We all like to think our homes are clean and free of dirt, but the inside of the teapot is one place that we rarely look. Have and peek inside yours, and you might be surprised by what you see.
The brown marks inside a teapot are mostly a combination of two things: a) staining from the tea that has marked the teapot itself and b) tea stains that have impregnated the build-up of limescale deposits.
The outside of your teapot can just be cleaned as normal, and buffed with a dry cloth. Don't use polish, especially on the handle, as it could make it slippery to hold, which can be dangerous.
You can try one or more of these things to get the marks out of the inside of the teapot:
• Baby sterilizing fluid or tablets, such as Milton fluid. Dilute as recommended and leave overnight
• Use a dilute solution of bicarbonate of soda to soak the teapot in to start with, and if this doesn't lift them , then a paste made from bicarbonate of soda should work
• White vinegar will dissolve limescale, and should bring off the tea stains with it with only a half-hour soak
• If your limescale is stubborn, try heating the vinegar before using it
• Add some grains of rice to the teapot, and swill them round in the vinegar to act as a mild abrasive
• Lemon juice and hot water works the same way as vinegar, dissolving limescale
• Denture-cleaning tablets sometimes work well, depending on what your teapot is made of -try it!
Very fine bottle brushes are great for getting into teapot spouts. Try looking in a baby supplies shop, or in a wine-making supply catalogue. Alternatively, you can buy a purpose-made tea-pot-spout-cleaning-brush at www.shop.com!
I don't recommend that you use strong detergents or cleaners in your teapot, as they could leave a taste, or worse, cause a tummy upset.
When cleaning a silver or metal tea-pot, make sure the cleaner stays away from the spout. Wipe with a VERY THIN layer of olive oil or baby oil to help slow down the tarnishing process.
Once your teapot is clean and shiny, pop a sugar cube into it while it's in the cupboard to stop a stale smell developing.
If you have a pewter teapot, you will need to use a proper pewter cleaner.
Glass teapots show up a lot of stains, obviously, as they are see-though. If your teapot is Pyrex, then a scrub with a soft scourer should do the trick. Avoid using soapy liquids, and choose one of the alternatives above start with vinegar.
I recommend emptying your teapot as soon as the last cup is poured. Rinse it out immediately and leave to dry.
Happy cleaning - and after you've done it sit down and make yourself a nice cup of tea!