Does Black Tea Stain Clothes?

  • By: Tiffany Peris
  • Time to read: 10 min.
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For most people, the first thing they have to do after waking up is to have a cup of black tea. But what do you do if the black tea accidentally spills on your clothes? If you haven’t dealt with black tea stain clothes before and you spill the tea on your clothes, you may wonder whether to wash the garment right away or wait for the stain to dry and wash it later.

Black tea stains clothes because it contains tannin. The tanning in black tea creates a colorfast yellowish stain on many fabrics. To effectively remove black tea stains on clothes, you should immediately wash the stain with running water and laundry detergent. Lemon juice, baking soda, and distilled white vinegar can be used to treat stubborn black tea stains.

In this article, you will find out why black tea stains clothes. In addition, different methods that can be used to remove black tea stains from clothes are discussed. Lastly, you will learn how to get black tea stains out of colored or white clothes.

Does Black Tea Stain Clothes?

Black tea stains clothes because it contains tannin. The tannins are chemical compounds present in different plant-based foods and beverages, including tea. In black tea, tannins make the tea dry, add the bitter flavor, and offer the tea amber, red, or dark brown color.

The stain caused by black tea on clothes is colorfast. Thus, even if tea dissolves in water, the black tea stain will not be removed by simply washing the stained clothing with water. However, if you blot the stains before tanning set on the fibers of your clothing, you will be able to get the stain out of your clothing effectively.

While compared to other tea, black tea leaves the most stains on clothes since it has the highest percentage of tannins. Indeed, black tea has 11.76 to 15.14 percent tannins, while green tea has 2.65 to 3.11 percent tannins.

It is also important to point out that since you can drink black tea when it is hot or cold, the tea temperature when it is spilled on your clothes will determine the scope of tea stains on your clothes and how easy it will be for you to remove the stains.

When hot black tea spills on your clothes, you will notice that the clothes will be quickly stained since the heat from the tea will swiftly relax the fibers of your clothes. As a result, the stain removal process will also be challenging and time-consuming.

Are Black Tea Stains Permanent?

Even if some stains can be permanent, what you do once your clothes have been stained is what determines whether the stains will be permanent or not. Specifically, if you remove the stains immediately after your clothes have been stained, you will most of the time be able to prevent the stain from being permanent stained.

In most cases, black tea stains are not permanent when treated immediately. However, take note that if you wait for a long time after black tea has stained your clothes, it will be hard for you to get the stain out of the clothes. Thus, if you have an old black tea stain, the best way to remove the stain might be to bleach your clothes.

However, when using bleach to remove tea stains from your clothes, you must make sure that you use the suitable bleach since if the wrong bleach is used, you will most likely ruin your clothes.

For white clothes that have been stained by black tea, chlorine bleach should be used. On the other hand, color-safe bleach has to be used for colored clothes stained by black tea.

When using bleach to remove black tea stains on your clothes, note that chlorine bleach should never be used on synthetic fabrics such as nylon and polyester. If the clothes stained by black tea are made of synthetic fabrics, you should use an oxygen-based bleach. Read the care tag on your clothing to find out the fabric of your stained clothing.

How To Remove A Black Tea Stain Using Bleach?

Bleach is one of the most effective products for removing black tea stains. However, before using bleach, ensure that you first read the care tag and only proceed to use bleach after confirming that your clothes can be bleached.

Here is how to use bleach to remove black tea stains from your clothes:

1. Ensure that you have the correct type of bleach for the stained clothes. For colored garments, use color-safe bleach. For whites, use chlorine bleach.

2. Check your care label to confirm that it’s okay to bleach your clothes.

3. Rinse the stained garment with cold running water to remove any black tea stain that has not been set in the fabric. Ensure that you do not wring the clothing since that can set the stain in the fabric.

4. If you have a tiny spot of the stain and the stained clothing is white, you might consider using a bleach pen. However, for more prominent stains, you have to bleach the clothing.

5. To remove large stains, mix water and bleach as per the bleach packaging guidelines.

6. Immerse the stained clothing in the solution of bleach and water. Ensure that the garment is fully immersed in the solution.

7.  Leave the stained garment in the solution for 20 minutes.

8. After 20 minutes, take the garment out of the solution and check whether the stain has been removed. If the stain is still there, soak the garment again in the solution for 20 minutes. Repeat the process until the stain is completely removed.

9. Wash the clothing in the washer and use a dryer once you are sure that the black tea stain has been removed.

Does Black Tea Come Out Of Clothes?

The reason why black tea stains clothes are because it has a high percentage of tannins. Over the years, tannin from other sources has been used to dye cellulose fibers. Thus, if the black tea stain on clothes is not immediately removed and is allowed to be set in the fabric, the dye can be tough to remove.

Black tea stains can be effectively removed when treated with the right products with stain removal properties. However, for you to be able to remove black tea stains effectively, you must remove the stain as soon as black tea spills on your fabric.

How to Remove Black Tea Stains From Clothing7 Methods

As with other stains, the sooner you remove black tea stains on your clothes, the easier it will be for you to remove the stain. If you allow the stain to set on your clothing, it might be hard to remove it.

When removing black tea stains from clothes, ensure that you only wash the stained garment in the washing machine after removing the stains. If you wash the stained clothing when the stain is not entirely removed, the heat and agitation inside the washing machine during the wash cycle will set the stain on the fabric and make it almost impossible to remove it.

Different household products can be used to remove black tea stains from clothes effectively. Here are the other methods you can use to remove the stains on your clothes successfully.

