Using Tea to Clean and Deodorize

woman holding green tea leaves
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When you think of a mug stained brown with tea, it's hard to believe it would make a good household cleaner. But the astringency of tea actually cuts through grease and dust, plus it also adds a shine to hardwood floors and furniture. Here are some ways to clean with it.

How to Use Tea to Clean

Hardwood Floors: Black tea has been used to mop quite a few hardwood floors throughout its history. The tannic acid in the tea cleans and adds shine to a dull old hardwood floor. However, tea cannot be used to mop laminate wood flooring. To clean a hardwood floor with tea:

  1. Boil a pot of water and add 5-6 tea bags to the water.
  2. Turn off the heat and allow the tea to sit and steep for about 10 minutes.
  3. Carefully pour the tea into your mop bucket. Add cool water to lower the temperature if needed.
  4. Place your mop into the tea water and wring it out thoroughly, as you don't want a soaking mop.
  5. Start by mopping a small area in a hidden spot to check for discoloration, as with all cleaning solutions for your floors.
  6. If there are no problems, mop the floor as you would normally, using the tea water as your mop water. Allow the floor to dry.

Odor Removal: Use green tea leaves to deter odors in your refrigerator. Add the leaves to a bowl and place it in the refrigerator uncovered. It will absorb even pungent garlic and onions. If you've diced up something smelly, try rubbing your hands with tea leaves to remove and absorb the smell.

Microwave Cleaning: Boil water and add a few green tea leaves to steep after you've removed the pot from heat. After it's cool enough to handle, use the tea water to wash down the inside and outside of your microwave. It will help remove odors and add a fresh smelling scent.

Fireplace: Before you clean out the fireplace, add wet tea leaves to the ash. The moisture will help soak up the ash so it doesn't blow around.

Glass: Place cold brewed tea in a spray bottle and use it to make mirrors and windows sparkle.

Toilets: Throw a few tea bags into the toilet. Let them "steep" for about an hour and then discard. Scrub the commode with a brush and flush the liquid tea.

Carpets: Sprinkle dried or steeped tea leaves across a smelly carpet and let them sit for 20-60 minutes before vacuuming. To use steeped tea leaves, first dry out because they'll stain the carpet if they're too wet. Try a flavored tea like lemon or mint to leave behind a nice scent!

Refrigerator: Tea bags can soak up those fridge odors just like baking soda does. Put an uncovered container in the fridge with dried out tea leaves for a day or two.

Shoes: Don't toss stinky shoes; rather, place a new tea bag (or one that's been steeped and dried) inside each shoe to help eliminate the odor.