Inspired by Jessie’s comment on my Use It Up Challenge post, I started of thinking of ways you can reuse old tea bags instead of throwing them out. Turns out there are quite a few things you can do with used tea bags. Here are five of ways to reuse them:
1. Feed Plants–There are several ways people use tea to feed plants. Some people break open the bags and sprinkle the tea around the soil of the plant. Others brew the tea a second time and water the plants with weak tea. Still others bury the bag in the ground or add it to their compost bin. Either way, the key is to give the minerals to the plants. This works best with acid-loving plants, like roses.
2. Deodorize–Instead of a box of perfectly good baking soda in your fridge, why not used tea? Stick the bags in a porous container like a cotton bag and let the tea absorb the odors of the fridge for you. (Another site I read said to dry the tea and mix it in with your cat litter to absorb the odor. I’m a little skeptical this would work, but it couldn’t hurt.)
3. Soothe Your Skin—When I was a kid, I tried a lot of home remedies like egg-white masks and cucumber on the eyes. Used tea bags on the eyes came up a lot. Apparently the tea can soothe the skin as well as it soothes the soul– the tannic acid is anti-inflammatory. Just put a cool tea bag on your eyes for 10-15 minutes. Used tea bags also work for mosquito bites and other small inflammations. Some people even save tea bags to make a tea bath to soak in.
4. Dye Fabric–Tea has long been used to dye fabric. It gives the fabric an antique or sepia tinge that can be quite cool. So used tea bags can be a way to reinvigorate graying whites or spice up a craft project. Here’s instructions of how to do it.
5. Make More Tea–You know, tea is expensive. According to my price book, it costs $3-$4 an ounce. So one way to make the bag go further is this: brew a cup of tea, save the bag. Brew a second cup of tea, save the bag. Then take those two bags together and brew a third cup of tea. Voila! Free tea. I have no idea if this tastes good. I tried something like that with coffee and it was gross. But I’m a bit of a coffee snob–if you like weak tea, I could see this working just fine.
Personally, I think I might use the tea to deodorize my fridge. I plan to save a few bags, dry them out, and stick them in the back of the fridge in some sort of container. It seems like a better thing to use than baking soda, which can certainly be put to better uses.
How have you reused your old tea bags?