Tea is, hands down, one of the most popular types of beverages people drink
There are two main forms in which we use tea; (1) as a loose leaf tea and (2) as a tea bag. So after you are done brewing your tea, you are highly likely to end up with a used tea bag or lots of loose tea leaves at your disposal.
What the great majority of us do is just throw them away. After all, they are a waste, right?
Well, this is something that, I myself was thinking for quite some time, before finding out that there are many ways you can reuse tea bags.
I never really gave it any thought before. But one day, I got a bit curious, “Are there any ways I can reuse tea bags?” I thought to myself.
I decided to do some researching and wouldn’t you know it. There are actually a lot of different ways we can reuse old tea bags. So maybe they shouldn’t go in the garbage bin just yet!
So let’s take a look.
What Can You Do with Leftover Tea Bags?
1. Give Your Eyes a Relieve
Just like many other people, I, too, spend a lot of time in front of the computer screen.
Sometimes my eyes get irritated, and a very close friend once suggested I should try putting tea bags on my eyes.
Interestingly enough, an old tea bag can provide your eyes with some much-needed relief. Placing a tea bag on your eyes can help with dark circles, irritation, and puffiness.
You can keep a few used tea bags in your fridge (for best results use them while they are slightly chilled), and whenever you need them, just take them out and make sure they are a bit damp before you place them on your eyes.
Don’t expect miracles; however, some days, every little help is welcomed.
2. A Grease Remover
What the majority of us use for cleaning these greasy pots and pans after a cooking spree is baking soda. It works great. But did you know that you can also use your used tea bags for that purpose as well?
Curiously enough, you can.
- Just use a couple of tea bags and warm water;
- Leave them to soak for a while; and
- Then wash as usual.
Tea contains tannins. And they are the ingredient responsible for the tea’s anti-grease properties.
3. Make Your Tea Stronger
You can store old tea bags in your fridge and reuse them to create a new stronger tea.
While making your new batch of tea, you can take your old tea bags and toss them in, although not as strong as a new tea bag; they will add a little more punch to your new tea.
However, keep in mind that old tea bags can get bad.
4. Carpet and Rug Cleanser
One of the last things that will come to anyone’s mind is that you can actually use the tea in your used tea bags to freshen up your carpet.
- Open the tea bag and pepper the tea leaves over your carpet or rug. You can then rub them in a little if you like.
- Leave the tea leaves like that for an hour or so.
- Once ready, just use a vacuum cleaner to collect the tea leaves.
Some of the teas that can work very well that way, because of their aroma, are peppermint tea, green tea, and lemon tea.
5. Rejuvenate Your Hair
Tea can help with bringing back the shininess and smoothness of your hair and potentially even stimulate its growth.
What you need to do is just use several used tea bags to brew a cup of tea. Leave it cool down. You can they apply it to your hair before you shower and let it sit for a few minutes (no more than ten to fifteen), or you can do that while you are showering.
It is recommended to use either black tea or rosemary for that purpose.
6. For Hydration and Bath Aromatizer
Do you have a bathtub?
If you do, you probably take baths as frequently as you can, and you probably use bath salts.
Placing several used tea bags in your bathtub can actually be a great way to rejuvenate and hydrate your skin thanks to tea’s antioxidant content.
Tea bags can easily be used in combination with different bath salts to provide for the ultimate soothing and calming bath experience.
For example, you can use a couple of used lavender tea bags. Lavender is well-known for its relaxing effect on the nervous system.
7. Food Flavoring
Using a few tea bags while preparing your food can add a little extra oomph to your next meal.
For example, say you are preparing pasta.
You can add one or two tea bags into the water. Once the water starts boiling, remove the tea bags and add your pasta (this can be done with other foods as well, like grains and rice).
You can also add some extra flavoring to your oatmeal. That way, you can start off your morning on the right foot.
You may want to experiment with how long you will want to keep the tea bags inside, but they can add some extra flavoring to an otherwise, somewhat boring dish.
