Strainers are an integral component of the tea brewing process. A tea strainer or tea infuser is for the fundamental purpose of straining out the tea leaves from the tea.
When you prepare tea using tea leaves, it’s difficult to avoid staining the tea strainer ball or tea strainer cup. The strainer becomes tea-stained over time and dirty-looking. Of course, the intensity of the tea stain largely depends on how frequently you use the strainer to brew tea.
But before diving into the methods to clean your tea strainer, let’s look at the consequences of a stained tea strainer.
Consequences of a stained tea strainer
A discolored tea strainer due to tea-stained will often look dirty and unsightly. It seems out of place and doesn’t match the beauty of your cup of tea.
Besides, the use of a stained tea strainer may be detrimental to your health. The tea may taste different, and it may contain unknown chemical substances. These can have likely side effects on your health.
A plastic strainer is inexpensive, but it may leach out harmful chemicals when using very hot brewing water. Also, it’s not long-lasting and gets stained quite quickly. The best option is to use a metal strainer such as made of stainless or other metals.
Therefore, it’s essential to frequently clean your strainer for a perpetually healthy tea brewing experience.
Both the type and severity of the stain on your strainer will determine the way you should clean it. Apart from the simple wash and rinse, the daily use of the other ways to clean it is not encouraged. This because as they can damage the strainer over time.
Five methods to clean your tea strainer
1. Wash and Rinse
It’s by far the best and easiest way to clean your tea strainer when it’s still new and stain-free. Be sure to use this method after each tea brewing session, especially for a new strainer.
Immediately after drinking your tea, wash and rinse the strainer thoroughly with clean water. Doing this will prevent your strainer from staining with tea. Also, you’ll avoid having to frequently clean it with other more elaborated methods.
We need to understand that stains are the result of leaving the tea strainer unwashed for too long. It’s an ideal condition for the tea remnant to chemically react with the strainer surface and making de-staining difficult.
2. Use Sodium Bicarbonate or Baking Soda
Baking soda is a leavening agent in the baking of cakes as well as a cleaning agent. As a cleansing agent, you can use it to clean many things, including metallic and plastic stuff. Therefore, it’s ideal for cleaning tea strainers made of stainless steel and brass.
All you need to do is to prepare a solution by dissolving some baking soda in warm water and then putting the strainer immersed in it for a couple of hours. After that, gently brush off the stain and wash it properly. This way, you can remove the more stubborn stains easily.
3. Use Alcoholic Solution
Alcohol contains properties that are effective in removing stains and other harmful substances. Therefore, you can use an alcoholic solution to clean your tea strainer. Just add alcohol to water in a ratio of 1:4 and let the strainer stays immersed overnight. Then rinse it clean with water. You’ll notice that most of the stains have gone.
Nevertheless, if the stains are less intense and not widespread, then you can try this with lesser alcohol: First, wash the strainer with water. Secondly, apply the alcoholic solution over the stains and leave it for a few hours. Lastly, wash off the alcoholic solution, and you’ll see a much cleaner strainer.
4. Rigorous brushing
This method is only suitable for strainers made from stainless steel or other metals. However, you can’t clean plastic tea strainers using this method.
Firstly, hold the stainless steel strainer with a clamp and heat it over a flame for 3 to 5 minutes. Ensure that you wear a cotton glove while holding the clamp to avoid getting your hand scorched.
Secondly, put off the flame and brush the strainer with an old toothbrush. Using the toothbrush, brush the mesh thoroughly to clean and remove all stains.
Lastly, wash and rinse it clean with water. This method is more likely to make your strainer look new and free of stains.
The reason why you cannot clean plastic strainers using this method is that you cannot heat a strainer over a flame.
This method requires bleach to clean your tea strainer. Dissolve some bleach in water in the same manner as using the baking soda method. But the water you use must be hot so that you can remove the stains more effectively.
Immerse the strainer in the hot bleach-water solution for a couple of minutes. It’s very potent and highly reactive, so it’s unnecessary to let the strainer stays immersed for too long. After which, use an old toothbrush to gently brush off the stains from the strainer; and wash and rinse it thoroughly with water to wash off any remnant solution.
Three tips to maintaining a stain-free strainer
You can avoid having to go through any of the 5 methods to clean a stained tea strainer by following these 3 tips.
- Always remember to wash your strainer with water immediately after using it.
- Regularly clean your tea strainer using either baking soda or alcohol to prevent any on-set of deep staining, say once a week.
- You can opt for stainless steel tea strainers instead of plastic strainers as stains on the latter tend to remain permanent over time.
Keeping your tea strainers clean and stain-free is an integral part of maintaining good hygiene and must be taken seriously. Besides, if your strainer has become too old, consider replacing it with a new one instead of still using it “beyond” its serviceability lifespan. Lastly, you can choose any of the 5 methods to clean your strainer based on which best suits you.
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