20 Easy Ways to Reuse Tea Bags
Whether you like it hot or iced, black or green, a cup of tea can make a refreshing and healthy drink. But when you’re done brewing your tea, what should you do with the tea bag? Throw it away? No way! Instead, check out all of these awesome ways to reuse tea bags.
Just like orange peels and coffee grounds, there are several genius ways you can reuse tea bags so nothing goes to waste.
Tea Bags and Plastic
While the waste created from tea bags might seem insignificant, they actually hide a pretty scary secret: many tea bags contain plastic.
Since they’re made with plastic, they won’t completely decompose when they’re thrown away. As a result, they simply become more of the millions of pounds of plastic waste that wind up in landfills and our waterways every year.
However, since the plastic used in tea bags is so small, it often turns into microplastics. Microplastics have been found pretty much everywhere in the world, including ice in the Arctic and the deepest ocean trenches.
Microplastics have even been found in human blood, and researchers have no idea what kind of long-term health impacts we might have to deal with as a result.
When you’re shopping for tea and you want to ensure you’re not consuming toxins that leach from the plastic, it’s important to either look for tea bags made without plastic or zero waste tea brands. Loose leaf tea makes some of the best zero waste tea.
If you decide to go with loose leaf tea, you simply need to pick up some of these top reusable tea bags to make a safe and convenient cup of tea.
No matter which option you choose, don’t forget to ensure you’re using an eco-friendly and non-toxic tea kettle so no dangerous chemicals are leaching into your water. Then you can then use these neat ideas to reuse either loose leaf tea or the tea bags.
Related: 17 Sustainable Products You Must Have in Your Kitchen
1. Compost Them
The easiest way to reuse tea bags after you’ve used them is to compost them. Whether you’re using plastic-free tea bags or loose leaf tea, you can simply toss them in your compost pile and let them naturally breakdown into nutrient-rich organic material you can use in your garden.
Tea is an excellent source of nitrogen and will quickly breakdown in your compost pile. The strings on tea bags are typically made of cotton and also compostable.
Some tea bags have metal staples to attach the string to the bag. I personally remove the staple before composting, but I know other gardeners who leave the staple on since it’s so small and will eventually rust and disintegrate.
2. Feed Your Garden
We already discussed composting tea bags, but there’s another way you can use them in your garden. You’re not the only one who likes to drink tea. Your garden plants do as well!
Simply brew some tea using old tea bags. When the tea has cooled down, pour the water on your plants to give them an extra kick of nutrients.
Just keep in mind that this typically works best with plants that prefer slightly more acidic soil.
Related: The Best Vegetable Plants for Beginner Gardeners
3. Feed Your Houseplants
Instead of garden plants, do you have houseplants that like acidic soil? If so, open up used tea bags and sprinkle the tea leaves around the base of your plants.
You can also place used tea bags in the bottom of your pots to help fertilize and retain moisture at the same time.
Related: The Best Pet-Safe Houseplants That Also Purify the Air
4. Relieve Under-Eye Bags and Dark Circles
You can refresh the skin around your eyes using old tea bags. After you make your tea, stick the bags in the refrigerator to cool them down.
Anytime you need to banish dark circles, bags, or puffiness around your eyes, simply place a cold tea bag over your closed eyelids for about 5 minutes. This can help soothe the skin, reduce water retention, and decrease inflammation.
This trick works particularly well with green tea and chamomile tea.
Related: Amazing Medicinal Herbs You Should Be Growing Right Now
5. Soak in a Tea Bath
You don’t have to go out and buy fancy bath bombs to create a soothing bath. Instead, just reuse tea bags! The tannic acid in tea helps gently exfoliate and soften skin.
After you fill your bathtub with warm water, throw in a few tea bags to create a relaxing bath that will soothe your skin and leave it smelling great.
Ginger tea and chamomile tea are two great options to use.
