Oh what to do with those old teabags, 99.9% of them find they’re way to the landfill site, a small minority of them find their way into compost bins – depending on what chemicals the tea bag contains. But there are a whole lot of other uses for them as I’ve discovered.
If you’re an avid recycler or you just want to re-use your teabags, you might want to check out my list of 30 uses for tea bags. Just think, if we all used just one or two tips from this list, that would equate to millions of teabags being re-used.
30 Awesome Uses for Tea Bags
1 – You could simply re-use them … if you didn’t know already, some teas can be steeped more than once and drank. Like Oolong, which you can steep two or three times over. Each time produces a different layer of taste. Pu-Erh is another to try.
2 – Tea bags can be repurposed as a nourishing hair rinse, just like the effects of apple cider vinegar to help get a shine to your hair, you can do the same with a tea bag and its free! After shampooing and conditioning as normal, make a weak tea mixture from a bunch of used teabags and rinse your hair with the mixture. You can also use them to dye your hair, black tea will help create a brown effect, hibiscus creates a pink or reddish hue. This is a temporary measure, however, but that’s ideal for a one day look or for a change in when going out.
3 – Add a brewed tea bag or a few to your pot while boiling your rice water, it will add a light flavoring to your rice, pasta or grains. Great when done with jasmine, chai green and spice tea such as cinnamon.
4 – Hang a used tea bag – or a bunch of them tied together, over the faucet/tap as you fill the bath. This will create an aromatic addition to your bath. Or alternatively, drop tea bags straight into your bath for an antioxidant fix – great for skin. I’d suggest using Chamomile, Jasmine, Calendula, Lavender, Rosemary, Peppermint or even Green and White tea.
5 – leave old teabags to steep further for 30 minutes in your watering can for an additional fix for your plants, it can reduce fungus and add additional nutrients to your garden.
6 – Help soothe sunburned skin or even just care for the skin. Add two used Green tea bags to a bowl, with 1-2 teaspoons of raw honey and dash of lemon juice. Apply to the skin and leave for around 10 minutes before rinsing off with lukewarm water. This technique can also work on bruises, minor cuts and grazes to help them heal faster.
7 – Steep your tea bags with vodka or rum overnight to make delicious cocktails for the next day. Try adding mint tea to rum to make mojitos.
8 – Mix dried loose leaf tea into your cat litter to help absorb odors. One or two bags should be plenty. However, avoid using mint as cats are generally repelled by mint.
9 – Same can be done for odors in your trash can – let the tea bags dry first, add a few drops of essential oil and hang. You can just keep topping up the essential oils as needed. This can also be done with footwear to bring them back to freshness.
10 – Bind a few teabags together and hang them in your car for a natural air freshener effect – rather than the sickly chemical scents that most commercial air fresheners offer. Works better if your teabags have a string attached, but you can make your own. Jasmine, Lavender or Mint are all good to use We’re not suggesting you do this with used teabags – that would look unsightly, I mean unused ones of course!
11 – Store a couple of used dry tea bags in an open jar or container in your fridge to absorb odors. Replace weekly to help keep your refrigerator smelling fresh.
12 – This one is good but I’ve not tested this out myself. You can repel rodents and pests by adding a few used but dry teabags to the back of cupboards and pantries. Try this with Peppermint and Spearmint for best results. For more re-inforced deterrents against pests like spiders and ants just add peppermint essential oil.
13 – Fresh out of mouthwash? Peppermint tea bags can make a quick and handy mouthwash. Or use Sage and Rosemary as an alternative. particularly good if you’re in a rush one morning. Soak one in water whilst you’re getting ready, then a quick gargle and you’re off. Or, you could simply make yourself a Peppermint Tea!
14 – Make paper look old with used black tea bags. This one is aimed at craft projects such as vintage card making. The tannins in a moist black tea bag will stain paper. Also good for kiddies crafts to create works of art. Same applies to cloth, card and most other porous surfaces. Be careful to not split the teabag whilst over the paper as this can get a little messy!
15 – If you have a used Peppermint tea bag, Before disposing of it, use it to help disinfect a kitchen or work surface. Just wipe it over the surface without letting it tear.
16 – For the skin, works well with 2 used green tea bags in a bowl, with 1-2 teaspoons of raw honey and dash of lemon juice
17 – This one is easy, tea leaves are excellent for plants. Simply empty the contents into your garden for use as compost. Rather than rushing out into the garden with every used bag, it’s a good idea to empty the tea bags as you use them into a container so you can build up a batch of tea leaves. But don’t leave it too long before emptying.
18 – Need to seed some plants? Cut the top off a Tea Bag and sit it in a container like it’s a small grow-bag. This will provide rich nutrients that will help seedlings to thrive before potting.
19 – Use old tea bags to restore wooden surfaces to a glossy finish. It’s like a natural treatment for wood. Simply wipe over the wood area and leave to dry. We’re talking natural wood here, not wood veneers! But still, I don’t suppose it would do any harm!
20 – Add some tea bags into some cold or lukewarm water to steep further, then decant into a spray bottle and use as a glass cleaner, it actually works really well. For an added effect to prevent smearing, add a little vinegar to the mix.
21 – Been in the garden and received an insect sting? Ease the inflammation by rubbing a used teabag directly over the insect sting or bite area. This will help to draw out any toxins.
22 – Similar to number 17, but a quick use is for those plants on your window ledge. Open the tea bag and add the contents to the base of your potted plant. Alternatively, if you have a lot of tea bags, split them open and pour them into your soil mix when first potting the plants. herbal tea bags work really well for this, it’s like mulch. Avoid high in caffeine tea bags if possible.
23 – Freshen up your carpet or rug. Sprinkle tea leaves from your tea bags over your carpet, leave them for a couple of hours, then vacuuming them up. I mean dry unused tea leaves of course, not used ones.
24 – Dry them out and use them as fire lighters, it’s like a small tinderbox all of its own. You can stack these up alongside the logs for your fire, make sure they’re fully dry of course, and you’ll have a ready-made supply of fire lighters.
25 – Old tea bags can help break down any residual grease and burned food left on dishes. Soak some old tea bags in the dish or add to your washbowl overnight and it should wash off more easily the next morning.
26 – Been cutting garlic? Or fish? Rub a used tea bag or two on your hands and fingers. It should absorb the odor and might also replace them with the tea bag scent, peppermint is good for this task.
27 – Did you shave a little too hard and close? Used tea bags can help to calm skin after a razor burn. Get a moist used tea bag and use as a compress to calm the skin. It will also diminish the rash that often occurs afterward. Use Chamomile and lavender for this – but avoid peppermint!
28 – Used Tea Bags helps to negate the effects of Poison Ivy, rubbing with a used teabag will help to absorb oil, so it does not spread further. It can also sooth Nettle stings in the same way. Try this with Peppermint for the best effect.
29 – Tired eyes? Moisten two old teabags with cool or warm water and place over the eyes for a few minutes.
30 – Finally, If you have not done any of the above but you still don’t want them to end up in the landfill, then compost them. Just be sure to check our list of compostable tea bags to see if yours can go in whole, or if you need to rip them open first.
There we have it, 30 Ways to Re-use or Use tea bags. Of course, I hold no responsibility for any mishaps that may occur from these, so if you stain your daughters University certificates with tannin then that’s on you I’m afraid. They’re just tips to try. But I’ve tried some of these and they do work.
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