7 Frugal Ways to Upcycle Used Tea Bags

7 Frugal Ways to Upcycle Used Tea Bags

Tea is one of life’s simple pleasures, but used tea bags can create unnecessary waste. As a frugal and eco-conscious person, I often ponder how to get the most use out of these humble sacks of dried leaves. With a little creativity, I’ve discovered many ways to upcycle used tea bags to reduce waste and stretch my dollar.

1. Make DIY Potpourri

Dried, used tea leaves already have a lovely natural scent. With a few added ingredients, I can create wonderful homemade potpourri using my stash of used tea bags.

To begin, I empty the wet tea leaves from the bags into a bowl, separating the contents of herbal and black teas. I let the leaves dry completely, then add drops of essential oils like lavender, rose, cinnamon, or citrus to scent them. For visual interest, I mix in things like dried flowers, spices, seeds, or citrus peels. After combining everything, I store my fragrant potpourri in jars or sachets. Not only does this process eliminate waste, but it allows me to make lovely crafts and gifts from items I used to throw away.

2. Compost Tea Leaves

Composting provides an easy and eco-friendly way to recycle used tea bags. The dried leaves and paper make excellent additions to any compost bin or pile. The leaves contain beneficial nutrients like nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus to nourish my garden soil.

To compost tea bags, I simply open them and empty the leaves into the compost. I mix in the paper as well – just make sure no staples, tags, or glue are still attached. The paper bags break down quickly.

This simple habit helps reduce my household waste while improving my garden at the same time. Composting tea leaves is truly a win-win!

3. Make Tea Bag Drawer Sachets

Here’s a quick way to make my dresser drawers and closets smell Fresh using upcycled tea bags.

I take 5-10 emptied tea bags and tie them together with a pretty ribbon or string. Then I tuck these little sachets into my underwear and sock drawers, lingerie drawers, or clothing closets to gently scent them.

I can vary the scents by using different tea varieties like chamomile, lavender, mint, Earl Grey, or chai. For an extra touch, I spritz the sachets lightly with an essential oil spray.

This uses tea bags I’d otherwise throw out to keep my space cleanly and naturally scented. It takes just minutes to make but provides long-lasting fragrance.

4. Make Microwavable Heating Pads

Used tea bags can be upcycled into handy little heating pads that are great for soothing aches and pains.

I fill several clean, dry tea bags with rice, wheat berries, or flaxseed. After sealing them shut, I stitch or tie the bags together into a rectangular shape.

To use, I microwave the pad for 1-2 minutes until warm and place it on sore muscles, arthritis, or headaches for soothing relief. The homemade heating pads conform nicely to the body.

Making my own heating pads is simple, and so much cheaper than buying disposable ones. This creative reuse turns my old tea bags into practical items I can use again and again.

5. Make Tea Bag Art

If I’m feeling crafty, I can upcycle tea bags into unique pieces of art. The tea leaves make natural dyes, while the bags themselves serve as canvases.

To make tea bag art, I first empty out the wet leaves, let the bags dry fully, and iron them flat. Then I can paint the bags with liquid watercolors, mod podge, or acrylics. Using the tannins from black or herbal teas as natural dyes is another option.

Once my tea bag canvases are decorated, they can be framed or made into quilts, wreaths, greeting cards, coasters, or displayed in shadow boxes. The options are endless!

6. Freshen Up Old Books

Here’s an unusual way I can reuse tea bags – to banish unpleasant odors from old books. This comes in handy when browsing thrift stores or used book sales.

I simply place dried, emptied tea bags inside the musty book’s pages or spine. After letting them sit for a day or two, the tea’s aroma overpowers the mildew smell.

Alternatively, I can lightly spritz the tea bags with vinegar water or essential oils for extra deodorizing power before tucking them into place. Just a few used tea bags are enough to give those vintage books new life!

7. Make DIY Face Toner

As a frugal natural beauty junkie, I’m always looking for budget homemade skin care. Used green or herbal tea bags provide an easy way to whip up my own face toner.

I steep 2-4 used tea bags in hot water for 5 minutes. Once cooled, I dab the fragrant tea water on my face after cleansing. The natural plant extracts in the tea help tone, soothe, and shrink pores.

To customize, I can add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, rose water, or aloe vera gel. And it only costs pennies per use!

Upcycling used tea bags requires only a little ingenuity. With these simple ideas, I’m keeping pounds of tea waste out of landfills each year and making my own crafts, natural beauty items, and household helpers for cheap. By reusing tea bags in fun new ways instead of throwing them out, I’m saving money while acting sustainably.