You can use that way almost every single type of tea, jasmine, peppermint, rose, chamomile, and so much more.
8. Deodorize Your Shoes
Do you struggle with smelly shoes?
Then try placing a few tea bags in your shoes and leave them to stay overnight.
One of the best teas to use for that purpose is peppermint tea.
9. Deodorize Your Trash
While we are on the topic of deodorizing, you can do that with your trash can too.
Especially during the summer, when the temperatures can go really high, it is very easy to end up with foul-smelling trash can that you just don’t know what you can do about.
I had to take out the trash can on my balcony once because of the smell.
Try placing a few used tea bags at the bottom of your trash can or trash bag to reduce and neutralize the unpleasant smells.
10. Homemade Potpourri
You can create your very own air freshener by mixing up some of the tea leaves in your used tea bags.
These can provide for great homemade potpourri mixes, which you can use in your bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom.
For example, you can use some lavender tea leaves in your bedroom, which are well-known for their calming and relaxing properties. And if you want to boost that calming effect even further, you can add one or two tablespoons of rose tea and chamomile tea.
You can use stronger tea leaves like peppermint in your kitchen or living room.
11. Alleviate Irritated Skin
If you are having very sensitive skin or suffering from things like rosacea, you may want to give your used chamomile tea bag another chance to provide you with more health benefits.
Chamomile can have a soothing and calming effect on the irritated skin.
What experts recommend is to boil several chamomile tea bags (between three to six). When the water cools down, just take a piece of cloth dip in the water and apply it to the places where your skin is irritated for ten to fifteen minutes.
12. Hand Scrub
While we are dealing with skin problems. You can also use old tea bags for creating a cleansing and moisturizing hand scrub.
All you need to prepare a very simple homemade and basic hand scrub is a tea bag, coconut oil, and some coarse salt.
Mix all the ingredients with a little hot water just enough to create a paste-like substance and let it cool down.
13. Pest and Insect Repellent
The unique odor of peppermint tea can be used to keep away the bugs and mice from your home.
Additionally, lavender tea can be used to chase away mosquitoes and spiders.
It is recommended to place a tea bag or two near the areas where you expect these insects and pests to hang around; windows, doors, etc.
Make sure to replace the tea bags every few days or so. A study found that, on average, after six days, the repellent properties of certain oils can go down significantly.
If you are a true tea lover, you will probably not have any trouble doing that.
14. Shining Wooden Surfaces
The tannic acid, which true teas contain in abundance, has excellent cleaning properties, as we have seen previously with cleaning greasy dishes.
It can help, too, with cleaning and bringing back the shine to the wooden surfaces and floors that may have lost their shine with time.
All you need to do is place a few used tea bags in a container filled with little water, dip a piece of cloth in the container, and wipe the wooden surfaces with it.
15. Windows Cleaning Solution
The good things associated with the tannic acid found in tea don’t end here.
You will be delighted to see that the tannic acid’s cleaning properties can help with removing the dirt from your windows. In addition to that, it may even leave a nice lingering tea-reminiscent smell.
- Boil two tea bags in about 8 oz of water;
- Let the water cool off, and fill your spray bottle with the water; and
- Spray your windows and wipe them with a clean cloth.
16. Treating Small Cuts
If you are frequently shaving, you may experience some cuts every now and then.
These small cuts may not be dangerous or hurt a lot, but the burn from them can be very unpleasant.
Placing a tea bag on top of the cut area may soothe and calm your skin and reduce the pain.
17. Treating Sunburns
Used tea bags can actually help with more than just small cuts from shaving.
If you have fair or sensitive skin that is prone to burning quickly under the sun, a tea bag may help.
Use a dampened tea bag and rub it over the burnt areas. It may prove beneficial in soothing and cooling down the skin.
18. Improve Your Breath
A used tea bag can be a great fix against bad breath.
Regardless if you are struggling with bad breath as a result of the food you eat, potential sinus problems quickly brewing a weaker tea with your old tea bags can be a great way to improve your breath.
