How do I remove Black Tea that I just spilled on my beige sweater

Question: I just spilled Black Tea on my beige sweater that is 70% silk, 20% cotton and 10% acrylic. The care label says to dry clean only. What should I do?


Black Tea or any Tea stain for that matter is a Tannin type stain made from plant matter. Tannin stains will set and age over time and become difficult to remove so it is extremely important to treat the stain as soon as possible. If you just spilled the tea and its still wet or moist the chances are you can flush most of the stain out with a little warm water. Flush the area if it’s a small stain or soak, hand wash and hang to dry if it’s a large stain.

Since your sweater is beige and of mix fibers with the most sensitive material being silk its fine to wet it without causing much damage. Being beige there is no color to fade so you can use a pH neutral soap on the stain if necessary. The silk and cotton will shrink if its exposed to excess moisture, heat and agitation so hand wash and hang to dry should not cause too much of a problem other than a wrinkled mess that an iron and 15 minutes of patients can’t take care of. If the material is stiff after it dries, take the sweater and tumble it in the dryer without heat for about 20 minutes to soften it.

With any garment it is important to evaluate the color, material, finish and design before attempting any cleaning of the garment. Always test the color for fading or bleeding and remember that moisture, heat and agitation are the main factors that causing shrinkage so eliminating one or more of these three factors will greatly reduce the amount of shrinkage.

Karl Huie

Pacific Heights Cleaners

Service with Pride since 1969, providing you a non toxic alternative, using a environmentally friendly green dry cleaning system.

The First Dry Cleaners to be Green Business Certified by San Francisco Environment and Bay Area Green Business Program Marin County.

Other Articles of Interest:

How to Care for Your Dark Color Garments

How do I set the dye on a black jacket?

How to remove blood stains using green products

Can I Wash Dry Clean Only Pant?

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