As you've probably read in our Change Your Tea and Change the Environment article, tea is the second-most-consumed beverage in the world after water. Tea is so popular, in fact, that it contributes fifteen hundred tons of waste to landfills each year. So if you're a tea drinker who's also concerned about the environment, you'll be happy to know you can use brewed tea bags in a number of ways before throwing them into the garbage.
RE-USING TEA BAGS FOR HEALTH AND BEAUTY
- If you have a bruise, sunburn, bee sting, mosquito bite, or cold sore put a cool, damp tea bag on the affected area and use like a compress. The tea will bring comforting relief, reduce inflammation, and promote healing.
- The tannin in tea also helps treat plantar warts. Just press a wet, warmed tea bag directly on the area for ten to fifteen minutes and let the skin dry naturally. If you repeat this treatment for a few days the wart will eventually disappear completely.
- Looking for a natural way to soften your skin? Just run your bathwater over some used tea bags and have an indulgent, restoring soak that will leave you with impossibly soft skin. Any kind of tea will serve this purpose, but the antioxidants in green tea are particularly effective for rehydrating your skin.
- Warm or cold, tea bags help revitalize tired, achy, or puffy eyes. So lie back with brewed, refrigerated tea bags over your eyes and the tannins in the tealeaves will stimulate blood circulation and diminish the bags and dark circles under your eyes.
- Soothe razor burn and relieve nicks and cuts by pressing a wet tea bag to your skin. Not only will the tea take some of the sting out, it will also stop the bleeding.
- Drain a blister or abscess without pain by covering the affected area with a wet tea bag overnight; you'll see results by the time you wake up the next morning.
- If you've just rolled around in some poison ivy, moisten a cotton ball with strongly brewed tea and dab it on your skin to dry up the weepy rash.
- Use tea bags for a DIY, at-home facial that would cost you hundreds at a spa. Simply place a brewed tea bag in a bowl of hot water, position your face above the bowl, and cover your head and the bowl with a towel to hold the steam in. The antioxidants and tannins in the tea will tighten your pores, reduce puffiness, and leave your face glowing!
- Give your feet a daily tea bath that calms, restores, and also eliminates offensive odors! Just boil three or four brewed tea bags in one quart of water for ten minutes. Once the water has cooled enough to be comfortable for your feet, soak them for twenty to thirty minutes.
- Rinse your hands with water and a brewed tea bag to remove food odors, especially onions and fish.
- Warm up a brewed tea bag, take the leaves out of it, roll them in a scrap of fabric, and use as a compress for a painful toothache, canker sore, or fat lip
RE-USING TEA BAGS IN THE KITCHEN
- Cook an incredibly moist turkey by adding a brewed tea bag and a cup of water to the pan. The tannin in the tea is a natural meat tenderizer and adds a unique, delicious flavor.
- Did your dishwasher fail to clean that big, greasy dish of stuck-on lasagna? Just soak the dish overnight with hot water and a few brewed teabags and the tannins from the tea with break down the grease by morning.
- You don't have to buy a box of baking soda just to get rid of the odors in your fridge. A brewed tea bag will do the same thing and can easily be replaced.
RE-USING TEA BAGS AROUND THE HOUSE
- Deodorize stuffy rooms by pouring one quart twice-brewed tea and four tablespoons lemon juice or your favorite essential oil in a spray bottle.
- Clean your dark leather shoes by wiping a damp, brewed tea bag in a circular motion.
- If you're a smoker or have an ashtray out for guests, put a wet tea bag or the leaves from a wet tea bag into the ashtray. When you or your guests ash in the tray, the wet leaves will hold the ash and absorb some of the smell from the smoke.
- The antibacterial contents of tea bags will help neutralize the odor in your litter box, as well. Just sprinkle the dried out contents of a brewed tea bag into the kitty litter.
- If you sprinkle the damp tea leaves from a brewed tea bag over the ashes in your fireplace before cleaning it out, the tea will keep the ashes from rising and making a mess when you lift them out.
- Wipe cast-iron pots and pans with a brewed tea bag to remove and prevent rust.
- Empty the dry contents from several brewed tea bags onto smelly carpets or pet bedding, allow to settle for ten or fifteen minutes, then deodorize the area when you vacuum and leave the refreshing scent of tea behind. This will also deodorize the vacuum cleaner bag at the same time.
- Make your mirrors sparkle and shine by using cooled, twice-brewed tea as a cleaner. Just dip a soft cloth in the tea and use it to wipe away dirt and grime, and then buff dry.
RE-USING TEA BAGS OUTDOORS
- Tear open a brewed tea bag and work the contents into the dirt of acid-loving plants like ferns and roses. The tannic acid and other nutrients will be released when you water the plants, spurring their growth. If these plants are ailing, watering them with cooled, twice-brewed tea will set them on the path to recovery!
- And for healthier potted plants, place a few brewed tea bags over the drainage hole at the bottom of the planter before potting. The tea bags will retain water and leach nutrients to the soil.
- Speed the decomposition process and enrich your compost pile by pouring a few cups of strong, twice-brewed tea into the heap. The liquid tea will hasten decomposition and draw acid-producing bacteria that will create acid-rich compost. Oh, and you can compost any of the used tea bags you can't find use for, as long as you remove the staples first.