19. Clean the Toilet
If you happen to have those nasty stains and rings around the very bottom of the toilet, you can quickly treat them with a few tea bags.
Just throw them inside and let them sit there for a while.
Keep in mind that keeping the tea bags there for a long time, especially black tea, can end up staining your toilet bowl.
Alternatively, you may want to use some light-colored tea like green or white tea.
20. Clean Glass Surfaces
The tannins found in tea can also prove to be a powerful ingredient that can help you clean your windows, glasses, mirrors, and just about any other glass surface.
All you need to do is rub a damp tea bag over the glass surface and use a dry towel or cloth to dry it.
21. For Homemade Soap and Scrubs
If you are one of the lucky few who know how to make their own homemade soap, you may want to consider adding some of your used tea in the mix.
Tea can provide your soap or scrub with some extra moisturizing, soothing, and cleansing properties.
22. Meat Marinade and Tenderizer
Slightly acidic liquids are used to make meat more tender.
Lemon tea, rosehip, and blackberry are some of the most acidic teas, which can be used for tenderizing meat.
Adding these can not just make your meat more tender, but also add some unique and different flavor to it.
23. Sooth Your Gums
If you are suffering from bleeding or swollen gums, your used tea bag may actually offer a helping hand.
Place the used tea bag on your gums and leave it for a while. Tea is great at reducing inflammation, killing bacteria, and soothing irritated gums.
24. Foot Deodorizer
Many people may be suffering from smelly feet.
Tea can be used to combat quite effectively foot odor when used for a foot soak.
You can add some peppermint tea bags which will deodorize your feet or why not use a couple of rose tea bags, which can reduce inflammation as well.
After a long hard day at work, your feet will be more than grateful.
25. Cat Litter Deodorizer
Some people have reported using tea leaves for deodorizing cat litter.
This may be a good and fairly inexpensive way to reduce the odors of the litter while at the same time even making good use of the tea’s antimicrobial properties.
26. Dye Fabric
Tea has been used by many to dye fabric. This can be applied to worn out tee shirts, towels, and more.
Depending on what kind of tea you will use, you will end up with different results. For example, black tea will produce a darker brown or malty color.
Boil ten to twenty black tea bags and let them steep until the water gets very deep and dark. After that, just dip the fabric or the tee-shirt in the tea solution.
When you are happy with the color of the fabric, take it out and wash it with cold water.
The end results will vary depending on what kind of tea you are using, how long you have left the fabric to steep for in the solution, and more.
27. Use Them in Your Fridge or Freezer
We all have had at some point to deal with a smelly fridge.
Placing a few of your used tea bags in your fridge or freezer can be an easy fix for removing food odors. Tea bags can absorb some strong smells.
However, every once in a while, you will want to change the tea bags with new ones.
28. Treat Acne
Did you know that tea can also be used for successfully treating acne?
Just prepare some green tea and let it cool down.
You can then take the tea bags and apply them to the areas of the skin where the acne is, or you can use the tea as a face wash.
Doing this can soothe the skin and reduce the inflammation.
29. Fight Wrinkles
The benefits of tea for the skin, however, don’t end here.
Green tea leaves can be used as a face mask that can provide the skin with antioxidants. The antioxidants can help you in your fight with wrinkles, blemishes, and potentially even scars.
Researchers believe that these properties of green tea are as a result of the antioxidant known as epigallocatechin gallate (also known as EGCG), which has shown the ability to promote the growth of skin cells.
30. Get Rid of Feet Fungus
Strong teas like the black tea with its high tannin content can be quite useful in combating toenail fungus like the athlete’s foot and other kinds of candida.
You can do that by placing a few tea bags on your toenails and affected areas or even, if you have more tea bags handy, make a nice foot soak.
Related Questions and Further Considerations
As you can see, there is a whole myriad of different ways tea bags can be used even after fulfilling their main purpose. This is a great way to save on money in different aspects of our lives.
