It’s no dark secret that I’m a coffee addict now, but some people may be surprised to know that this wasn’t always the case. In fact, I didn’t start drinking coffee until about five years ago.
That doesn’t mean that I didn’t need a little caffeine fix in my pre-java days, though! Before I became the coffee queen, my morning drink of choice was tea. In fact, I still enjoy a cup or two of tea each week.
I also learned years ago not to toss those used tea bags right away! There are actually quite a few good uses for old tea bags…
1. Another Cup of Tea
Depending on the type of tea, I can usually get more than one cup of tea from one tea bag. Just set it on your spoon or on a saucer until you’re ready to steep a second cup.
2. Soothe Puffy Eyes
Lack of sleep, eye strain, and genes mean that I wake up with the dreaded puffy eyes most mornings. To soothe them quickly, I keep a couple moist used tea bags in my refrigerator at all times. On morning when my eyes are particularly out of control, the cool moisture and the tannins still present in old tea bags help relieve puffiness and soothe my eyes a bit.
3. Treat a Sunburn
It’s not quite sunburn season yet, but it’s just around the corner. Although we try to be diligent about applying sunscreen, accidents do happen and one of us ends up with at least a mild sunburn each summer. Cool moist tea bags applied directly to the skin can soothe the irritation quickly! I usually save the old tea bags from sun tea for this.
4. Feed House Plants
Your acid-loving houseplants can get a nice boost from used tea leaves. Try breaking open the bags and scattering the moist tea leaves around the base of ferns, African violets, and other acid-loving plants.
5. Heal Bumps and Bruises
Tannins in tea are said to help constrict blood vessels. When applied to a bump or other injury, old tea bags can actually help reduce swelling and heal bruises faster.
6. Fix Scratches in Woodwork
Is your woodwork marred by an ugly scratch? Press a moist tea bag to the area to darken the fresh wood. While this won’t work well on badly marred surfaces, it can help reduce the appearance of minor scratches.
7. Drain an Abscess
Abscesses under the skin are painful and can lead to complications and infection. Applying a warm wet tea bag to the area, though, can help an abscess drain. This may not work on all abscesses, but I have had luck with it in the past.
8. Wash Dishes
Washing dishes with old tea bags may seem odd, but it really does work! Just toss a few used tea bags into a sink of greasy dishes and let them soak a bit. The greasy mess will be much easier to clean! You can also rub a used tea bag directly onto greasy dishes and surfaces.
9. Combat Greasy Skin
Used tea bags cut grease on dishes, but they’re also gentle enough to work on oily skin as well. Wipe oily skin with a used damp tea bag to clean away the greasies and blot dry with a wash cloth.
10. Deodorize Stinky Areas
Do you have a stinky fridge or a musty closet? Place some old tea bags in the area to absorb odors and deodorize small areas. Fragrant herbal teas are best for this, but nearly any type of tea will work.