5 tips to cleaning your tea accessories

I love drinking tea, but like most people I hate the washing up that comes with using anything in the kitchen. When it comes to tea, there are essential things to keep in mind to take care of your tea accessories.

1. Don’t use bleach

If you take nothing else away from this post, remember this: never use bleach. It doesn’t matter if it’s the cups, mugs, teapot, infusers or caddies (the official name of tea tins), just don’t do it. Bleach is a very strong chemical – which is why it’s useful to clean the sink – but it’s so harsh that any small traces left will substantially affect your tea drinking experience. I know what you’ll say though: how do I tackle really tough tea stains then?

2. Get rid of the stains the natural way

I love tea (as you’ve probably figured by now), but I hate that sometimes it stains everything in site and it takes more than water and a good scrub with washing up liquid to get rid of it. The good news is that there is a natural way to get rid of those nasty stains that won’t leave any traces which could affect your tea!

Simply mix one teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda with a teaspoon of lemon juice and leave it to soak for 5 minutes. (These quantities are good for a cup or mug, but you will need more for a teapot, depending on its size.) This concoction will clean the stain from the bottom of the mug and then just use the liquid inside to wash the walls of the cup with a sponge. Rinse and you’re done!

Stained tea cup
Stained teacup
Bicarbonate of soda and lemon juice bubbling away
Bicarbonate of soda and lemon juice bubbling away
Clean teacup
Rinsed and clean. You can even see the water drops!

3. Get rid of smells with coffee

This tip is for tea tins (or caddies) more than anything else. Has it ever happened to you that you’ve finished a tea but then would love to keep the tin for a different blend? I do it all the time. But some blends are quite strong in their aroma so it takes more than a rinse and wash to get rid of it. In fact, I’d recommend not to wash it at all! Unless you’re 100% sure you have got rid of 100% of the moisture from every crevice, you risk contaminating the tea and making it mouldy.

Instead, empty the tea of all its contents and put enough coffee in the tin to cover the bottom. Instant coffee, ground coffee or beans all work. Leave it for a week (or forget about it for ages like I do) and then bin the coffee. The tin will be smell-free ready for your next favourite blend.

4. Use a spout cleaner

I’ve been drinking tea for years, but it’s not until last year that I bought some spout cleaners and I don’t know why I didn’t do it earlier. You can find a cheap selection of sizes on Amazon or in your nearest kitchen shop. I bought these from Steamer Trading for about £3.

Just use water and rub up and down inside the spout and all stains will be gone in seconds.

Spout cleaners
My spout cleaning brushes

5. Rinse infusers just with water

By now, you’ve probably got the gist of it. Avoid chemicals wherever possible and rinse with water. But while this is easy when you’ve just had a cup of tea, a mug that has been on your desk for a while won’t be that easy to clean so you’ll need some washing up liquid.

Where I would insist, however, not to use anything but water is for your infuser. I know, it will stain and it will be annoying but water will clean it just fine. The problem is that the mesh or little holes are so fine that it’s not worth risking to ruin your tea by having chemicals trapped in there. Use it for as long as you can and then combine bicarbonate and lemon juice like above to restore it.

Hope it helps!

Until next time,

Anca

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