What to do with tea bags other than making tea…

By Jeanne Ongiyo

The lifespan of a tea bag is usually short and precise…out of the sachet, into the cup with piping hot water and in to the dustbin. While others would use the same tea bag to brew more than one cup of tea, here are some of the top 17 alternative uses of tea bags that you probably would never have known.

1. Add flavour to pasta and grains
For those looking to tickle their taste-buds, hang the pre-used tea bags over a pot of water as it comes to boil so as to flavour the water. Remove the used tea bags then add your pasta or grains to the flavoured water. Here, a variety of tea bags ranging from camomile or green tea can be used.

grains

An assortment of grains (Photo courtesy of globalgrains.co.uk)

2. Degrease dirty dishes
Soaking dishes in warm water with a couple of previously used tea bags helps break up the grease on dirty dishes making cleaning easier without the use of harsh chemicals or large amounts of soap. The tea also helps on loosening any food stuck to the plate hence saving on the time used to scrub the dishes.

3. Homemade glass cleaner
Re-brew the used tea bags then spray the mixture on mirrors, windows and car windscreens. This loosens up grease, smoke, fingerprints and other stains. Wipe them off gently with a clean lint-free piece of cloth to minimize on streaks while wiping and the re-occurrence of dust particles on the previously cleaned surfaces.

glass

Wine spilled on a rug (Photo courtesy of goodhousekeeping.com)

4. Clean carpets and rugs
For best results, store used tea bags in a container of cold water in the refrigerator so that they do not go bad until you have stored enough to cover the entire carpet or desired rug. Once achieved, open the tea bags and let the contents dry out until they are slightly damp. Sprinkle the almost dry tea leaves on the carpet until they dry off completely then vacuum them or sweep them away once odours have been eliminated.

5. Air Freshener
Tea leaves are generally known to absorb odours, homemade air fresheners made of tea bags are sure to leave rooms smelling great. Add your preferred choice of scented oil to the pre-used tea bags and use the tags to suspend them above air in a room. Feel free to add the oil to the preferred standard whenever it runs out or whenever tea bags are changed.

6. Hand scrub
Tea bags can be used to get rid of lingering scents after handling food with strong smells like fish, onions and garlic. Scrub hands with pre-used tea bags to remove such scents.

7. Paper and cloth dye
Get rid of that boring white paper or pieces of cloth by using tea bags. Brew the pre-used tea bags in water then gently dub this water on the pieces of paper and cloth once the mixture is cool.

8. Antioxidant bath
Because tea leaves contain antioxidants, bathing in warm water where pre-used tea bags have been pre-soaked in the bath water will yield great results for one’s skin. Hang the tea bags over the faucet or dip them directly in the bath tub to create a nourishing tea bath.

9. Cure for smelly feet
For those embarrassed about their smelly feet, tea bags are here to rescue you. Add used tea bags to warm water then soak feet to neutralize foot odours, soften calluses, eliminate instances of foot rot and nourish the skin.

smelly feet

Smelly feet (Photo courtesy of http://www.clipartkid.com)

10. Draw out infections
Applying warm pre-used brewed tea bags onto skin affected by acne, warts or eczema helps improve the skin condition by drawing out the infection from the skin. Tea leaves get into the pores relieving the pain from the affected area and helps speed up the healing process.

11. Soothe irritated skin
Cool, moist tea bags are an excellent and safe way to naturally soothe irritated skin. They can be placed over sore eyes to relieve discomfort. They can also be massaged over sun burnt skin to cool the skin and reduce inflammation. Moistened tea bags can be rubbed over bee stings and insect bites to relieve pain and remove toxins that result from the bites.

12. Condition hair
Conditioning previously shampooed hair with weakly brewed tea bags strengthens that hair from the roots all the way to the ends. The tea bags open up the pores to ensure the proper circulation of air and moisture throughout the hair once washed.

13. Eliminate bad breath
Twice-used tea bags can be brewed into a mild drink that acts as an all-natural mouthwash. This mild tea can be gurgled after meals or even taken with meals to make the smells that come from the mouth after eating milder.

Bad_breath_cartoon

Tea bags can help prevent cases of bad breath (Photo courtesy of tonsilcure.com)

14. Deter household pests
Household pests like mice do not particularly fancy the smell of tea hence to get rid of them it is advisable to tuck used tea bags into pantries, cupboards and inlets where they are prone to hide. Further soaking the tea bags in peppermint oil deters insects like spiders and mosquitoes from the house.

15. Manure for your garden
Used tea bags not only act as a cheap source of readily available manure but also once incorporated in the garden, can be used to protect the plants from a variety of fungal infections. You could also add previously used tea bags to a compost heap to boost the nutrient content.

16. Neutralize household odours
It is now common knowledge that tea absorbs smells hence appropriate to remove lingering smells around the house. Tea bags thrown in the cat litter box, the refrigerator or even in dustbins helps absorb smells prone to come from these areas overtime.

17. Renew wood surfaces
As an alternative to wood polish, used tea bags once brewed again can be used to polish wooden furniture and surfaces to restore the lost shining effect.

These are just but a few of the hundreds of uses of tea bags aside from making tea. So the next time you are about to throw of used tea bags think of how much you would do with the commodity you now consider trash and find an alternative use.

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