Tea is one of the most commonly consumed beverages around the world. Tea bags make brewing tea incredibly convenient. However, once the tea has been brewed, most people simply throw the used tea bags away. But did you know that there are lots of creative ways to repurpose used tea bags?
Repurposing used tea bags helps reduce waste and can also save you money. The next time you brew a cup of tea, hold on to the used tea bags. Here are 7 unusual ways to give them new life:
1. Create Natural Plant Dye
The tannins and pigments that release into the hot water when brewing tea can be used as a natural dye. Simply save a few used tea bags in the freezer. Later, boil them in water to extract the color. Once cooled, the tea dye can be used to color fabric, paper, Easter eggs, and more.
Different types of tea produce different shades. For instance, black tea makes a warm brown while green or white tea yields a more delicate hue. Experiment with teas to create an array of natural dyes.
2. Soothe Tired Eyes
Placing used tea bags over closed eyes helps reduce puffiness and soothe tired eyes. The tannins in tea contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Simply brew a cup of tea, allow the tea bags to cool, and then apply them to your eyes for 15-20 minutes. The caffeine in black and green teas can also help constrict blood vessels to minimize dark circles.
This is an inexpensive and natural way to rejuvenate eyes after long days of staring at screens!
3. Fertilize Houseplants
The nutrients in used tea bags make them an excellent fertilizer for indoor and outdoor plants. Tea contains nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus which are essential nutrients for plant growth.
To make tea bag fertilizer, allow the bags to dry completely after use. Bury a few bags an inch or two below the soil around your plants every 2-3 weeks. The nutrients will provide a slow-release fertilizer.
4. Deodorize Refrigerators
That box of baking soda in the fridge isn’t the only deodorizer around. Used green or black tea bags can absorb pesky food odors.
Place 2-3 dried tea bags on a small plate in the refrigerator or freezer. Replace them each week. The natural compounds in tea will help absorb and neutralize odors.
5. Create Compost
Compost piles benefit from the addition of used tea bags. Green teas in particular contain tannins and nutrients that aid the composting process.
Make sure to use only tea bags made from natural materials like paper, cotton, or silk. Tea bags containing polypropylene will not break down. Simply mix a few used tea bags into your compost pile each week.
6. Brew Kombucha
The kombucha fermentation process relies on fungal cultures known as a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). Brewing kombucha at home requires a SCOBY as starter culture.
Many kombucha brewers use brewed tea bags to help create a new SCOBY when first starting out. The tea provides nourishment for the kombucha culture.
7. Make Potpourri
Dried used tea bags infused with essential oils or dried flowers make fragrant potpourri. Simple staples like rosemary, cinnamon sticks, citrus peels, lavender, and pine needles pair nicely with most tea varieties.
For best results, allow the tea bags to fully dry after brewing. Place the dried bags in a glass jar along with your desired aromatics and essential oils. Enjoy your custom potpourri mix!
The next time you brew a pot of tea, hold on to those used tea bags! With a little creativity, they can be repurposed in many eco-friendly and budget-friendly ways. Reusing tea bags helps give them new life instead of throwing them in the trash.