21 Creative Ways to Use Used Tea Bags

Updated on March 22, 2018
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What can I do with used tea bags?

A typical person drinks tea and throws away the bags and leaves right afterward. If you want more bang for your buck, you reuse it for another cup and then throw it in the trash, right?

Yes, but you should know that these tea bags can be used for many different things. Don't throw the bag away, try making it work as much as possible for you!

Reduce eye puffiness with tea bags.
Reduce eye puffiness with tea bags. | Source

1. Eye Relief

Do you not get enough sleep and have large under-eye bags to give it away? One cheap solution is to use tea bags for puffy eyes. It works for me, but just know that you have to do this often to see visible results.

I use green and black tea since I've read they are the best for eye treatments. These teas have lots of caffeine and tannins that have the ability to shrink and tighten living tissues like human skin. These teas are also rich in antioxidants that soothe the skin.

Here's how I do it:

  1. Refrigerate tea bags until they're cool but damp.
  2. Place them on where the skin is puffy (under the eye) for about 20 minutes.
  3. Remove them and wash your face.

Doing this feels good and helps me relax.

Help relieve pain from sunburns and other ailments with tea bags.
Help relieve pain from sunburns and other ailments with tea bags. | Source

2. Pain Relief

For the same reasons shared above, used tea bags are great for treating the following:

  • Burns
  • Sunburns
  • Bee stings
  • Rashes

This is a cheap and simple remedy you should try. Unlike tannins in fruits, tea tannins don't have tannic acid, which is why it's beneficial for your skin.

Make a deliciously tender meat dish by incorporating tea into the marinade.
Make a deliciously tender meat dish by incorporating tea into the marinade. | Source

3. Tenderize and Flavor Meat

Add flavor to meat by marinating it with used tea bags. The tannins will tenderize the meat, and the flavor will add sweetness and savory notes to your dishes, especially if it's barbecued meat.

I've found that beef tastes better, but this trick does not work on chicken or mutton. Have you tried this? Let me know what worked and didn't work for you!

Make your fridge smell better with used tea bags!
Make your fridge smell better with used tea bags! | Source

4. Eliminate Odor in the Fridge

Place a small, uncovered bowl of used green tea bags in the fridge, and leave it for three days. It will absorb any unwanted smells from fish, stale food, or strong-flavored foods like curry. We tried this, and it worked! The only problem is that it takes up space in our crowded fridge!

Keep undesirable odors away with tea bags in socks.
Keep undesirable odors away with tea bags in socks. | Source

5. Get Rid of Shoe Odors

To eliminate offensive shoe odors, stuff a handful of dried used tea bags into old socks and tie up the openings to form sealed bundles. Place them deep inside the shoes and leave them there for a few days. I tried this on my son's running shoes, and I don't smell any more offensive odors. Now, we place used tea leaves in the shoe cabinet as well.

Make your feet smell oh-so-pleasant by soaking them in a tea bath.
Make your feet smell oh-so-pleasant by soaking them in a tea bath. | Source

6. Stop Foot Odor

If you soak your feet in a solution of strong tea, your foot odor problem will be gone! I also add fresh mint leaves to the solution, and it smells great.

Suck away any carpet odors with tea leaves.
Suck away any carpet odors with tea leaves. | Source

7. Remove Carpet Odors

Sprinkle used dried tea over a carpet and leave it for at least 15 minutes before vacuuming. It's supposed to reduce the smells. This trick didn't work for me even though I also tried using slightly damp tea leaves. If you've done this before, please let me know the trick below!

Make sure to wash your hands with regular water after you rinse your hands in the tea leaves.
Make sure to wash your hands with regular water after you rinse your hands in the tea leaves. | Source

8. Eliminate Odors From Your Hands

Cleaning and preparing fresh fish always leaves a strong odor behind. I told my wife to try rinsing her hands in a bowl of water steeped in used tea leaves. It works—her hands smell better.

Make your cat and your nose happy by adding tea leaves to the litter box.
Make your cat and your nose happy by adding tea leaves to the litter box. | Source

9. Reduce Cat Litter Odors

Good cat litter is expensive, so I add used tea bags and leaves into cheaper brand cat litter. The offensive smells are much reduced. Tea leaves can deodorize and are also antimicrobial. It's a win-win situation for you and your wallet.

Leave windows sparkly clean with tea-soaked cloths.
Leave windows sparkly clean with tea-soaked cloths. | Source

10. Clean Glass and Mirrors

We use old newspaper to clean glass and mirrors, which leaves them sparkly clean. I was told this tea solution would accomplish a similar result.

Instructions

  1. Add two black tea bags to one cup (1/4 liter) of boiling water.
  2. Once the tea cools completely, soak a soft cloth into the tea solution.
  3. Wring out the excess tea and use the cloth to clean mirrors and glass.
  4. Buff the glass or mirror with a dry cloth.

This method works well, but it takes a bit more effort than using old newspaper. So, I will probably stick to my old routine.