As I was doing my research about how we can reuse old tea, I stumbled upon a few important details that are worth knowing and understanding.
Depending on how you intend to use your old tea bags, these may or may not apply to you, but as people say, “the devil is in the detail.”
1. Should You Brew Used Tea?
A frequent question is, “Can I use my old tea bag to make another cup of tea?” There is nothing particularly bad about reusing tea bags that way.
However, the biggest downside is that the flavor will be very bland if there is any at all. Some stronger teas, like black tea or rooibos, can be reused with somewhat decent results, but don’t expect too much from them.
As a result, you may want to use a couple of tea bags in order to get closer to the original taste and flavor of the tea. That, however, poses another challenge in the face that you need several tea bags.
And even then, your tea will tend to taste a little dull and bitter, and will not have the same punch and aroma to it.
Overall, it is just not worth reusing old tea bags, at least for tea-drinking purposes, especially when we consider that tea is not that expensive in general.
2. How Long Can You Keep a Used Tea Bag For?
The main concern with used tea bags is that since they will be wet, this creates a good environment for the growth of various microorganisms and mold.
The longer you keep them, the higher the microorganism content will be. And this can be even worse during the summer when the temperatures get really high.
The same applies to both tea bags and loose leaf tea.
So if you are planning on reusing your tea, make sure to do so within a few hours after initial use.
Alternatively, you can place your used tea bags in the fridge in a closed container in order to extend that period and reduce the chances of bacterial and mold growth.
Depending on what will be the purpose of the used tea, you may be able to get away with storing the used tea for longer. But if it is going to be for personal use, make sure to reuse the tea bags as soon as possible.
3. Is Every Tea Bag Compostable?
Composting is a great way to help the environment.
By composting, you will be essentially reusing your garbage to create some nutrient-rich fertilizer for your houseplants and garden. And at the same time, you will be lowering the waste you produce.
Interesting enough, a lot of different things can actually be reused that way.
Everyone that has been doing composting for a while develops an interesting trait. Where one starts asking the same question about everything, “Is this compostable?”
One of the most interesting ways you can reuse old tea is by throwing it in your compost pile.
However, when it comes to tea bags, there are a few things you need to know before adding them to your compost.
Let us start by saying that not all tea bags can and should be thrown in the compost bin.
What Are Tea Bags Made Of?
Unfortunately, tea bags are not all created equal. In fact, many of them contain polypropene, which is basically a type of plastic, and it doesn’t decompose.
This makes tea bags not only bad for the environment but our health as well.
Tea bags contain very tiny amounts of plastic.
However, they are just enough to prevent the tea bag from fully decomposing and thus making it unsuitable as a compost.
If your tea bags do contain plastic, or if you are not sure, just open up the bag, throw it away, and use the tea leaves inside of it.
Certain manufacturers may produce their tea bags using natural products, making them suitable to go in the composting bin.
However, keep in mind that regardless of that, the staple on the tea bag is not degradable.
Can Tea Be Used as Fertilizer?
The used tea leaves can be the perfect way to provide your house and garden plants with a much-welcomed boost.
If you are using tea bags, just open the bag and sprinkle the tea leaves close to your plant’s roots.
Another great way to provide some extra nutrition to your plants is by brewing a weak tea and using it to water your plants. Some plants like the Azalea bushes, ferns, and the hydrangea love the acidity of tea.
However, make sure not to use tea bags that have been mixed with sugar or creamers.
Tea can be used as fertilizer and a very good one at that. It will provide your plants with some nitrogen, which is vital for the plants.
In addition to that, it has been said that the tannic acid in tea can also deter some type of root maggots.
The same considerations have to be taken into consideration as above since any tea bag containing plastic is out of the question.
Thus it is best to use just the tea leaves in the tea bag.
Additionally, tea bags and tea leaves can be used to repair any bald spots on your lawn.
If the tea bag is fully degradable, you can use it as a whole if not just use the tea leaves instead. Place it in the spots where there is no grass and sow the grass seeds.