1. White Vinegar

Vinegar has different acids that make it a good stain remover. Indeed, apart from removing black tea stains, vinegar can also be used to remove green tea stains, coffee stains, and wine stains, among others.

When using vinegar to remove stains, ensure that you use white distilled vinegar. Brown, red, apple cider, or any other vinegar with a dye should never be used. Even if the vinegar removes black tea stains, it will discolor your garment and leave you with the problem of finding out how to fix the discoloration.

1. Wet the stained part of the clothing with cold running water. This process is critical since it ensures that the running water will wash away some of the black tea stains that are yet to be set on the fabric.

2. Lay the stained garment on a flat surface so that the stained part will be at the top.

3. Soak the stain with vinegar and let the vinegar sit for 30 minutes. If you have a bigger stain, you can mix vinegar with water in a bucket and soak the stained part in the solution for 30 minutes.

4. Use running water to rinse vinegar.

5. Check to confirm that the stain is gone. If not, repeat the process.

6. Wash the stained garment as you usually do.

2. Lemon Juice

As a citric fruit, lemon juice is rich in citric acid. When the acid from lemon juice comes into contact with the black tea stains, it will break down the stain molecules and get out the stain.

When using lemon juice to remove black tea stain or any other type of stain, always ensure that you don’t leave lemon juice on the fabric for a long time since if it is left for a long time, the lemon juice can bleach your clothes.

1. If you are using fresh lemon juice from a lemon, cut the lemon into two halves and directly squeeze the juice onto the stain. If you are using lemon juice from the shops, pour the juice onto the stain so that the stain is soaked with lemon juice.

2. Allow the lemon juice to sit on the stain for one minute.

3. Use running water to rinse lemon juice from the clothing.

4. Check to see whether the stain has been removed. If not, repeat the process.

5. Wash the clothing in the washing machine.

3. Commercial Stain Removers

One of the best methods to remove different types of stains on clothes is to use commercial stain removers. The stain removers are formulated with other potent chemicals to remove various stains.

However, before using stain removers to remove black tea stain, you must confirm that you are using the proper stain remover. For black tea stains, oxidizing stain remover should be used.

One of the best oxidizing stain removers that would remove the black tea stain is OxiClean. The manufacturer of this specific stain remover has, over the years, marketed different types of stain removers for removing various stains.

To use a commercial stain remover, you need to follow the instructions provided in the packaging of the stain remover. The drawback to using this method is that if you do not have stain remover in your house, you will have to buy one, taking more time and money.

4. Baking Soda

Due to its absorbent properties, baking soda is an effective stain remover. Specifically, when baking soda is introduced to a stain, it reacts with the stain and pulls out the stains from the fabric.

Here is how to use baking soda to remove black tea stains from clothes:

1. Wet the stain under running water.

2. Lay the stained garment on a flat surface.

3. Mix water and baking soda to create a thick paste.

4. Apply the paste on top of the stain so that the stain will be completely covered with baking soda.

5. Leave the baking soda paste to sit for 12 hours. After 12 hours, the paste will have dried to a white layer.

6. Remove the dried baking soda paste and confirm that the stain is gone.

5.  Laundry Detergent

Laundry detergent has special chemicals responsible for removing stains from clothes so that the stains can be easily washed away. Thus, you can use laundry detergent to remove black tea stains.

Take note that black tea stains will not get out by washing the stains in a washer and using laundry detergent. The only way you will be able to get the stains by using laundry detergent is by first treating the stain with laundry detergent.

To use laundry detergent to remove black tea stain, you need to:

1. Wet the stain under hot running water so that any stains that have not been set will be washed away.

2. Apply laundry detergent on top of the stain.

3. Using a soft bristle brush, an old toothbrush, or your fingers, work the detergent into the stain. Continue working the detergent until the stains are lifted from your clothing.

4. Rinse the laundry detergent with hot running water.

5. Wash the clothing in the washer as you usually do.

6. Dish Soap

When you have stains on your clothing, one of the household products you should consider using to remove the stain is dish soap. All dish soaps are specifically formulated with the property to break up grease and any dirt with foamy suds. Thus, you can use dish soap to remove black tea stains effectively.

1. Wet the stain under running water.

2. Squeeze a few droplets of the dish soap directly onto the stain.

3. Use your fingers or a soft-bristle brush to rub the dish soap into the stain.

4. Work the dish soap until you notice that the stain has been removed.

5. Rince dish with running water.

6. Wash the garment as usual.

7. Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is mainly used to offer first aid. However, since it is a mixture of water and oxygen molecules, it has an oxidizing effect and can thus be used to remove black tea stains from clothes.

However, when using hydrogen peroxide to remove black tea stains, please note that it might discolor black garments. To avoid discoloration of your clothing, you should first spot test hydrogen peroxide and only proceed to use it once you have confirmed that it will not ruin your clothing.

1. Mix hydrogen peroxide with water in a bucket. The correct ratio should be ½ cup of hydrogen peroxide to 1 cup of water.

2. Soak the stained garment in the solution of water and hydrogen peroxide. Ensure that the stained part of the clothing is fully submerged in the solution.

3. Let the clothing soak for 2 – 3 hours.

4. Check the clothing to confirm that stain is removed. If not, repeat the process.

5. Wash-stained clothing as usual.


Black tea stains can be stressful, especially if the tea spills on your favorite clothing item. To remove the stains, you should always remove them when they are still fresh. However, since that is not always possible, you can use any of the seven methods described in this article to treat and remove black tea stains on your clothes effectively.