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10 Uses for Used Tea Bags

Updated on November 13, 2015

Everything we do, no matter how small, can make a big difference over time. If you are a tea drinker, and you should be with all the health benefits you get from drinking home brewed teas, you can make an environmental difference by reusing your tea bags for different things in your garden and around your home.

1. Sunburn, Razor Burn, and Bug Bites

If you are suffering from sunburn, razor burns, or even a bug bite, a cold tea bag will help ease your pain and promote healing. After brewing your tea, let the tea bag cool. Use it as a compress and press it on to the affected areas. Allow the tea juice to dry on your skin. Wash it off during your next shower or bath.

Utamaro [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
Utamaro [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. | Source

2. Bruises

Tea is loaded with tannins that contract blood vessels and your bruises can be healed up using a cool tea bag. Simply take a used tea bag that has cooled and place it on the bruise. Hold it onto the area for a few minutes, remove it, and let the area dry. Do this throughout the day until the bruise is recovered.

3. Warts

Do you have a troublesome plantar wart on your hand? If so, your used tea bags, loaded with tannins, may be able to help you out with that. After making yourself a cup of tea, set the tea bag aside until it is warm to the touch. Hold the tea bag onto the wart for about 10 minutes. Remove and let the area dry naturally. Do this every time you make a cup of tea and your wart should disappear after a few days.

By August Borckmann (1827-1890) ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
By August Borckmann (1827-1890) ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. | Source

4. Take a Tea Bath

The tannins in tea are great for your skin and tea also contains antioxidants to help prevent aging. The next time you take a bath, tie a tea bag or two on the tub faucet and let the hot water run through the bags. You can also just drop a few used tea bags into the tub before you get in for a soak. And while you are at it, you can wipe your face with a teabag. It is a great skin toner.

5. Deodorize Carpets

Do your carpets smell like dog? Does your house have a musty odor? Try deodorizing with used tea bags. After brewing a cup of tea, hang your used tea bag up to dry. After the leaves are completely dry, break the tea bag open and scatter the leaves around the carpet. Leave on for 15 to 30 minutes and then vacuum. The carpet, air, and vacuum cleaner should now smell a lot better because the tea leaves help neutralize smells.

6. Stinky Cat Boxes

If you have kitty cats roaming your home and furring up the sofa, you probably have a cat box that needs a little help in the odor department. Have no fear. Besides adding a bit of baking soda to the cat boxes, you can also add used tea leaves. After you have used up a tea bag, hang it up to dry. Break the tea bag open over the cat box and crinkle the tea leaves into the box. Give the litter a stir to mix it in to help neutralize bad odors.

By Drawn by B. Clayton, from a painting by Piqua [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
By Drawn by B. Clayton, from a painting by Piqua [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. | Source

7. Greasy Dishes

If you don’t feel like standing at the sink, trying to scrub out the casserole dish or the greasy pots and pans, soak them in soapy tea water, instead. The tannins in the tea help break down oils and loosen up the hard debris left on dishes. Simply fill the sink up with the dirty dishes, a few used tea bags, a squirt of dish detergent soap, and hot water. Soak the dishes for a few hours or overnight and they should then be much easier to wash off.

Grow Your Own Tea

8. Mice, Ants, and Spiders

If you have problems with mice coming into your home during the winter months, find the areas were they are coming into your home and tuck used tea bags into those areas. Mice don’t really like the scent of tea and the used tea bags make a good deterrent. If you also have problems with ants and spiders, put a few drops of peppermint essential oil onto each tea bag before tucking it in to a spot. Spiders and ants don’t like peppermint oil and the tea bags will hold the scent to deter the bugs.

9. Garden Food

A weak tea made from used tea bags is a great way to protect your plants from fungus, mice, and add nutrients to the soil. Simply put your tea bags in a bucket and fill it with water. Let the used tea bags steep for a few hours or days and pour the healthy liquid over your garden plants. You can also keep the tea bag bucket outside your door to drop your tea bags in each day. By the weekend, fill it with water in the morning, or collect rain water, and water your garden by the afternoon. Compost the remaining bags afterwards.

Jean-Étienne Liotard [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
Jean-Étienne Liotard [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. | Source

10. Compost

Tea leaves add nutrients to the soil and the tea bags can be broken open and the used leaves worked directly into the soil. Both ferns and roses benefit from tea leaves in their soil. You can also simply drop whole tea bags into your compost bin. If your tea bags contain staples, remove the staples before adding them to the compost pile. The tea bags will break down with the weather and as you turn the pile over.


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    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 17 months ago from Oklahoma

      Very interesting.

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