Should you practice teapot cleaning or not?
Some people think teapot cleaning is unnecessary and that it spoils the flavour of the tea. If they have traditional brown earthenware teapots they probably don’t see all the tannin stains on the inside. With a stainless steel teapot you see them all and they start to form very quickly from new, or after cleaning. Tannin makes a teapot look disgusting. Not something you want guests to see when you make them a cuppa, or when they make one for you.
Teapot cleaning can be avoided by keeping it clean. One way is to make sure it’s emptied and rinsed out immediately after use. Letting it stand with old tea in it until the next mash allows the tannin deposits to grow.
Teapot cleaning methods tried on my stainless steel teapot:
- Brute force with a green scouring pad (or wire wool). This can take a long, long time and uses a lot of human energy. I’ve usually given up before the job was done and settled for a teapot a little cleaner than when I started.
- I’ve filled a teapot with boiling water and added some Steradent (denture cleaning) tablets. This causes a great deal of effervescence and a general mess when the teapot overflows. Do it on the draining board. Remember to rinse the teapot well afterwards. With this method there is often little improvement after great effort. The effort is needed to clean up the mess.
- The best method I found is to put the teapot in the dishwasher. See more about this below.
Teapot Cleaning Using A Dishwasher
I was amazed when I first used a dishwasher to clean my Stainless Steel Teapot. When I took it out of the dishwasher it was like new. (You can see it here in the featured image.) All those chemicals used in a dishwasher and all that time on the most intensive wash really did the trick. I can’t vouch for less intensive washes since I rarely use them. I used an AEG Dishwasher F86050VI in this case.
However chemicals and time alone are not all that is required. Specific positioning within the dishwasher is required too. The image below shows my teapot positioned as I like it, upside down, in the lower basket of the dishwasher where the rectangular hole created by the basket wires is 9cm x 8cm. This is just right for the top of the teapot to ledge on. The lid fits over the adjacent hole in the wire basket. Wherever the teapot is positioned it’s important to ensure that the spout doesn’t hang down through the wire basket and fowl the motion of the spray arms. Note how this position aligns two jet holes in the spray arms to squirt into the teapot as they pass by and two more to squirt at the lid. Not that the lid gets very stained. Enlarge the image to see more detail.
Sometimes a little bit of elbow grease with a green scouring pad is needed to finish off the job, but any residue is usually loose and needs much less effort than when a teapot hasn’t been near a dishwasher. For anyone who has a very badly stained teapot they may have to put it in the dishwasher more than once at their first attempt. Hopefully they will see after the first wash that there has been an improvement which will encourage them to try a second wash. Good luck to those who try this method.
- The teapot lid in the featured image is not brown with tea stain. It’s reflecting the cherry-wood in the kitchen. The image has had its Gamma Correction expanded by a factor of 2.0 to brighten it up.