If you are anything like me or thousands of other people across the globe, you drink tea on a frequent basis. Here is a question you probably never really thought about: what about all of those leftover tea bags?
I know what you are thinking: “What about those leftover teabags? Aren’t they useless?” If you had asked me that question yesterday, I would have answered with an affirmative “yup!”
Now, though, after researching the subject, I can tell you that those used up bags of tea actually have quite a few applications.
So many, in fact, that you may just want to keep them around instead of instantly throwing them out as soon as you are done steeping them in your boiling water. Especially if you want to save a buck or two!
Let’s go over a few of the amazing and unexpected uses of tea bags, shall we?
1. Get Rid Of Mouth Sores
These are the worst aren’t they? Like little blisters that irritate you every time you move your tongue around. One way to banish these little annoyances is with hydrogen peroxide, but that method is pretty painful (and tastes bad to boot).
Not to mention, that stuff costs money, and why would you want to waste that when you have perfectly good tea bags lying around?
From what I’ve learned, tea bags work nearly as well as other antiseptics in cleaning out cuts and sores in your mouth. All you have to do is apply the bag to the wound in your mouth, and you should see some beneficial changes relatively quickly.
2. Use Them To Clean
We have all heard of using excess coffee filters in lieu of paper towels, right? Well you can use tea bags in a similar manner to wipe off a multitude of surfaces in your home.
You probably won’t want to throw out your sponges just yet, but these little bags are great for small cleaning jobs (like tomato sauce splatter on your pristine kitchen counters).
The amount of money you spend on cleaning supplies can add up, so saving a bit here and there by using tea bags is useful.
3. Heal Your Burns
Tea bags, of the black tea variety especially, seem to do a good job of acting as a salve for sunburns and other kinds of minor skin irritation.
All you have to do is place the bag directly where you’ve been afflicted, and you will feel instant relief.
Best of all, you won’t need to spend your money on any costly ointments or creams!
4. Get Rid Of Puffy Eyes
Whether it’s caused by aging or a lack of sleep, the regions around our eyes can become particularly sensitive. The key is to use tea bags like you would use cucumber slices at some kind of salon.
All you do is place tea bags in some ice-cold water, wait, and place them on top of your closed eyes. Voila! You’ll look ten years younger, and for far less than it costs to go to a salon or to buy some special facial cream.
5. Attack Razor Burn
Razor burn is a pain, but you can do something about it if you keep some used tea bags around. Instead of putting bits of toilet paper on your face to cover up minor nicks and scratches, apply a cool and damp tea bag instead.
It will stop the bleeding, and the antioxidants will help your skin heal.
Beats spending tons of money on aftershave (that stuff burns anyways).
6. Say Goodbye To Acne
Acne is one of the most annoying skin diseases out there. Luckily, you can fight back if you have some green tea bags around. Indeed, one study found that applying green tea to acne infested skin reduced oil production and dirt accumulation in facial pores by 70%.
Not only that, but traditional acne medications cost a lot. Therefore, using green tea bags as an alternative can save you a ton of money.
7. Improve Your Cooking
This one is pretty cool. In addition to marinating your meat with the traditional herbs, spices, and rubs, add some tea bags into the mix.
Simply place them with the meat along with the other ingredients while it marinates, and the tea will make the meat more tender and flavorful.
This is an easy and cost effective way of making dinner taste amazing (as opposed to buying those overpriced pre-made marinades).
8. Compost Them
You can compost tea bags in a couple ways. You can simply place all of the bags in a pile along with other compost material, and wait for it to decompose into something akin to potting soil. Or, you can steep the bags in water over night and use that water to feed your plants.
Thirdly, you can also just take the used tea bags and place them in the soil around plants, which has the added effect of repelling pests like maggots.
With luck, you’ll save yourself from having to go out and purchase expensive potting soil, plant supplements, and pest deterrents.
9. Use As An Air Freshener
Forget using Febreeze or other expensive synthetic products like scented candles. This works especially well for old shoes that just smell too terrible to wear.
All you have to do is take the used tea bags, place them in the smelly shoes, and let them sit there for a couple days.
Then, take the bags out, and you’ll notice that the shoes are ready to be worn again. Nifty, huh?
You can also use a similar technique to freshen up musty smelling rooms. Just hang used tea bags from the ceiling (or off a hanger if it’s your closet), and your nose will notice the results fairly quickly.
10. Eliminate Bad Breath
While unknown to many, both green and black tea have antibacterial properties. You can take advantage of that fact by taking recently used tea bags, re-steeping them in boiling water, and waiting for the water to cool.
Once it is near room temperature, you can use it like any other mouthwash, effectively giving you a natural version of Listerine (saving you from having to spend your hard earned money on the synthetic stuff).
Do you have any unique uses for tea bags that I missed? Please share your ideas and experiences with me in the comments section below!
Featured photo credit: Tea bags/Kate Ter Haar via flickr.com