Cleaning mold from a china teapot
August 1, 2014 8:24 PM   Subscribe

I accidentally left tea in my teapot, before going on vacation for a few weeks...I opened up the pot to find mold all over the surface of the tea and on the inside of the pot. Can I make it safe to make tea out of again, and what is the best way to clean it?
posted by noxperpetua to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If this is just a ceramic china teapot, I'd start by scrubbing with soap and water, then followed by a nice rinse with bleach, followed by another hot water and soap bath. Throw it in the dishwasher if it doesn't have gold leaf on it and isn't otherwise overly delicate. No biggie. I get mold in my tea devices all the time, I bleach and wash them and go back to making tea in them like normal. No ill effects after doing this my entire adult life.
posted by stewiethegreat at 8:31 PM on August 1, 2014

Yeah, this has happened a bunch of times to me, too. Scrub with soap and hot water, rinse with a little bleach, then more hot water or put it in the dishwasher if you have one. You haven't ruined it (though it might have some permanent tea stains).
posted by scody at 8:39 PM on August 1, 2014

I wouldn't even bother with the bleach, tbh. Just soap and hot water and a good scrubbing, 2-3 times. Maybe pour some boiling water in and let it stand for a bit.

Otherwise once through a dishwasher would be fine, really.
posted by elizardbits at 8:39 PM on August 1, 2014 [11 favorites]

There is a lower effort solution. Any shop that caters to homebrew beer folks will sell PBW. It's a crazy effective surfactant. Some of that, plus water, plus a few days - pot is clean without scratching or scrubbing. Then fill with clean water and boil to ensure it's good to re use.
posted by BrooksCooper at 9:03 PM on August 1, 2014

If you're concerned about mold spores clinging on to the tea stains in the nooks in crannies, fill it with water, throw in some baking soda, and let it soak for a while. Then give it a scrub-- the tea stains should come right off.
posted by WidgetAlley at 9:14 PM on August 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

This happens to me fairly often. I usually rinse out any gunk vigorously with water, then scrub (with my fingers) with baking soda mixed with just a little water (like a paste) and few drops of dish soap. Then I rinse with hot water thoroughly, maybe even swish some boiling water if I feel like it.
posted by dahliachewswell at 10:03 PM on August 1, 2014

Honestly just boiling water, kept boiling hot for a few minutes (and this is what teapots are for, after all) should sanitize just fine. Then normal soap, scrub and hot water.
posted by Mizu at 10:53 PM on August 1, 2014 [3 favorites]

You're fine. Just clean it the way you would normally clean a teapot. If it still smells funky, use one of the solutions suggested above.

Mold needs three things to live -- something to eat (your leftover tea), moisture (your leftover tea), and warmth (anyone's house this time of year unless they keep the place super-AC'd). Note that I didn't say spores. That's because really, spores are widely available. Spores are a given. It's food/moisture/warmth that mold needs to get going.

Keep away the moisture and food -- aka keep your teapot clean and dry -- and you'll be fine.

Of course, this calculation is different for porous surfaces. But this is a teapot. You'll be fine.
posted by pie ninja at 6:40 AM on August 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

Yeah, you don't need to do anything special here. Mold spores are everywhere in the air. Mold won't grow in a dry teapot. So you can't get rid of the source of the mold, but a very simple step will keep it from growing again. No need to get nutty with bleach or anything.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:05 PM on August 2, 2014

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