Cooking Tips and Questions - cleaning tea strainers

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02-20-2009, 09:48 PM
For those of you that drink loose-leaf tea, how do you clean the tea strainer? I have a small metal tea strainer (similar to this one ( from When I use it, it very quickly gets discolored from either the tea or the minerals in our water (we have very hard water). The discoloration bothers me; I hate feeling like I'm soaking a dirty utensil in my cup of tea.

But it's virtually impossible to clean. I've tried soaking it in mixture of vinegar and water and that did nothing. If I scrub it really really hard with an abrasive sponge, I can get some of the discoloration off, but I can't get the stuff in the cracks and crevices and I still can't get it back to the bright and sparkling color it was when it was new.

Is there a better way to be cleaning the tea strainer? Should I stop being such a freak about it (my SO thinks I'm nuts)? Is there a better tool that I could be using to strain my tea?

02-20-2009, 09:54 PM
There are stainless tea spoons and infusers (, but my favorite way to strain loose leaf tea is by using a ceramic strainer - no metallic taste.
This ( was my Christmas present to myself.

02-20-2009, 10:02 PM
Does the porcelain stainer work well? I've seen them, but I like my tea really strong--I like to let the tea steep for a while. Since the porcelain stainers have such small holes compared to the mesh strainer, I didn't think it would work as well.

02-20-2009, 10:06 PM
I think it works better, actually. Since it sits down in the water, the tea has plenty of room to mingle with the leaves. They swell up quite large, taking up more space than in a traditional infuser.

I am very pleased with it :)

And now, I'm in the mood for a cup of tea ;)

02-20-2009, 10:41 PM
I say stop worrying about it... tea stains stuff. You can try soaking in diluted bleach to whiten it but its not really dirty, its just stained.

Suzanne 3FC
02-20-2009, 10:50 PM
How about a toothbrush and baking soda paste? Though I agree that tea stains will be tea stains :)

My favorite teapot/strainer ( has a nylon mesh strainer that pops out so it can be scrubbed. It stays stained, but I'm ok with it. I give it a good baking soda scrubbing if I've used it a few times for strongly flavored teas such as jasmine or mint.

02-21-2009, 07:28 AM
Like Suzanne, I use a teapot with the nylon strainer.

It is a Bodum Assam teapot (comes in different sizes) and has a plunger that traps the tea leaves when your brew is the desired strength. It is very easy to clean and I haven't had any staining problems. I really love it. :)

p.s. My secret santa got it from Amazon.

02-21-2009, 09:54 AM
Another suggestion is to just use paper tea filters (like an open top tea bag). I have some of the natural brown ones (unbleached). Very convenient. The ones I use (T-Sac) come in different sizes, so your tea leaves would have plenty of room to steep.

For some reason I can't do a quick post with a link, otherwise I'd have included one.

04-27-2009, 10:46 PM
denture cleaning tablets, the fizzy ones. they work like a charm.

04-28-2009, 03:34 PM
I have some denture tablets on hand at home to clean my night guard. I'll have to bring some to work to clean out my ceramic tea mug - regular dish liquid isn't doing the job.

We used to have packets of stuff at work that was used to clean the glass coffee carafes and that worked really well on my tea-stained mug - heaven knows what chemical made that work so well. We don't have the carafes or the packets at work anymore.