How to Repurpose Used Tea Bags

How to Repurpose Used Tea Bags

Tea is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world. After steeping tea and drinking it, most people simply throw away the used tea bag. However, there are many creative ways to repurpose tea bags to reduce waste and even create useful items. Here are some of the best ideas for repurposing used tea bags.

Cleaning and Polishing

Used tea bags can be a great cleaning and polishing tool around the house. The tannins in tea help lift stains and buildup on surfaces. Here are some clever uses for used tea bags for cleaning and polishing:

Jewelry Cleaner

Place used tea bags in a small bowl with warm water. Let your jewelry like rings, necklaces, and bracelets soak for 5-10 minutes. The tea will help remove tarnish and restore shine. Rinse and pat dry.

Silverware Polish

Rub a used tea bag directly on your silverware. The tannic acid in the tea lifts tarnish quickly. Rinse and buff dry for gleaming silverware.

Leather Cleaner

Wipe down leather goods like purses, shoes, belts, etc with a used tea bag to clean dirt and condition the material. The tea helps moisturize and protect the leather.

Wood Scrub

Dip a used tea bag in lemon juice and use it to scrub wooden cutting boards, utensils, furniture, etc. The acidic tea lifts stains from the wood.

Arts and Crafts

The natural dyes in tea make used tea bags ideal for arts and crafts projects. Here are some fun ways to use tea bags for crafting:

Watercolor Paints

Open up used tea bags and empty the damp tea leaves onto watercolor paper. Use a brush to spread the tea around, blending it with water to create beautiful abstract paintings.

Paper Staining

To create an antique look, brush used tea bags over paper like stationery or gift tags. Vary the concentration to make the paper light or dark brown.

Natural Dye for Fabric

Place 10-15 used tea bags in a pot of simmering water to extract the color. Soak fabric like a scarf, shirt, etc in the dye bath for 30 minutes. Rinse and dry for a lovely muted tone.


Open up used tea bags and dry the tea leaves on a baking sheet. Place the dried tea in bowls or sachets along with flowers and herbs to create a natural fragrant potpourri.

Gardening Uses

The nutrients in used tea can also help fertilize plants and deter garden pests. Here are some clever ways to use tea bags in the garden:

Compost Booster

Bury used tea bags in your compost pile or bin. As the tea bags break down, they will add valuable nitrogen, potassium, and other minerals to the compost.

Plant Fertilizer

Scatter used tea bags around the base of plants as a natural fertilizer. The tea provides organic nutrients as it seeps into the soil.

Pest Repellent

Sprinkle used tea leaves from tea bags around vegetable gardens and flower beds. The caffeine in the tea helps deter insects and animals from nibbling on plants.

Herb Planters

Fill empty tea bags with soil and add herb seeds like basil, parsley, oregano, etc. Use the tea bag as a built-in planter to start herbs from seed.

Other Uses

Used tea bags can come in handy for a variety of miscellaneous uses around the house:

  • Place used tea bags in storage containers to absorb odors and moisture. The tea acts as a natural dehumidifier.

  • Rub a used tea bag over wicker furniture to minimize fraying fibers. The tea conditions and strengthens the wicker.

  • Stuff used tea bags into shoes or gym bags to help absorb odors overnight. The tea neutralizes smells.

As you can see, a humble used tea bag can be repurposed in many useful and creative ways! So before throwing away your next tea bag, consider giving it a second life. Repurposing tea bags is an easy way to reduce waste and make the most of these natural ingredients.