I drink a lot of tea, all sorts of tea, all year-long. At one time I just threw the used tea leaves and tea bags away, always thinking there had to be something better to do with the soggy remains. I have found a few and am always on the look out for other ways to allow my beloved tea to live again. I will share a few of the ways with you, and please, if you know of one, share it! More knowledge is always better.
Clean the air! Dry the used leaves and mix them into the cat’s litter box, place a few dry used tea bags into the bottom of the garbage can or into a stinky gym bag or shoes. ( I don’t know of ANYTHING that will take the smell out of ice hockey gear.) Toss a few used tea bags in the fridge or closet to help those smelling fresh and neutralize any odors.
Subtle flavor to rice, pasta, and oatmeal. Take that used green tea bag and add it to the water with the rice, toss the chai tea with oatmeal, black tea with pasta. Kick up the flavor of all your favorite grains and pastas with the hint of your favorite tea.
Make your next cup stronger. Adding an old bag to a new bag will allow a stronger flavor for most teas. White teas are usually too delicate to be used like this and will lead to a bitter taste. Please remember to continue to steep for the recommended time, and water temp. Longer time and too hot water does not equal a better cup of tea.
Goodbye pests! Mice and other rodents typically do not like the smell of tea. So feel free to take the used dry tea and place it were mice like to hide; corners, back of cupboards, behind the fridge or stove, etc. If you really want to up the ante then add a few drops of peppermint EO to the bags and that will further deter the mice as well as spiders and ants – plus make your home smell amazing.
Air Fresheners. Tea leaves absorb odors, add a few drops of your favorite EO and hang those used teabags as the perfect air fresheners for your car, office space, locker, desk, closet, etc. When the scent begins to dissipate, just add a few more drops and refresh the fragrance.
Clean your hands. (Personal favorite) After chopping onions, mincing garlic or handling seafood use a used tea bag to scrub your hands clean of those lingering odors.
Foot Soak. Throw a few used tea bags or loose tea into a foot bath and enjoy the benefits of nourished skin, softened calluses, and neutralized foot odor.
Weak Tea. Create a weak tea by steeping used tea. Fill your tub and soak in the anti-oxidant bliss while your nourish your skin and your senses. Fill a bucket and water your garden to share the tea’s anti-fungal properties with your flowers and veggies. Double steep green or peppermint tea to create a great mouth rinse to freshen breath and promote a healthy smile. In the shower rinse your hair for an added conditioning boost. (Fellow blondes steer clear of black teas if you want to maintain your golden tresses – I use chamomile and peppermint in mine.)
Around the home weak tea can be used to polish wood and clean glass, the tea bags can help remove stains and odors from carpets.
Remember. Used tea can and will spoil. A damp tea bag can remain out in the open for a day before it may start to spoil. The best place to store used teabags in the fridge in a closed container. Like all natural food, use your nose, it if smells off or funky throw it out. And when you do finally toss the teabag, remove any staples and toss them in the compost bin, garden, or flowerbeds. Keeping pests out of the garden, adding nutrients to the soil, and returning the tea to where it came from.