5 Benefits of Cleaning Wood Floors with Tea

20 Jan

You can keep your wood floors clean and looking great using black tea.

Tea is more than just a tasty beverage–it can do wonders for cleaning wood floors! This goes for both hard wood and laminate flooring. Just buy the cheapest black tea you can find, brew it up, clean the floors, buff the floor with a dry cloth, and you’re done. Here are the 5 benefits of cleaning your wood floors with black tea:

IT’S EASY: Simply brew 3 tea bags with four cups or so of boiling water. Let it sit to cool a bit, then use a funnel to transfer it to a spray bottle. It’s ready to use. Spray it on your floor enough to see a sheen of wetness, but don’t overdo it; too much moisture takes too long to dry and can warp your wood through time. After you spray it, wipe or mop to remove dirt. I use wash cloths that I attach to a Swiffer sweeper. Or I get on my hands-and-knees and clean the floors old-school. Rinsing isn’t required.

Black tea is strong enough to clean the dirt, but not strong enough to damage your finish.

Black tea is strong enough to clean the dirt, but not strong enough to damage your finish.

IT’S CHEAP: A box of cheap black generic tea can be had for a few dollars, and only three tea bags are needed to fill an empty spray bottle with the black tea cleaner. How long that will last depends upon how much floor you have to clean, of course.

IT WORKS: This is the most important benefit–it actually cleans the floors. The slight acidity of black tea (about pH 5) is enough to lift the dirt off the floor and onto your cleaning rag. Water doesn’t quite cut it, soap can be too hard to remove from the floor, and vinegar is too harsh. Which leads me to…

IT WON’T STRIP THE FINISH LIKE VINEGAR: White distilled vinegar has a pH of between 2.4 and 3.4 (apple cider vinegar has a pH of 2.8 to 3.0). These acidic levels are too harsh for a floor’s finish and as a result shouldn’t be used to clean your wood floors. Tea, however, won’t strip the finish. It is strong enough to remove the dirt, but you won’t have to refinish your floor every few years.

IT MAINTAINS THE WOOD’S PATINA: The color of the tea is enough to deepen and enhance the natural color of your wood floor. This is also good for floors that get a lot of traffic or dog nails–the tea helps disguise the lighter wood color that results from buffs and scratches.


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10 responses to “5 Benefits of Cleaning Wood Floors with Tea

  1. narf77

    January 21, 2013 at 2:46 am

    This is the exact recipe that I have been looking for to clean our hardwood floor! I wasn’t able to find anything regarding cleaning naturally coated hardwood floors…only floorboards coated in polymers. We used beeswax and turps to polish our floorboards after we stripped them and tea promises to be the best way to clean them :). Thank you HEAPS for this post :)

  2. Cindy McCracken

    February 27, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Thank you! Been looking for something to clean my bamboo floor that doesn’t streak it.

  3. Mbow

    July 2, 2013 at 10:15 am

    I’ve read that adding olive or vegetable oil to your water can help a wood floor. Can you mix it in with the tea water or would it not be necessary? Thanks!

    • Rural Spin

      July 3, 2013 at 10:14 am

      When I buff my floor post-cleaning I use oil (orange). It helps in a dry climate especially. You could add it to the tea water but you’d need to make sure that you shook the bottle well regularly to make sure the oil was distributed evenly.

  4. Vicki Bousson

    July 20, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    I just used this method of washing my wood kitchen floor (good old fashioned hands and knees style) and really don’t see what all of the fuss is about. My floor doesn’t look any better than using the water with a dash of vinegar that we’ve used for years. I think we may just need to buff the floor after 19 years of use.

    • Rural Spin

      July 21, 2013 at 11:07 am

      Vicki…the patina takes time to occur, it doesn’t occur after just one washing…the benefit of this method is that it both cleans the floor and helps enhance the patina of the wood. And vinegar can be tricky because the acidity can be too harsh on wood floors, though your diluted method is just fine, in my opinion. Do what works for you! :-)

  5. Christine

    July 26, 2013 at 6:38 am

    Your floor is really beautiful. What sort of wood is it, and is it old wood that has been repurposed as flooring?

    • Rural Spin

      August 5, 2013 at 4:28 pm

      Thank you! This is the wood that was installed in the house, sometime in the 1930s or so. I’m not 100% sure of the wood, but I believe it is maple.

  6. LBT

    August 12, 2013 at 9:27 am

    Thank you! We have a parrot and it is very hard to find a non-stripping, healthy cleaner for her, us and our 4 dogs :)

  7. John Smith

    September 6, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    I accidentally spilled some chai green tea onto my wood computer desk and noticed that it did a fantastic job of cleaning and making it look great. I’ve usually just used soap and water but I think the tea thing worked out pretty well. Perhaps I should shoot for black tea and try it again. Thanks for the article.


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