A tea stain can seem like a terrible stain to try to get out of the T-shirt, but there are far worse stains that people are able to remove. A tea stain on a T-shirt does not have to mean that the T-shirt must be thrown away. There are many ways to get the stain out of the T-shirt and to get it looking the way it did before the tea was spilled. In other words, there’s no reason to cry over spilt tea.
One of the most important things to remember with any type of stain is to treat that stain as fast as you are able to treat it. That means getting to it quickly and treating it before it has the opportunity to set too deeply into the fabric. Once a stain gets set into the fabric, it becomes much more difficult to get it out again. If you have a stain that has not been on the T-shirt for very long, there’s a much higher chance of being able to get it out.
If the spill just happened, take off the T-shirt and rinse it with very cold water. If the stain is a small, you may be able to put water on the T-shirt while you are still wearing it. Otherwise, take it off and run it under the faucet or in a cold stream or whatever source of cold water is most convenient at the time. If you don’t have a source of cold water, use hot water if you have it. Hot water can have the unfortunate effect of setting the stain if the tea has been on the T-shirt for very long, however. So if it has been more than a few minutes since the tea was spilled, don’t try hot water.
A fresh stain will generally respond very well to cold water. If rinsing the T-shirt in cold water doesn’t get rid of the tea, try soaking it in a tub of cold water for several minutes. This should release much of the tea. If that still doesn’t work, use a laundry spray to try to lift the tea out of the T-shirt before it sets into the fabric. These sprays are high-powered detergents that will pre-treat the stain and lift much of it away before the T-shirt is washed. Once you have pretreated the stain according to the label of the spray, wash the T-shirt in the laundry as soon as possible.
Use cold water to wash the T-shirt, even if it looks like most of the tea stain has been taken out of the fabric. If there is any of the tea still left in the cotton, using warm or hot water can cause it to bind permanently to the fabric. This can make it impossible to remove the stain without using bleach. If the T-shirt is a plain white shirt, or if the tea lands on a plain white portion of the T-shirt, bleach is another alternative to getting the stain out. Using a small amount of bleach can lift the stain away and make the T-shirt look just the way it did before.