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.
Published on: 02/23/2013