My old faded black Tee Shirt given the used tea leaves treatment: before (left) and after (right) treatment
My old faded black Tee Shirt given the used tea leaves treatment: before (left) and after (right) treatment | Source

11. Restore Color to Black Clothing

My black tee shirt faded after several washes. To restore it, I tried the following steps:

  1. Wash and rinse the clothes as you would normally do.
  2. Soak them in a mixture of one cup of strong tea to four cups of clean water.
  3. Leave it for 10 minutes, wring out the excess water, and hang it out to dry.

I did not get a fully restored black tee, but if I do this on a regular basis, I might get a darker shade. You can use this on clothes that are completely black with no mixed colors. Otherwise, the colored portion will be affected by the tea color. Use it on washable clothing only and not on apparels meant for dry cleaning.

Keep your black tees from fading by laying them out in the shade, not directly under the sun.

Experiment with different teas to make old clothing items come to life.
Experiment with different teas to make old clothing items come to life. | Source

12. Give Old Clothes New Life

If you have an off-white tee or other clothing you don't find fun to wear anymore, give it new life with used tea! Here's how you can do it:

  1. Use three black tea bags for every two cups (1/2 liter) of boiling water. Let it steep for 20 minutes.
  2. Allow it to cool before soaking your clothing in the mixture.
  3. Stir the clothes as it is soaking to get even staining. Leave it for at least 15 minutes before giving it a quick rinse in clean water.
  4. Hang your clothes out to dry.

The results will vary, but your top should be between a light coffee and off-beige color. It depends on the material of the top, the strength of the tea, and how long the clothes soaked in the solution. To get a darker shade, soak it for a longer period of time.

Try something fun and tie the tee with rubber bands to get the tie-dye look! Try different teas to see what colors you can get from various types.

  • Don't forget to wash this top separate from other clothing, as the 'tea dye' might run.

My wooden box before (L) and after (R) given the used tea leaves and tea bags treatment.
My wooden box before (L) and after (R) given the used tea leaves and tea bags treatment. | Source

13. Clean Wooden Furniture and Flooring

Tannic acid in black tea can serve as a polishing agent that gives a new shine to wooden furniture and flooring.

Instructions

  1. Boil three black tea bags in one liter of water.
  2. Soak a soft cloth into this cooled tea solution.
  3. After wringing it out to remove excess liquid, wipe the wooden cabinet (or any hardwood flooring or wooden furniture).

I used a strong tea solution, and my wooden cabinet came out feeling sticky. I suggest using a weak tea solution and applying it often for visible results.

My Heliconia and Fern tree that received used tea leaves and/or tea brew treatment.
My Heliconia and Fern tree that received used tea leaves and/or tea brew treatment. | Source

14. Use Tea Leaves as Fertilizer

My friend used tea leaves for his garden for years, and he attests to its effectiveness. I tried this only recently. Tea leaves are rich in nitrogen, which is required for plant growth and makes it suitable as fertilizer.

  • You can also use the remnant of your cooled brewed tea to water your plant.
  • If you mix these waste tea leaves with other organic wastes, you can turn it into compost or use it as potting mix.
  • Tea is also mildly acidic, so it will be useful for plants that need acidic soil or if you need to neutralize basic soil.
  • Another use for tea leaves or tea brew is to water rose plants to help them produce spectacular blooms.

Add lemons to your green tea bath for a fresh citrus smell!
Add lemons to your green tea bath for a fresh citrus smell! | Source

15. Take a Tea Bath

Tea leaves contain a good amount of nutrients. By adding the used tea bags or tea leaves to your water, you can enjoy tea bath or spa in the comfort of your own home. Use green tea for this therapy.

Add leftover tea to your skincare routine for boosted effects.
Add leftover tea to your skincare routine for boosted effects. | Source

16. Upgrade Your Facial Routine

If you use a facial steamer as part of your beauty regimen, try adding chamomile tea to your water solution to act as skin booster.

Pour out a few cups of tea. Keep one to drink and another to wash your face with in the morning!
Pour out a few cups of tea. Keep one to drink and another to wash your face with in the morning! | Source

17. Treat Acne

If you have acne, wash your face with green tea to help reduce and cure acne.

Sleep better and relieve a few health issues while you snooze.
Sleep better and relieve a few health issues while you snooze. | Source

18. Make a Tea Pillow

If you visit a tea plantation or have access to a large quantity of tea leaves, then make a tea pillow. By stuffing tea leaves into a pillowcase and sleeping on it, you can relieve problems such as insomnia, headache, and blood pressure issues. This tea pillow can also act as a sleep enhancer.

19. Dye Fabric

Keep your sink squeaky clean for guests with this handy trick.
Keep your sink squeaky clean for guests with this handy trick. | Source

20. Clean the Sink

Fellow reader shami327 uses teabags to wash their sink and make it shine. They also mentioned that it removes any foul smells around your home.

Quickly reduce and eliminate eye styes with tea bags.
Quickly reduce and eliminate eye styes with tea bags. | Source

21. Cure Eye Styes

Fellow reader Just Ask Susan uses tea bags to cure eye styes. She mentioned that they will disappear after several days of application. She has been using this technique for years, and it works.

