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Reuse Your Tea Bags!

Kelly Vaghenas for Green Prophet reports on 13 surprising green ways to reuse tea bags.

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.

To read the other seven ways to reuse tea bags, see Green Prophet.

Tea bag image via Shutterstock.

by Editor

Friday, March 22nd, 2013 at 14:55
  • Brian
    Apr 7th, 2013 at 11:16 | #1

    The paper used to make tea bags contain a chemical cross-linker called epichlorohydin to provide wet strength. Epi or ECH is a known carcinogin. Make sure you know if your tea is made this way before applying to soft tissue.

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