Don’t Toss them Out – Great Ways to Reuse Old Tea Bags

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Written by Bernie Carr

I started cutting down on caffeine and lowered my coffee intake to one cup a day. Since tea contains less caffeine, I now enjoy an occasional cup of tea, especially Earl Grey, Chai or jasmine tea. These teas are so aromatic, I hate to throw away the tea bag after just one use.

So I thought I’d find ways to reuse them. Important note: Do not reuse tea bags that are moldy or smell off. It’s best to discard those. I keep them in a sealed container in the fridge or allow them to air dry.

Ways to reuse tea bags

Brew a second cup

A tea bag retains tons of flavor after steeping it the first time. I either brew a second cup using the same tea bag right away, or store it in the fridge for later use.

Flavor other foods

Depending on the type of tea you are using, you can reuse a tea bag to flavor other foods. For example, you can use cinnamon or chai tea to flavor oatmeal, jasmine tea to cook rice for a subtle, fresh flavor. Just drop a tea bag in the cooking water.

Reduce under eye puffiness

The tannins in tea help reduce inflammation. Moisten two tea bags with warm water, close your eyes and apply the tea bags over your eye lids. Black or green tea bags are best for this use. Do not use with strong teas such as mint, as this may irritate your eyes.

Eliminate odors

Just like used coffee grounds, you can reuse tea bags to eliminate odors in your fridge. Place a handful in a shallow container and leave in the back of your fridge.

Allow a few of them to dry and drop in the bottom of your garbage can to absorb unpleasant smells.

If you have some lingering smells in your kitchen, boil some water, throw in a few used tea bags in the water. Boil for one or two minutes and turn off the heat. The smell will be more pleasant.

Repel pests

The smell of lavender repels moths, so if you drink lavender tea, save the tea bag. Allow it to dry. Hang the dried tea bag by the string in an out of the way spot in your closet. Other smells that moths hate are mint, thyme, cloves, eucalyptus and rosemary, so you can use any of these to repel moths.

Mice are also known to hate the smell of tea. Once tea bags have dried, hide a few in your cupboards. Add a few drops of peppermint essential oil and you will also repel spiders, fleas, ants. It is safe to sprinkle around plants to keep pests away.

Garden supplement

Speaking of plants, you can also use tea to supplement the soil in your garden. Gather up those old tea bags and soak in a gallon of water overnight. Use the weak tea to water your plants. Spray the leaves and the tea can prevent fungus.

Hand scrub

Open up a used tea bag and use the contents to scrub your hands. It will soften your hands, and get rid of any smells such as garlic or fish smell.

Foot soak

Use old tea bags in warm water to soak your tired feet. You’ll have fresh smelling and relaxed feet right after soaking.

Glass cleaner

Instead of ammonia based products, use weak to make glass and mirrors sparkle. Soak used tea bags in water and fill a spray bottle. Spray on glass and wipe off with a clean cloth. Or, just take a used tea bag while it’s still moist and wipe on glass. Polish with a clean cloth or paper towel.

Carpet freshener

Air dry five used tea bags. Once they are completely dry, open the bag and add the tea leaves to a cup of baking soda. Mix well. Sprinkle on carpet or rub and let it sit for five minutes then vacuum.

I hope you can use a few of these ideas. If you’ve reused them before, what are your favorite ways to repurpose your used tea bags? Please share in the comments!

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About the author:

Bernie Carr is the founder of Apartment Prepper. She has written several books including the best-selling Prepper’s Pocket Guide, Jake and Miller’s Big Adventure, The Penny-Pinching Prepper and How to Prepare for Most Emergencies on a $50 a Month Budget. Her work appears in sites such as the Allstate Blog and, as well as print magazines such as Backwoods Survival Guide and Prepper Survival Guide. She has been featured in national publications such as Fox Business and Popular Mechanics. Learn more about Bernie here.

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