Tea is considered to be the most widely consumed beverage in the world (next to water, of course) and it makes sense, because tea has been around for a VERY long time. Legend has it that tea was originally discovered in 2737 B.C. by the Emperor of China! Not only is tea the world’s favorite beverage, but it has plenty of great uses outside the tea cup as well.
Tea has actually been used for centuries as a health and beauty staple, thanks to its rich antioxidant and tannin content. These things give tea anti-inflammatory, hydrating, and nourishing properties that can be utilized in a number of different ways.
Here are 22 great reasons you should never be caught without a tea bag or two in your kitchen cabinets:
Tea leaves can help absorb odors and won’t leave behind an overpowering scent. Place a tea bag with a favorite scent or flavor (peppermint or lemon would be good choices!) in your drawers, closets, car, or even in your shoes to help keep things smelling fresh.
Refresh your carpets
Sprinkle dry tea leaves along with some baking soda onto dingy, smelly carpets and allow to sit for 15-20 minutes. The tea and baking soda will absorb smells and dirt to leave your carpets feeling and smelling super fresh and clean!
Hydrate and soften dry skin
Tea is your skin’s new best friend! Cooled tea can be applied to a freshly cleansed face to soothe dry skin. Use a small spray bottle to spritz it onto your skin, or simply apply it with a cotton ball or pad. Any kind of tea will serve this purpose, but the antioxidants in green tea are particularly effective for rehydrating your skin.
Soothe a sunburn
Despite our best efforts to wear sunscreen, sometimes we are just going to BLOW IT and get a doozie of a sunburn. Click here to read my post about using tea as a great sunburn soother!
Homemade Glass Cleaner
Re-brew used tea bags and spray the weak tea onto windows, mirrors, and other glass surfaces to loosen up dirt, grime, fingerprints, and other gunk. Be sure to wipe away with a clean, lint-free cloth to minimize streaks and dust particles.
Steam your pores
Place a couple of tea bags into a large bowl of hot, steamy water and place your face over the bowl for 5-10 minutes. This will open up your pores and allow the great antioxidant properties of the tea to get in and help tone and hydrate your skin.
Renew wood surfaces
Use weak tea made from pre-brewed bags to clean and shine hardwood floors and polish wood furniture.
Reduce undereye circles
Place used tea bags in the refrigerator until cool, then place them on your eyes as cold compresses to help eliminate those dark circles under your eyes. The caffeine content of the tea will shrink the blood vessels around your eyes, which reduces their dark, puffy appearance. The antioxidants in the tea can also help stimulate good blood circulation.
Rust-proof your cookware
Wiping the surface of your cast-iron cookware with a damp black tea bag after each use will keep them in top condition. Compounds in tea coat the pan with a protective layer, warding off rust-causing oxidation.
Have a relaxing soak
Place one or two bags of tea leaves in your bath for a relaxing and rejuvenating bathtime experience. The antioxidants in the tea leaves will help rehydrate and soften your skin, and the scent of the tea can be greatly relaxing, especially if you use a Jasmine or Chamomile tea!
Squeeze out excess water and let tea bags dry thoroughly. Dip dried tea bags in melted wax. Let excess wax drain from tea bag. Arrange waxed tea bags on tray to harden. These light easily and burn bright!
Treat rashes and bug bites
The great outdoors can often leave us with unpleasant itchy rashes and bug bites. A used and cooled tea bag can help take the sting out of a small rash or insect bite and reduce inflammation.
Tenderize tough meat
Even the toughest cuts of meat will melt in your mouth after you marinate them in black tea. Place 4 tablespoons black tea leaves in a pot of warm water and steep for 5 minutes. Strain the leaves and stir in 1/2 cup brown sugar until it dissolves. Set aside. Place up to 3 pounds of seasoned meat in a Dutch oven, pour the liquid over the meat and cook in a 325 degree oven until meat is tender, about 90 minutes. For other tips on turning a cheap steak into a juicy tender one click here!
Make a soothing mouthwash
To ease a toothache or other mouth pain, rinse your mouth with a cup of peppermint tea mixed with a pinch or two of salt. Peppermint is an antiseptic and contains menthol, which alleviates pain on contact with skin surfaces.
Feed your houseplants
Any leftover tea or tea leaves can be used to give your houseplants a boost! Tea contains nitrogen, which is a great fertilizer for leafy plants such as the ones you keep in your home. Water your plant with the last of the cool tea from your pot, or you can add the tea leaves straight into the soil around your plant.
Shrink a wart
This home wart removal remedy has been used for generations. The antioxidant properties found in green tea inhibit wart growth. Place a used and cooled tea bag directly on the wart and secure with tape or a bandage. After 15 minutes, replace with a second tea bag and soak the wart for another 15 to 20 minutes. After several days, you’ll notice the wart will turn black, and fall off.
Dissolve greasy messes
Place a tea bag in a dirty pot or pan with hot water and allow it to soak overnight. The tannins in the tea will help to loosen the grime and make your dish a breeze to clean in the morning.
Restore shine to your hair
Brew a couple of cups of tea and allow it to cool completely. Before a shower, pour the tea into your hair until it is completely saturated, and allow it to soak in for around 10 minutes. Then hop in the shower and shampoo and condition your hair as normal for shiny, smooth, and healthy hair! You can also use tea as a final rinse for a leave-in treatment.
Stop a cut from bleeding
Accidentally knick yourself while shaving? Instead of reaching for a band-aid, try a used tea bag and hold it against the injured area till it stops bleeding. The idea behind using tea bags to staunch blood flow is that the tannins in the tea accelerate blood clotting, making wounds heal faster.
Brew a strong pot of tea to use as a beautiful dye! Dye some cardstock and allow it to try for beautiful paper for event invitations, or use tea as an unconventional dye for Easter eggs. You can also use strong tea as a watercolor paint to create beautiful designs.
Relieve pain from injections
Try wetting a tea bag and placing it over the site of a recent inoculation site. Hold it gently in place until the pain subsides. The tannic acid in the tea will soothe the soreness.
Feed your compost
Brewed tea and tea bags help aid the decomposition process of your compost, so make sure your used tea and teabags go into your compost and not into your garbage!
Moist tea bags can be kept at room temperature for a day at the most. Otherwise, you will want to refrigerate them to prevent mold and bacteria growth.
If you don’t want your used tea bags to end up as trash, then these effective methods might just be your cup of tea! :-)
Do you “teacycle?”