Tea! It is the quintessential British drink which is loved across the Globe.
It can give us a caffeine and antioxidant boost – and comes in a variety of flavours to suit every taste.
We at The Good Human love tea, but also love to reduce waste. So we want to challenge you to see tea bags as something more than a one-use dip and trash product.
Yes, we want you to use your tea bags as you normally do – but before you carefully do the drip-catch-walk to the garbage…..STOP!
Consider all of these ways that you can re-use your used tea bags. I know you will find a few in here that will change your trashy ways!
Here we mean the water that you will use to cook your pasta and grains. You can choose the tea bag to compliment your dish – for example cinnamon tea for oatmeal, jasmine for rice. Simply toss your used bags into the cooking pot, and allow to steep for a while before you add your favourite grains.
You can use tea bags to create a marinade, which will help to soften and flavor your meat – it will add a delicious new dimension to your barbecue. Just look at what the tea-experts at All About Tea have to say about it:
Marinating meats in tea not only imparts an herbaceous and vigorous flavor but may also help reduce potentially cancerous compounds in meat. Different kinds of tea have different flavor profiles. Green tea, for example, has a grassy quality that makes it ideal for use in chicken or turkey, while the brooding orange quality of Earl Grey tea makes it a strong candidate for lamb or pork marinades. Oolong tea is best for fish while black tea, which has a bright rustic taste, lends well to seafood like scallops or shrimps. Cold sweet teas also make a delicious marinade for barbecues and steaks. Not only do they impart flavor and add nutrition, tea marinades also help make the meat more tender, breaking down muscle tissue and resulting in more succulent and juicier meat.
You can protect your cast iron by rubbing used, damp tea bags over your pans after each use. The tannins create a protective layer which reduces oxidation from occurring.
The tannins in your used tea bags are also great at breaking down grease, so save yours to rub onto your dirty dishes. This will save elbow grease and also reduce your need to use harsh chemical cleaners. Worth a try!
Keeping in with the theme of cooking….use a used teabag after cooking to wash your hands. It will absorb strong kitchen odors such as garlic and onion, leaving your hands nice and soft to boot.
This tip requires you to break up your used teabags – then you can exercise your green fingers by working the leaves into the soil around the roots of your plants. They will enjoy the antioxidant boost!
In the same vein as tip number 6, you can chuck your used tea bags into your compost heap. The organic earthy leaves will work wonders for your mulch – but be sure to remove the metal staple if there is one on yours.
While we are chatting gardens, try making a weak tea with your used tea bags to water your plants with. As well as hydrating them, the tea wash will also protect them from fungal infections, while boosting antioxidants in the soil. They will thank you for it.
Used tea bags are not a mouse’s cup of tea…they hate the stuff…..so you can use your tea bags as a natural deterrent to keep them at bay. You can even infuse your bags with peppermint oil to ward off other pests such as spiders too.
Open your tea bags and dry out your tea leaves to prepare your very own, natural and cheap shake ‘n’ vac. Yes, unbelievably, sprinkling your rugs with used dried tea leaves is a very effective method to deodorise them. Just leave them on your stinky floor coverings for a few minutes before vacuuming off. Voila!
Other household pongs can be absorbed thanks to your used leaves – you can mix dried leaves in with your cat’s litter in the tray, line your trash can with a layer of leaves and much more!
If your tea bag comes with it’s very own string, why not let them dry out, sprinkle with your favourite essential oils and hang up to freshen your home. It is like a portable pot pourri on a budget. Once they dry out you can easily refresh with a few more drops of oil.
No they may not look beautiful, but they are a great choice in wardrobes and other sneaky spots where you have space to hang them.
Keep your tea bags for when you need to give your feet a pamper. We already know how tea can neutralise odors, but soaking your feet in warm water, infused with used tea bags has even more benefits. The tannins in the tea will also nourish and soften the skin on your feet, which is often hardened. You will feel refreshed after a ten minute tea soak.
Don’t just stop with your feet! Reap the antioxidant benefits of tea all over your body!
For this you can select your favourite herbal tea, or use regular black, green or white…the choice is yours. You can drape the tea bags over the edge of the bath as it fills with water, or toss a few in to swirl around. Then lie back, relax and enjoy!
Used tea bags are just great to soothe sore skin – plus they are seriously convenient and cheap. You can place them on your eyes when they feel puffy (wait for them to cool first!). Used tea bags are also touted as good for cooling sunburned skin, reducing the longevity of bruises as well as calming bites and stings. They reduce inflammation and comfort the skin – why not give them a try?
You can make a weak tea with used tea bags – and the resulting mixture has a number of fantastic uses.
Firstly you can make a natural mouthwash! No hidden ingredients in this one. The antioxidant properties make it a good choice, especially if you are suffering with issues related to your gums. The tannins have an astringent quality, which will stop bleeding. Although you should note that bleeding gums are a sign that you should visit a dentist.
Sore and chapped lips can be soothed by applying a cool, damp, used tea bag directly to them a few times a day, as needed. The antioxidant properties as well as the polyphenols make tea bags a wonderful, natural and inexpensive lip treatment.
Once again the tannins come to the rescue with this tip. You can apply used tea bags directly to mirrors and glass to remove stubborn marks – before buffing with a lint free cloth to guarantee a streak free finish. Grubby marks are broken down by the tannins in the bags.
Soaking used tea bags in water can create a lovely mixture that can be used to clean the surface of your wooden furniture, without harsh abrasive chemicals which could cause damage.
The final use is my favorite one! Steep your used tea bags in various amounts of water to create ‘paint’ of different strengths. You can use it any way you like to create art!
You can also go ‘mixed media’ and incorporate the leaves themselves into your creations. The following technique is from createmixedmedia.com – it is enough to inspire me!
Old, dried tea bags can add magic to your artwork. It’s no joke. Each tea bag has a different pattern of staining. Some tea stains are subtle, while others are more obvious. Tea bags containing berry teas are particular favorites of mine due to their rich crimson stains. I use tea bags to create an aged look, to mute a too-bright color and to add texture. I like to tear off the telltale edges of the tea bags before I use them. Once they’re on a piece, they won’t look like tea bags at all, but rather like a mysterious vintage surface. In this project you’ll get to play with this inventive technique.
Whatever you decide to do with your used tea bags, be sure to store them properly while you wait for your moment. Use them as soon as possible after they are stored, or keep them in the refrigerator until you are ready. They are a natural product and won’t last forever, so follow your nose – and don’t keep them if they smell off! Unless you want to chuck them onto your compost pile of course!
What do you think? Do you re-use your used tea bags? Or does the thought make you shudder?
As always, we would love to hear from you!
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