I have one of these teeli tea strainers, and it's wonderful. It's a very fine metal mesh basket with plastic frame. I've had it for perhaps 10+ years and it's still working well after brewing thousands of cups of tea.
However, it seems that the metal mesh is slowly becoming "clogged" or something. The tea still infuses fine, but it's more prone to spilling and dripping because water doesn't pass through as quickly. How should I clean this thing?
What I've tried...
I generally don't bother to clean it (just empty and reuse...) because it doesn't get "dirty" as such. Occasionally, I'll give it a rinse in the sink, or a scrub with regular dish detergent and sponge. Sometimes when bits seem to be stuck, I'll take a toothbrush or other dish brush to scour a little more thoroughly. I've also tried soaking in water.
What "They" Say:
The teeli web site doesn't seem to have any suggestions for cleaning; hardly surprising since it's not needed any significant maintenance in 10 years of service.
Searching for this yields a lot of links. Many are about strainers with larger holes, or bigger mesh (closer to a regular kitchen strainer), or about removing stains. Others suggest what I've tried, and I'm not sure about the other suggestions I've seen:
- a couple posts say to soak in vinegar. I am afraid this might corrode the metal or make the plastic (and all further cups of tea!) taste like vinegar...?
- eHow even suggests to soak in bleach?? Yikes.
Before I start soaking my beloved tea strainer in various household chemicals, I wanted to see if anyone here had this problem and has a good solution? Long-term soaking? Boiling? Vinegar? Baking soda? Special brush? Alcohol? Compressed air? BLEACH?! Anything that you've tried that should I avoid?