Have Fun!

Try all these ideas and have fun! Let me know what works for you below.

Questions & Answers

    © 2012 Mazlan

    Comments

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      • greatstuff profile imageAUTHOR

        Mazlan 

        6 years ago from Malaysia

        @shami327: Thank you for sharing this tip. I will include it in my article.

      • greatstuff profile imageAUTHOR

        Mazlan 

        6 years ago from Malaysia

        @teaches12345 3: I am pleased this hub inspired you do start saving and reuse the teabags. Let us know how it turns out. Thanks for the votes and share. Always enjoyed your visit and encouraging words.

      • shami327 profile image

        shami327 

        6 years ago from Dubai UAE

        You can use tea bags to wash your sink, it helps to keep it shining and also removes any foul smell :)

      • teaches12345 profile image

        Dianna Mendez 

        6 years ago

        I am going to start saving my used tea bags to use in shoes. Didn't know there was so much usage for tea. Especially like the cures it helps with like acne -- this is great for young kids in puberty to know. Voted way up and shared.

      • dl53acy profile image

        dl53acy 

        6 years ago from East Texas

        Awesome information greatstuff and I will definitely try tea leaves on my plants, they are growing pretty good now but if the tea-leaves can enhance they're growth even more that would be awesome! Thanks for sharing! :)

      • leahlefler profile image

        Leah Lefler 

        6 years ago from Western New York

        I had no idea tea could be used to clean wood or to deodorize shoes! This is really interesting and useful, greatstuff! I'm off to grab a few tea bags and try some of these wonderful ideas!

      • greatstuff profile imageAUTHOR

        Mazlan 

        6 years ago from Malaysia

        @dinkan53: I am glad you will find this hub interesting & informative. Hope you will enjoy the barbecue. Thanks for the votes and Share.

        @Movie Master : Thanks for the compliment, the votes and Share.

        @Deepak Chaturvedi : Tea has many benefits and it is such a waste to throw it away! You should try them.

        @LaThing: Tea is truly greatstuff and the puffy eye is a cool way to unwind and remove the puffiness. Glad you will be trying it. Thanks for the votes.

        @Just Ask Susan: This is an interesting info, thanks for sharing. I am sure other readers will find this additional information useful.

      • Just Ask Susan profile image

        Susan Zutautas 

        6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Great hub! I use tea bags when I get an eye sty. Boil the tea bag and when it has cooled enough that you can stand it on your skin without burning it place the tea bag on the eye that has the sty. You made need to repeat this several times before the sty is totally gone. Have been doing this for years and it works really well.

      • LaThing profile image

        LaThing 

        6 years ago from From a World Within, USA

        Hey, greatstuff, this was really great stuff! LOL

        Seriously though, this is very useful, I will be trying the puffy eye patch for sure :)

        Thanks for the info., voting up and useful!

      • Deepak Chaturvedi profile image

        Deepak Chaturvedi 

        6 years ago from New Delhi, India

        No one can think to use teabegs in others way as you suggeted.thanks to share.

      • Deepak Chaturvedi profile image

        Deepak Chaturvedi 

        6 years ago from New Delhi, India

        The teabags could be used in other way wonderful!

      • Movie Master profile image

        Movie Master 

        6 years ago from United Kingdom

        An excellent, well written and interesting article - I didn't realise the tea bag was so versatile!

        Thank you, voted up and shared.

      • dinkan53 profile image

        dinkan53 

        6 years ago from India

        I really enjoyed reading your article here. It was very interesting and informative. I love barbeques and next time surely going to marinate the meat with tea bags. Voted up and more. Shared.

      • greatstuff profile imageAUTHOR

        Mazlan 

        6 years ago from Malaysia

        @tobusiness : Compost using used tea leaves or tea bags are very useful and I had good results from using them. Thanks for the compliment.

        @Om, good to hear from you again. Pillowcase with tea leaves is a wonderful idea and make a good present as well! Should try it.

      • Om Paramapoonya profile image

        Om Paramapoonya 

        6 years ago

        Wow, I never knew we could use tea bags for cleaning purposes. I like the idea of stuffing a pillow case with tea leaves, too. Thanks for sharing this wonderful hub!

      • tobusiness profile image

        Jo Alexis-Hagues 

        6 years ago from Lincolnshire, U.K

        Well written useful hub, great information. I've tried the used tea leaves for compost before, but thanks for the reminder.

      • greatstuff profile imageAUTHOR

        Mazlan 

        6 years ago from Malaysia

        @jennzie; It is amazing isn't it? That I had thrown away so many tea bags and tea leaves in the past, sounds so wasteful. Now I recycle all my tea bags and even went to the extend of asking restaurants to keep them for me!

      • jennzie profile image

        Jenn 

        6 years ago from Pennsylvania

        Very informative hub! I didn't realize that tea bags had so many uses. Voted up!

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