May 23rd, '13, 23:23
Posts: 13
Joined: May 22nd, '13

How do you keep tea stains off your white teaware?

by arcticfox » May 23rd, '13, 23:23

I'm finding that my white ceramic gaiwan stains very easily, and there's a ring of dark discoloration at water level after a couple of sessions. It's difficult to remove, too, without hard scrubbing with a rough sponge. I found it odd since the stains on the outside and saucer from drips and spills are very easy to rub off with my thumb. I'm hoping the harsh scrubbing isn't damaging the glaze.

User avatar
May 23rd, '13, 23:49
Posts: 5941
Joined: Jan 10th, '10
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Contact: debunix

How do you keep tea stains off your white teaware?

by debunix » May 23rd, '13, 23:49

I've recently started using baking soda, mostly just rubbed into a paste with my fingers, to keep glazed, unglazed, and glass teaware bright and clean. This was first suggested to me here on the forum, and it works brilliantly. No more bleach baths, no scrubbing to the point of dulling the finish.

User avatar
May 23rd, '13, 23:59
Mod/Admin
Posts: 22836
Joined: Apr 22nd, '06
Scrolling: scrolling
Location: Back in the TeaCave atop Mt. Fuji

Re: How do you keep tea stains off your white teaware?

by Chip » May 23rd, '13, 23:59

Glazed ceramic ... vinegar FTW! I fill it full strength and let it soak just a bit. I then reuse the vinegar on the next item needing cleaning.

I have noticed that sometimes these adhesions are actually small amounts of tea stained scale which would make removal harder than stains alone. The acid of vinegar seems to work wonders on scale and/or stains.

User avatar
May 24th, '13, 00:36
Posts: 482
Joined: Nov 13th, '12
Location: santa monica, california, usa
Contact: victoria3

Re: How do you keep tea stains off your white teaware?

by victoria3 » May 24th, '13, 00:36

I use a mix of baking soda and diluted vinegar and let it sit overnight. Love the fizz effect, plus the bubbly seems to work well.

May 24th, '13, 00:52
Posts: 13
Joined: May 22nd, '13

Re: How do you keep tea stains off your white teaware?

by arcticfox » May 24th, '13, 00:52

Wont the vinegar leave a smell?

User avatar
May 24th, '13, 01:05
Posts: 482
Joined: Nov 13th, '12
Location: santa monica, california, usa
Contact: victoria3

Re: How do you keep tea stains off your white teaware?

by victoria3 » May 24th, '13, 01:05

arcticfox wrote:Wont the vinegar leave a smell?

No the vinegar smell evaporates quickly. Just rinse with water and let it dry.

User avatar
May 24th, '13, 01:07
Mod/Admin
Posts: 22836
Joined: Apr 22nd, '06
Scrolling: scrolling
Location: Back in the TeaCave atop Mt. Fuji

Re: How do you keep tea stains off your white teaware?

by Chip » May 24th, '13, 01:07

... not if it is (non porous) glazed ...

User avatar
May 24th, '13, 01:13
Posts: 2066
Joined: Jan 11th, '07
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: How do you keep tea stains off your white teaware?

by wyardley » May 24th, '13, 01:13

Baking powder or baking soda work well. I try to make a medium thin paste - it doesn't need to be especially abrasive.

Melamine sponge will work as well, or a microfiber cloth.

You can reduce the staining if you clean the teaware with hot water fairly quickly after use, and dry upside-down, but eventually, some stains will build up.

User avatar
May 24th, '13, 10:42
Posts: 483
Joined: Jan 23rd, '07
Location: Philadelphia
Contact: Evan Draper

Re: How do you keep tea stains off your white teaware?

by Evan Draper » May 24th, '13, 10:42


User avatar
May 24th, '13, 12:08
Posts: 2066
Joined: Jan 11th, '07
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: How do you keep tea stains off your white teaware?

by wyardley » May 24th, '13, 12:08

Evan Draper wrote:https://twitter.com/TheTeaUrchin/status/283456496598122496

Yeah, my wife's approach to porcelain maintenance is sometimes similar:
Image

User avatar
May 24th, '13, 12:13
Posts: 719
Joined: Feb 12th, '13
Location: South Bronx, NYC
Contact: futurebird

Re: How do you keep tea stains off your white teaware?

by futurebird » May 24th, '13, 12:13

I guess an advantage of yixing clay is you never really know how dirty it is...

I'm fanatical about porcelain but I use it for all kinds of tea from sencha to puerh... so yeah, no hope of the patina being anything but very strange.

User avatar
May 24th, '13, 15:59
Posts: 1390
Joined: May 27th, '09

Re: How do you keep tea stains off your white teaware?

by teaisme » May 24th, '13, 15:59

certain waters cause staining much faster and deeper then others
like Chip subtly pointed out, usually the waters that leave more scale also leave more stains

Somewhere in there I feel like pH plays a role along with the hardness but its a mystery to me

I simple microfiber cloth or rougher thicker cotton material cloth for drying makes everything new looking after a good rinse and brisk finger scrub/rinse

cleaning teaware right after use also helps minimize

User avatar
May 24th, '13, 21:05
Posts: 5941
Joined: Jan 10th, '10
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Contact: debunix

Re: How do you keep tea stains off your white teaware?

by debunix » May 24th, '13, 21:05

teaisme wrote:certain waters cause staining much faster.....
cleaning teaware right after use also helps minimize


This is where I have trouble in the work setting--limited access to a sink, often need to drink and run, and hard LA tap water: it's a perfect storm for rapid development of stains on teaware.

May 25th, '13, 13:53
Posts: 13
Joined: May 22nd, '13

Re: How do you keep tea stains off your white teaware?

by arcticfox » May 25th, '13, 13:53

I tried the baking soda today, and it worked like a charm. Just gentle rubbing with my fingers took off all the stains.

I haven't heard of cultivating a patina on teaware other than zi sha clay. Is this a common thing? Does it actually add anything to the tea?

May 26th, '13, 00:52
Posts: 748
Joined: Aug 1st, '12
Location: Bangkok

Re: How do you keep tea stains off your white teaware?

by theredbaron » May 26th, '13, 00:52

arcticfox wrote:I tried the baking soda today, and it worked like a charm. Just gentle rubbing with my fingers took off all the stains.

I haven't heard of cultivating a patina on teaware other than zi sha clay. Is this a common thing? Does it actually add anything to the tea?


Accumulated scale on clay kettles can be very beautiful. Hagi turns over time very nice, when tea perforates the clay, and the whole piece changes with the crackles getting more visible. Also Shigaraki turns more beautiful the more you use it. Many Japanese unglazed pots also turn more dark and shiny with use.

On porcelain cups or plates i usually clean them with hot water right after drinking, and wipe them with a tissue or towel. That slows down the build up of tea stains. Once a while, very rarely, i use a mild and un-perfumed detergent and rub the stains off with a sponge, and then use lots of water to wash the detergent off. I don't think that something aggressive like bleach or baking soda is really needed, unless you have an old pot that has decades of accumulated dust and dirt you have to get rid off.
Tea ware with more porous glaze such as hagi i never use anything other than hot water on - stains or no stains.

+ Post Reply