To clean or not to clean

Should you clean your teapot after every use or not?  There are those that believe – STRONGLY – that you should never clean out your teapot – that the tannin build up in the teapot adds to the flavours of the tea.  There are others that believe – STRONGLY – that by not cleaning your teapot, you will never have a clean and pure tasting cup of tea.  Our position on it is quite simple – it depends on whether you enjoy different types of tea or if you prefer drinking just one type.  If you do drink different types/categories of tea – white, green, oolong, etc – then we suggest either cleaning your teapot thoroughly, or keeping a different teapot for every different type of tea that you drink.  A white tea is far too smooth and delicate for example to be drinking out of a teapot with black tea tannin buildup.

What do you think?

16 replies on “To clean or not to clean”

Congratulations on a new blog. Looking forward to reading all the comments.
Personally I strongly prefer a clean tea pot. For a few reasons… I like my pot to be fresh for a pure cup of tea as you mentioned and I do drink different types of tea and don’t want the flavours to interfere; plus, I just believe it’s more hygienic to have clean teapots.

You bring up a good point about cleaning the tea pot so as not to contaminate the more delicate flavours of white or green tea with the residue from chai, berry or citrus blends. I haven’t washed my tea pot since I got it 6 years ago (because I was STRONGLY urged not to by friends) and I’m starting to taste a difference in my tea. So, I shall add a tea spoon of bleach to a full pot of water, swish it around for a few minutes and then rinse well.


RE: using bleach

Oh, yes, I let cold water run into and over the rim of my pot for five minutes. My tea tastes fabulous, now, but I think next time I’ll try baking soda, as you suggest. Not only is it probably better for the pot, it’s better for the environment.


My solution to this dilemma is to follow suggestions by my Chinese tea aficionados:

– Do clean the teapots.
– Use a different teapot for each tea type of tea, especially if you delight in the more delicate blends. In this way, you don’t have to use bleach and you can still enjoy the untainted aroma of each brew.
– And, you can admire your teapot collection as you’re sipping the fine brew.

I have always believed you should never clean your teapot but my wife cleans it with bleach every so often and you can taste the difference .We only use one type of black tea but I have taken the point about different types needing there own pot gotta go off out for a cuppa

I’ve just started drinking leaf tea after years of drinking teas made from teabags. I bought myself a pot and a tea strainer and all the other paraphanalia that I wanted. I have found that the tea is so much preferable when you take care over it and warm the pot first and all the other little things you do to make it ‘your’ tea, that make it taste so much better.

I’ve only been drinking Earl grey for the moment, and have not yet cleaned out my pot, but for Christmas I was given a selection of teas of different types, and I think cleaning it in between each type of tea would probably be a good idea.

I can’t get more teapots for the moment, I’m a student, and I don’t have the space (!), but I will as soon as I get the chance.

Teagan (from Cardiff, Wales)

P.S. Can you still buy tea cosies, or will I have to make one?

Welcome Teagan! I am so glad to hear that you are experiencing good tea – I can’t think of too many things better than a good cup of tea – nor can I think of too many things worse than a bad cup of tea. If you are enjoying different types, then yes, I would suggest cleaning the teapot. To your question about tea cosies – there are absolutely some great tea cosies out there. Depending on the style you’re looking for – I find one of a kind shows a great venue for some really original sytles with beautiful and modern fabrics. Good luck on your search!

Thought I’d check out your website, since I watched “Living in Toronto” yesterday and it seemed very interesting.
I always wash my teapots as I drink herbals, and my friends drink regular only. I have different sizes depending on how many people I have over.
If you use bleach to wash them, be sure to fill with boiling water maybe a couple times to rid the pot of the taste of any remaining bleach. If you don’t, it may cause ‘bathroom problems’.
Tea cosies are quite easy to make! There are many crochet and knitting patterns available on the web.

Hi Janet – welcome to our tea world! Sounds like you’re well versed on what works best for the teas that you drink. I’m not much of a sewer – but I think that cosies are quite easy to sew as well.

hi, i have been having a ‘discussion’ with my husband as to whether you clean your pot or not. i have never cleaned mine, and as we just got married he didn’t know any better and cleaned it after we used it!! much to my disgust. so, i thought i’d check out what others think on the cleaning issue! thanks for all your great input. i still stand with my view that the ‘uncleaned’ pot taste better!!



I am right down the middle on the issue of whether or not to clean teapots.

I will make tea (green, oolong, jasmine) a few times just rinsing the pot well afterwards, and drying it. Then I will give it a good cleaning. A Polident tablet (I buy them just for my teapots) dissolved in boiling water, left to sit awhile, and then rinsed very well does the job nicely.

Hi Sharon – you actually have a pretty clear technique. Because you’re making ‘lighter’ teas in your teapot (green, oolong and jasmine) – you can easily get away with rinsing the pot afterwards and then cleaning thoroughly occasionally the way that you are. I’m guessing that you’re not brewing any strong black teas in that same pot. Now Polident I have not heard of before for pot cleaning – I will have to give that one a try! You never stop learning!

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