9 Reasons Why You Should Stop Throwing Away Used Tea Bags
A cup of chamomile tea has kickstarted my morning routine for the past few months. And after I've savored every drop of the soothing liquid (occasionally sweetened with local honey), my used tea bag just ends up in the garbage.
But not anymore — not after learning all of the ways to give used tea sachets a second life. And once you read about these waste-reduction ideas, you'll think twice before tossing them, too.
Unlock the whole host of magical powers in tea leaves of all varieties—we're talking about a way to DIY glass cleaner, eye de-puffer, and even give simple grains a flavor boost! So after your midday cup of green tea or soothing nighttime mug of chai, set aside your used tea bags to help in cooking, cleaning, and beauty routines.
Scroll down for 9 simple DIYs that make the most of the benefits of tea leaves.
(Note: To store, we recommend keeping moist tea bags at room temperature for a few days at most. If you're saving them for longer, pop them in a container in the fridge to prevent mold and bacteria growth. And just to be certain, give the bags a "sniff" test before using to ensure they haven't gone bad.)
How to re-use tea bags for cooking
Add a hint of flavor to rice or grains
Lemon, jasmine, or chai tea are all great for infusing flavor into dishes. Simply hang your used tea bags in the water while boiling, then remove them before adding in the grains. Try adding jasmine tea to your side of rice at dinner, or infusing oatmeal with the warm spice of chai tea.
Tenderize tough meat
The tannins in black tea will tenderize meat, so it makes for a great marinade. Brew a few bags, then pour the black tea over the meat just as your putting it in the oven.
How to re-use tea bags for cleaning
First, split open your tea bag and let the leaves dry out. Then you can spread the dried mixture in any particularly smelly place: the bottom of the garbage can, the litter box, or even well-worn areas carpets (just sprinkle, then vacuum). Pro tip: Peppermint or cinnamon will smell especially great.
De-grease pots and pans
Can you break up stubborn grease without using harsh chemicals? Yes, you can — with tea bags! Soak greasy dishes and utensils in the sink with a few used tea bags and let them sit for a few hours. The tea will loosen stuck-on food and break up grease — and leave you with very little scrubbing to do.
Make homemade glass cleaner
This natural alternative just calls for used tea bags and a spritzer bottle filled with water. Spray the weak tea onto windows and mirrors and watch as it loosens up unsightly dirt, grime, and fingerprints. Then wipe away with newspaper or a lint-free cloth and see the shiny results for yourself.
How to re-use tea bags in your beauty routine
Make a hair rinse
Tea is an excellent (and natural) way to remove built up product from hair. Simply soak three or four used tea bags in warm water and pour the mixture over your head after shampooing and conditioning. No need to rinse.
Make a face scrub
When used as an exfoliant, loose tea can help shrink large pores and provide a healthy glow. If you're craving a refresh, pop open a tea bag and pour the contents into a bowl with a heaping teaspoon of honey. Gently rub the scrub onto your face in smooth, circular motions. After 5 minutes you can rinse it off with warm water and enjoy that fresh-faced feel.
De-puff tired eyes
No, it's not the same iconic spa look of cucumber slices over the eyes (I think of the Legally Blonde spa scene every time), but tea bags can help give your eyes a bit of rejuvenation.
After 15 to 20 minutes of resting on your eyes, the tannins in tea leaves can improve circulation and the caffeine can reduce dark circles. Plus, if you chill the use tea bags beforehand (place them in the fridge for about 20 minutes), you'll also benefit from swelling and puffiness going down. Pro tip: Green and chamomile are great for reducing inflammation.
Add them to your bath
Lavender, peppermint, and chamomile tea add an aromatherapy component to your soak, not to mention tons of natural health benefits.
Tea infuses bathwater with antioxidants, helps reduce inflammation, and makes your skin extra smooth. And if you're not a bath person, a good old-fashioned foot soak will soften tough skin and reduce any aches and pains you may have.