Using Tea to Clean and Deodorize

woman holding green tea leaves
Jeffrey Coolidge / Getty Images

When you think of a mug stained brown with tea, it is 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 tea leaves or tea bags.

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. Follow these few steps for cleaning a hardwood floor using tea:

  1. Boil a pot of water and add five to six tea bags to the water. Turn off the heat and allow the tea to sit and steep for about 10 minutes.
  2. Carefully pour the tea into your mop bucket. Add cool water to lower the temperature if needed. Place your mop into the tea water and wring it out thoroughly, since you do not want a soaking mop.
  3. Start by mopping a small area in a hidden spot to make sure the tea solution does not form any discoloration. If there is no discoloration, mop the floor as you would normally, using the tea solution as your mop water. Allow the floor to dry.

This method may be good for cleaning hardwood floors, but you should not use tea for mopping laminate wood flooring.

Odor Removal

Use green tea leaves to deter odors in your refrigerator. Tea bags can soak up those fridge odors just like baking soda does. Or, you can put an uncovered container in the fridge with dried out tea leaves for a day or two. The leaves will absorb even pungent garlic and onions.

While doing meal preparation, if you have 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 have removed the pot from heat. After it is 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 that it does not blow around.

Glass

You can 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 to 60 minutes before vacuuming. To use steeped tea leaves, first them dry out because they will stain the carpet if they are too wet. Try a flavored tea like lemon or mint to leave behind a nice scent.

Shoes

Do not toss stinky shoes; rather, place a new tea bag (or one that has been steeped and dried) inside each shoe to help eliminate the odor.