Related: This Highly Effective DIY Tub and Shower Cleaner Uses Just 2 Ingredients!
6. Clean Your Windows
You don’t have to use conventional glass cleaners that can contain toxic ingredients to get your windows and mirrors sparkling clean. Instead, simply rub a slightly damp used tea bag on your glass surfaces. Then just wipe the surface clean with an organic cotton unpaper towel.
(Wondering why I only recommend these type of towels for cleaning? You can find out here!)
The tea bags will help get rid of fingerprints, dirt, and grime and leave you with a streak-free shine!
Looking for a non-toxic window cleaner you can use when you don’t have some old tea bags laying around? Then be sure to check out this post on the best eco-friendly glass cleaners.
7. Use Them When You’re Cooking
Tea bags can do so much more in the kitchen than make a cup of tea. If you’re looking to add some extra flavor to your meals, look no further than your tea bags.
When you’re boiling water to make things like pasta, rice, grains, or oatmeal, toss in an old tea bag to give your food some added flavor.
Green tea gives a rich taste to rice dishes, and lemon tea is fantastic when making pasta. With so many different flavors of tea out there, your possibilities are almost endless.
Related: How to Easily Create a More Eco-Friendly Kitchen
8. Absorb Offensive Odors
Yucky odors can pop up all over your house, including the trash can, litter box, refrigerator, and even your freezer. The good news is tea bags can help you get rid of the smells.
Sprinkle used tea leaves in the bottom of the trash can to absorb odors. Keep an open container of used tea bags in the corner of your refrigerator, freezer, or next to the litter box to eliminate those odors.
You can even put a used, dried tea bag in each of your gym shoes to help get rid of any odors coming from them.
Related: How to Make a Homemade Natural Air Freshener That Smells Amazing
9. Remove Onion Odor From Your Hands
Chopping up onion or garlic can leave behind pretty strong odors on your hands. Sometimes even washing your hands with soap and water won’t completely get rid of the scent.
Fortunately, you can quickly and easily remove these odors by rubbing a used tea bag over your hands.
You can even use tea bags to remove cooking odors from the air. Simply boil several bags with a few cloves and a sprinkling of cinnamon for about 20 minutes.
Related: The Best Non-Toxic and Eco-Friendly Air Fresheners
10. Help Ease Razor Burn
Sometimes you might shave a little too close when you’re using a razor and end up with razor burn. Rather than suffer with the uncomfortable pain, rub a used tea bag over the area to help ease the pain and soothe your irritated skin.
Related: The Best Sustainable Shave Soap for a Luxuriously Smooth Shave
11. Use Them as a Natural Dye
If you’ve ever accidentally spilled tea on a white shirt or tablecloth, you know it acts as a highly effective natural dye! However, you can dye more than just fabric with tea.
You can also reuse tea bags to naturally dye eggs, paper, and even your hair. Yep, that’s right! As long as your natural hair color is dark, you can run a damp tea bag over your gray hairs to bring back some color.
12. Add Shine to Your Hair
Not only can you dye your hair with old tea bags, but you can also use them to add some natural shine to your locks. A tea rinse is a great way to remove product buildup from your hair and scalp.
Simply soak 3 or 4 used tea bags in a cup of warm water and pour it over your head after you finish shampooing and conditioning, but don’t rinse it off. Black tea is great for anyone with darker hair shades, and chamomile can help bring back brightness to lighter hair shades.
Related: Naturally Refresh Your Hair With the Best Non-Toxic Dry Shampoo
13. Ease Poison Ivy Rash
If you accidentally come into contact with poison ivy, old tea bags can help provide some relief. Tea can cut through urishol, which is the oily sap in poison ivy that causes the itchy, painful rash.
Use enough chilled used tea bags to cover the rash, and secure them in place using a bandage. Leave them in place for around 5 minutes, then remove the bandages and tea bags and let the skin air dry. Repeat as needed.
