The Kitchen Staple That Will Perfectly Clean Your Hardwood Floors

Hardwood is known for its durability, but it's also rather finicky. It might be able to last in your house for 100 years, but it takes a lot of delicate care and attention to keep it looking like new. That means you have to be careful how you clean it, but black tea might be the kitchen staple that will help you get your wooden floors glistening.

Using alkaline, ammonia-based, or harsh cleaners will dull the finish, making your floors appear cloudy or dingy rather than rich and sparkling. Even all-natural cleaners like vinegar can eat straight through the finish since it's too acidic. You might think a steam mop is a safe option, but that can zap the moisture from your wood. And on the opposite side of the spectrum, using a heavy hand with mop water can actually harm the wood, opening it to the risk of warping. So what can you clean your hardwood floors with? It turns out you don't need much more than black tea.

How to use black tea to mop your wooden floors

To use this all-natural cleaning remedy, you will need a bucket, a microfiber mop, and black tea. Rather than using leftover tea you didn't finish the night before, it's best to freshly brew a batch so the active ingredients are fresh. Brew 1 gallon of water on the stove and drop eight tea bags into the vat. Let it steep for five minutes, and remove the bags. Allow the water to fully cool before using it to clean your floor, or else you risk marring it. Transfer the brew into a mop bucket, and you're ready to begin.

Before going all-in, first spot-test an inconspicuous area on your floor to make sure the tea doesn't discolor your planks. Once you know it's safe to use, grab a microfiber mop, dip it into the mixture, wring it well, and begin to mop your floors. You want to ensure the mop is just slightly damp; using too much water can create water damage or warping. Clean the entire length of the room, and enjoy your shining floors.

Why this works

Using a brewed drink to clean your floors might seem odd, but it really works. Black tea has polyphenolic compounds that prevent bacteria from growing, helping to disinfect your floors. But its secret fighting power is its tannins, which not only clean your floor but help stain it. Tannins are slightly acidic, so they will help cut through dirt and grime while you're mopping. But more importantly, they also create a light brown stain, which can help add color and richness to your natural hardwood. It all depends on how many tea bags you use.

If you use eight bags, you should be able to bring out the color in medium-brown floors. If you have lighter floorboards, consider using five or six; if you have dark floors, you might have to increase it to 10 or 12. However, only use this cleaning hack on natural hardwood and not laminate. The tea might ruin laminate, so it's best to steer clear.