Cleaning your teapot - do you?

My favorite teapot (Chatsford) is looking a bit grungy inside. I’ve been told not to clean it, that the brown layer is ‘seasoning’, but wanted a second opinion.

When is it OK to clean a teapot?

Is seasoning reserved for unglazed pots? – or do glazed pots (inside glazed) benefit from going unwashed? What about glass? Metal? Iron?

What soaps/abrasives/solutions are OK – what methods?

22 Replies
Uniquity said

Personally, I think it is up to you whether/how often/how abrasively you clean your teapot. Mine gets a rinse before and after every steep and occasionally a more thorough scrubbing with dish soap and hot water. It is clear glass and doesn’t really build up much, though my metal infuser could do with a good vinegar soak. Maybe I’ll get to that tonight.

As for products, vinegar or lemon juice on their own or with baking soda work well. Jessie started a thread recently recommeding Cream of Tartar as well, if you’re looking for ‘homemade’ cleaning products. I’d do a couple rinses with boiling water afterward to get rid of any possible smell or taste.

Of course there are also commercials dish-soaps and stain removers…I’m a little more leery of these products and stick to a theoretically “green” dish-soap, but that’s just preference. I also recommend rinsing with hot or boiling water after using these, but I don’t know that it’s necessary.

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ssajami said

My favorite white pot had that brown layer inside, and to me it didn’t seem “seasoned”, it just seemed stained. Try the cream of tartar! It took it all right off. The only pot you should never clean with any soap or other other solutions is a Yixing clay pot.

:D I’m with you.

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Angrboda said

What’s your pot made of? If it’s unglazed, then yes, that would be seasoning because the tea seeps into the clay as you use it. This, however, is only really ideal if you use the pot for one sort of tea only. Otherwise you’ll just get taste contamination out of it. Maybe not a lot, maybe not even detectable, but still.

If it’s not unglazed, then the ‘never clean a teapot’ business is, I’m afraid, a bit of a myth. That layer of asphalt on the inside isn’t actually the tea, it’s primarily the tannins in the tea and the only thing they add to the pot, as far as I’m aware, is a dirty look.

For me, though, a certain amount of ‘dirty’, a certain amount of patina in the pot adds character to it. I like that you can see that it’s been well used, and it makes it all the more satisfying when I do give it a good clean and make it all white and shiny on the inside again.

Some poeple think that the tannic acid build up on the inside also affects the flavour of the tea in a positive way, but since tannic acid is part of what makes a tea astringent in flavour or even give a bitter note to some, so if it makes a difference that really rather depends on how you like your tea.

Personally I can’t tell any difference in flavour with or without. I’ve never met anybody who (prooved they) could.

Basically, other people can’t dictate whether or not you should clean your tea things of tannin stains so long as you’re not doing anything directly damaging to the pot, like for example cleaning agents of any sort in an unglazed pot (tea not being the only thing that can seep into the clay)

Uniquity said

My grandmother recently bestowed upon me a wonderful yellow (Aladdin-esque) teapot that she received 63 years ago when she got married. This thing is crazed all over with tea stains and the wear of time. It’s (obviously) the most ‘used’ looking teapot I own and I LOVE it. Of course I am also terrified to break it with boiling water as it looks like it might shatter into a million pieces, but that’s another point altogether.

Angrboda said

Yes, that’s the sort of ‘character’ I mean. :)

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So, it appears my Chatsford needs a bath. Any thoughts on putting a glazed ceramic teapot through the dishwasher? Uber-clean but bleach remnants??

Angrboda said

I put mine in the dishwasher, although I wouldn’t say it gets uber-clean if it doesn’t get some baking powder, boiling water and gentle wiping first.

If you are concerned about left over remnants you can always give it a good rinse through before you make tea in it again. I haven’t had trouble with soap remnants in mine though. If there was, I reckon I would see that on all the other things as well, plates and such.

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I put my Chatsford through the dishwasher once a week. Cleans it right up:)

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Dorothy said

I use a lot of different tea in my teapots, so I clean them by hand each night (it takes like 1 minute so why not?). Although with my glass teapot and ceramic gaiwan I just use a bit of boiling water and wipe it down. When the spout gets grungy I use a q-tip to scrub it out.

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I put my pots through the dishwasher all the time. But be sure to rinse afterwards, sometimes there can be leftover food build-up that is not good tea-making.

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MegWesley said

It depends on what sort of tea I am making a lot. Right now I am making a lot of herbal teas, so I don’t mind letting it sit unwashed right now. I can’t detect a flavor difference in my herbals and I have had a busy week/weekend. Every once in a while, I swish it with a little hot water before brewing in it since it is being used every day. It is due for a cleaning either tomorrow or Thursday though.

If I am making a lot of black teas, I would probably clean it out every night just to keep things nice. My teapot is a little glazed ceramic red one and I like keeping it clean. It makes my inner-mostly-hidden-clean-freak happy.

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DaisyChubb said

Yep I’m about the same – I have a glazed ceramic tea pot (clear glass teapot on my wishlist haha) and I give it a rinse after every tea. I rarely give it a good wash, but lately I have been leaving teabags in the pot with the water while my pot is in the fridge for iced tea, so sometimes after sitting in the fridge with the same type of tea in there I give it a better wash.

[/unhelpful] haha

Uniquity said

If you have a Stokes in your neck of the woods, that is where I got my glass teapot for around $25. They usually have a couple solid options, and in the 20 to 30 dollar price range. I t use the lid without the infuser. Then I just cover the top with what I can find to keep heat in :D)

DaisyChubb said

Thanks! I’m trying to think if I have a Stokes, and I think I might even have one in the mall close to my work! I’ll def check it out at lunch tomorrow, if it’s the store I’m thinking of, they always have some sort of awesome sale on :D You’re a pro at hooking me up with awesome tea stuff

Uniquity said

Stokes’ tend to be in malls…I LOVE them. They almost always have things on sale or extra discount, plus it’s a whole store of stuff to help make better food! It’s nice having Canadian tea friends, because you have the same stores. : )

DaisyChubb said

Yay Canada tea buddies!
I guess the only bad thing about it is I can’t excite you with a bunch of DavidsTEa samples in the mail haha

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DukeGus said

Usually I clean my gaiwan and cups with a wet towel. If I had a yixing teapot I wouldn’t clean it or anything else unglazed.
When I clean my utensils that means that someone else is going to drink tea with me, I never do it when I drink tea alone :)

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