Related: How to Naturally Ease Eczema (Works for Babies and Adults!)
14. Refresh Wood Furniture
If you have some wood furniture that’s looking a little rough, you don’t have to toss it. Just use some tea bags to refresh it!
Dampen an old tea bag and rub it over the scratches and discolored spots on your furniture to bring back some color. You can then use this natural furniture polish to help keep your wooden pieces looking rich and glowing.
15. Naturally Repel Mice
Anytime you have some unwanted critters in your house, you don’t have to immediately turn to toxic chemicals to get rid of them. Most animals have a highly sensitive sense of smell, and they absolutely can’t stand certain scents that don’t bother us at all.
Ants despise the smell of cinnamon, citrus scents are great for keeping away spiders, and mice don’t like the smell of tea!
If you happen to spot the furry little rodents in your home, leave some old tea bags in spots where they’re likely making their way inside. Peppermint tea works best because mice also hate that smell, and they’ll stay away.
16. Control Houseplant Pests
In addition to keeping away household pests, tea bags are also useful for controlling unwanted bugs on your houseplants.
Tea’s moderate antimicrobial properties can help get rid of gnats and prevent some common plant diseases. Simply sprinkle the contents of the tea bags around the base of your houseplants to enrich their soil and drive away bugs.
Related: How to Make Effective Homemade Pesticides for Your Plants
17. Tenderize Meat
Tea makes a fantastic meat tenderizer because of its tannin content. Black tea works best as an all-natural meat tenderizer because it contains the most tannin.
To tenderize meat with tea, open the tea bag, sprinkle the tea leaves over the meat, and work it in. You can also create a marinade by warming up loose-leaf black tea in a pot of water, and letting it steep for around 5 minutes.
Then strain the leaves from the water, and add some brown sugar. Put your meat in a Dutch oven, pour in the tea so that it covers the meat, and bake it.
18. Make Tea-Flavored Ice
Are you tired of ice cubes melting in your iced tea and making it taste watery? Then make some tea-flavored ice!
Simply steep used tea bags in hot water to make a weak cup of tea, pour into an ice cube tray, and stick in the freezer. When your tea-flavored ice cubes start to melt, they won’t dilute your iced tea as much as regular ice cubes.
19. Help Ease Bug Bites
If you’re enjoying the great outdoors and suddenly find yourself covered in itchy bug bites, a used tea bag can bring you some relief. Simply stick a damp tea bag in the refrigerator to cool it down, then rub it over the itchy spots on your skin.
Chamomile is your best option because it’s known to reduce inflammation and the oils in the tea can help ease itching and redness.
Before you head outside again, be sure to take a look at these top natural bug repellents that actually work. You’ll find options for kids and adults, so everyone in the family can be protected without applying toxic chemicals to their skin.
Related: Create a Backyard Oasis With These Top Mosquito-Repelling Plants
20. Clean Your Fireplace
If you need to heat your home with a fireplace, you know how messy it can get when it’s time to clean it. Fortunately, used tea bags can make this task a lot easier and cleaner.
Open a few wet tea bags and sprinkle their contents on the cold ashes. Wait about 10 minutes before sweeping up the mess.
The damp tea clings to the ashes and prevents them from blowing everywhere as you sweep. They can even help absorb some of the sooty odor from your fireplace.
The Best Ways to Reuse Tea Bags Around the House
Thanks to these creative ways to reuse tea bags, you never have to throw away another tea bag ever again. Instead, you can enjoy a great cup of tea and reduce waste all at the same time!
More Helpful Eco-Friendly Tips
Did you enjoy learning about these unique ways to reuse tea bags around your house? Interested in even more tips that can help you live a sustainable life? Then please be sure to take a look at some of our other popular posts:
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- 55+ Outstanding Alternatives to Wasteful Single-Use Plastic
- The Top Non-Toxic Baking Sheets for Healthier Cooking
- How to Cool Your House Without Using Air Conditioning