Stain Removal: It’s Our Cup of Tea

Infuse the dried leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant in boiling water for approximately three minutes before straining. Sweeten with honey or sugar and add the juice of a lemon, or cow’s milk, to taste.

This might seem like the sort of advice that was once handed out by a medieval quack, but it’s in fact simple instructions for making a cup of tea! Tea is the second most consumed beverage in the entire world (after plain water), and for good reason: it tastes good, wakes you up, refreshes you, and contains lots of antioxidants to keep you young.

Tea also has the ability to stain pretty much anything it gets in to contact with because it contains a high concentration of tannins – a type of vegetable fibre. Because of this, tea has been used throughout history to dye and stain wood, paper and clothing. Unfortunately, a momentary lapse of concentration can lead to an unintentional dye-job with anything your tea comes into contact with!


The reason that tea and other hot beverages can create such difficult stains comes down to their chemical makeup. These warm liquids are made up of very stable spherical molecules, which proceed to evaporate in a regular pattern, from the outside in. This means that their tannins remain in the centre, leaving them all in one place as a concentrated stain on the clothes fibres, thus making them very difficult to get out.

What can I do?

If you spill some tea on your clothing, don’t panic. Although it may be more stubborn than some other clothes stains, if you react quickly you should have no problem getting it out. First, run the material under a warm tap (cold will just help the stain to set) from the back of the stain, so it can exit the way it came in, rather than being pushed further in to the fabric. Once the majority of the stain has faded, then massage some Resolve® Oxi-Action into the area, before leaving it for a few minutes to get to work. Once you’ve done this, wash the garment as you would normally, with a scoop of Resolve as well as your regular detergent, and the stain will be removed without leaving so much as a trace.

So put the kettle on, put your feet up, and like 70,000 other people in the world every second, enjoy a nice cup of tea – but without having to worry about any spillages!