13 Amazing Green Ways to Reuse Tea Bags

, posted in Living

By Kelly Vaghenas, Green Prophet

As an avid tea drinker, I was intrigued when I stumbled upon a variety of sources that promoted the eco-friendly use of tea bags, outside the teacup. Arthur W. Pinero, an Englishman, of course, said, “Where there’s tea, there’s hope.”  That’s definitely true.  Brewed tea bags can provide a pick-me-up in ways you’d least expect.  Here are 13 of them. You can use tea…

1. As a cold compress:

Got tired eyes, bruises, or sunburn? Bee stings or mosquito bites?  Did your child just get a shot at the doctor’s but the free lollipop wasn’t consolation enough?  Apply a cool, moist tea bag to these kinds of affected areas on the skin to get soothing relief and quicker healing.

2. As a hot compress:

Trying to get rid of pinkeye, canker sores or fever blisters?  Or maybe a plantar wart smack dab in the middle of the sole of your right foot?  Warm, wet tea bags can draw out the infections.

3. To clean your carpets:

For more delicate, Persian or Oriental carpets, sprinkle almost-dry tea leaves on the carpet, and then sweep them away when dry.  Tea leaves on more heavy-duty carpets can be vacuumed.

4. To take a flavored bath:

Treat your skin as you would your taste buds, in the bathtub.  Give your bath salts a run for their money by running the bath water over several used tea bags.  You’ll have yourself an aromatic, skin-softening soak in no time.

5. To feed your garden:

Cultivate your healthy plants and bring your dying ones back to life by breaking open a soaked tea bag and disseminating the contents over the soil.  Roses and ferns do especially well with the acidic tannins found in tea.

Don’t have a garden? Add the used tea leaves to your enrich your compost pile – and if you don’t have that, make one.  (Remember to take the staples out of the tea bag, if there are any.)

6. To eliminate odors around the house:

Put dried tea leaves in your garbage can and your kitten’s litter box.  They’ll also suck up food odors when stuck in a bowl in the fridge.  And combine them with your favorite essential oils to make all-natural air fresheners.

Odors might also be closer than you think: especially if you’ve been handling fish, your hands might smell…fishy.  Rinse your hands with old tea.  As for your mouth and all that bad-breath bacteria, skip the shocking Listerine and go for a gentle mint tea mouth rinse.

7. To give your locks some love:

Tea acts as a sort of leave-in conditioner: Make your dry hair shiny by rinsing your hair with unsweetened tea.  Leave your head alone to dry, then rinse out the tea.

8. To polish your wooden floors:

You might need to amass quite a few tea bags for this one.  Mop your wooden floors with brewed tea, and while you’re at it, shine up some furniture, too.

9. To say goodbye to greasy dishes:

Whatever it may be that is caked onto your plates from dinner, do not fear.  Soak the dishes in hot water with a few brewed tea bags.  The more the grease, the more time will be needed to break it down; soaking the pile overnight is recommended.

10. To recreate potpourri:

Rarely do used tea bags lose their scent completely.  Dry out your favorite teas and add the leaves to potpourri; they’ll blend right in, aesthetically and also in form.  After all, potpourri is made of dried fruit peels, herb leaves, flowers, and spices.

11. To replace Windex:

Maybe your kids had their hands all over the windows, or maybe the glass is just dusty.  Make them sparkle by rubbing a damp teabag over them or applying brewed tea from a spray bottle, then wiping it away with a cloth.

12. To discover your inner Michelangelo:

Artists have started to use strong black teas to paint backgrounds or accentuate black-and-white sketches.

and my favorite…

13. To make flavored rice:

When cooking rice, add your used herbal tea bags to the water to allow a new, mild flavor to permeate throughout. Jasmine tea, one of my personal favorites, is a great choice for rice-flavoring.

After steeping a tea bag two or more times (because once is never enough) to enjoy my favorite hot drink,  I always felt bad tossing it.  Knowing now of brewed tea bags’ reusability, I’ll be able to leave the leaves out of the trash for a little while longer.


Source: Greenprophet.com

Published on: 02/23/2013

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