DIY : 5 Benefits of Cleaning Wood Floors with Tea – Edward Morrison – Medium

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.

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.

How To Clean Hardwood Floors with Tea:

Before wet mopping your wood floors, always sweep and vacuum them first. It’s recommended you only wet mop wood floors every 1–2 months, cleaning more frequently with a vacuum or dust mop. Best Cordless Vacuum for Hardwood Floors

1. Bring 1/2 gallon of water to boil in a large pot on the stovetop.

2. Steep 8 bags of black tea for 10–15 minutes. Press out any remaining liquid from the bags into the pot before discarding.

3. Let the mixture cool. Another option would be to bring 8 cups of water to a boil and reserve 8 cups cold water to add to the mixture afterwards to help bring the temperature down faster.

4. Once the mixture has cooled (lukewarm is fine) dip a rag into the solution and ring it out, use this to test a small, inconspicuous area on your wood floors. Apply the tea to floor with the rag, going in the direction of the woodgrain. As you should never soak your wood floors with and excess amount of water, use the tea solution sparingly.

5. Be sure to work your rag or mop into any scratched areas, as the tea will help camouflage the discrepancy.

Note: I ended up adding a few more cups of cold water to my tea to bring the heat down faster. I have medium dark wood floors and this ended up being the perfect color mixture for me. If you have a lighter floor, you might want to use just 4–6 bags in your tea solution; darker floors might want to use 10–12. Once the tea solution has been brewed its usually good for about 24 hours.

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