholes, swerve and can come to a halt abruptly. If you aren’t behind the wheels or even in the front passenger seat, you might be oblivious to those mentioned above.
Drinking tea in these conditions is a license for a big splash on your clothes. The ride may not always be smooth, and you never can tell what would cause a big shake.
Hold a napkin to your chin
Holding a napkin or piece of tissue underneath your chin whenever you take a sip can save your clothes from tea stains. Many can’t help but leak a few drops when taking tea, water, or any drink.
To avoid having your clothes ruined because of leaks, you can position a napkin just below your mouth so that those droplets can fall on it. Another option can be to fix a napkin on your shirt to allow the droplets to fall on them.
Tea stains aren’t uncommon; they can come in the form of a big splash or little splatters on your clothes and can happen anywhere. Knowing some DIY tricks that would help remove the stains and prevent your clothes from ruin whenever an incident occurs is pertinent. That being said, do well to enjoy taking your tea however you want it while also watching out for your clothes.
Jessica Oliver is a fashion enthusiast with more than ten years of experience in the industry. She previously managed her own clothing store in New York before becoming a mother of three. With a passion for sustainability and a desire to share clothing care and recycling tips.