40 Weird And Wonderful Uses For Tea Bags That You’ll Probably Want To Share With Friends

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The history of tea dates back so far that its origins aren’t entirely certain. However, it is believed to have emerged from China around 6,000 years ago. Almost 80 billion gallons of tea are consumed around the world each year. However, its early use was medicinal and, whether it’s black, green, white or Oolong, today’s used tea bags offer all these surprisingly clever uses.

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1. Reduces puffiness and dark circles around the eyes

Applying a cool or refrigerated, used tea bag on your eyes for ten to 15 minutes can reduce dark circles and puffiness. The magic ingredient is tannin – which reduces swelling. However, for the best results use green tea as it has a higher caffeine content and also contains an anti-inflammatory called EGCG. Those two compounds help reduce the excess fluid that cause the issue.

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2. Face mist

When the weather heats up, it can be a relief to apply a facial mist throughout the day. However, University of Illinois alumna Jessica recommends a DIY recipe of green tea and vitamin E on her College Fashion blog. Not only is it an instant freshener, but the EGCG and vitamin E can help repair damage caused by sun exposure.

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3. Lifts grease from pans

As it happens, the tannin found in tea is a bit of a super-ingredient, as these astringent biomolecules also help break down grease from fatty foods. After a meal, throw crockery, cutlery and cookware in the sink full of hot water. Add some used tea bags and by morning all the grease will lift right off.

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4. Keep pests away

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Tea is the most popular drink in the world after water. However, some creatures aren’t so fond of the stuff — such as rats. Place used tea bags around your kitchen to keep it rodent free. What’s more, the tea experts at website Your Tea Headquarters suggests adding a few drops of peppermint oil to dry sachets to keep ants away as well.

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5. Masking fridge odors

If your fridge is smelling funky and you’re all out of baking soda, there are other ways to combat the bad smell. Simply place a few used bags in a bowl on a shelf at the back of the refrigerator. The tea leaves will soak up the nasty aroma. Replace them after a few days for maximum freshness.

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6. Plant fertilizer

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Tea contains nutrients that can be beneficial to plants. In fact, there is appreciably more nitrogen found in tea leaves than in shop-bought plant fertilizers. Nitrogen helps to encourage abundant growth. What’s more, used tea leaves will help keep soil moist as well as discouraging weeds from sprouting around your flower beds.

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7. Tea bag bath

There are many antioxidants in tea that have a therapeutic effect on the human body. Moreover, according to the scientific research body, the Integrative Longevity Institute Of Virginia, bathing in tea is a more effective way of absorbing its nutrients than drinking it, since skin is the largest organ. Indeed, throwing a few old tea bags in a tub of water is therapeutic and can boost the immune system.

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8. Wart treatment

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The antioxidants found in green tea can also help treat warts. Consuming two or three cups a day will slow down the effects of the human papillomavirus, which causes warts. What’s more, the used tea bag can be applied directly to the affected area. Do this three times a day for ten to 15 minutes and after a while the wart will dry up and fall off.

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9. Fix a broken nail

If you’ve split a nail and need an urgent repair, you can use the fabric of a tea bag as a makeshift gauze. Simply cut a piece big enough to cover the affected area and stick it in place with a coating of clear nail polish. Apply a second coat and, when it’s dry, buff it out with a nail file. Apply base coat and polish as desired.

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10. Window cleaner

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As already mentioned, tea bags can be used to easily lift cooking oil of crockery and pans. Well, they can be handy to lift greasy smears from windows, too. Add a black tea bag to hot water and leave it to cool down completely. Some recommend leaving it for several days. Then simply wipe — or spray — your windows with it and then buff clean for a gleaming shine.

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11. Soothe a sting or insect bite

For a natural relief from an insect bite, try applying a used green tea bag. By allowing it to sit on the affected area, its compounds can help reduce the inflammation. What’s more, if the bag is applied cold, any itchiness will be soothed, too. So it might be handy to keep one in the fridge during warmer months.

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12. Meat tenderizer

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Tannins are what give tea its bitter taste and dry mouth feel. But they also tenderize meat, making it easier to digest. Red wine also has a high tannin content and is more typically used in cooking. But for a cheaper or non-alcoholic alternative, why not throw some tea into the pot instead.

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13. Freshen wood floors

Tea’s astringent qualities has long been used to clean wood floors. Steep a handful of them in a pot of water for ten minutes. Transfer the tea to a bucket and allow to cool. Load your mop with the tea and fully wring it out as you shouldn’t soak the floor. Mop the wood surface as usual. The tea will easily lift dust and grime leaving it gleaming.

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14. Soothes razor burn

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The tannin found in tea can also soothe razor burns. If you’re irritated, make yourself a brew then place the used tea bag in the fridge for ten minutes or more. Then rub the cooled bag over the affected area for for instant relief.

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15. Eliminate shoe odors

Bacteria thrives in the warmth and moisture generated by feet when you’re working hard. Often this can cause some unwelcomely smelly footwear. However, unused tea bags can soak up the dampness and stench just by placing a few in your shoes. What’s more, any type of tea will work, so perhaps fruity or floral varieties would create a pleasant smell.

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16. Mini compost bags

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Anyone considering if they’re gifted with green fingers may want to consider a simple starting point: used tea bags. Since tea is a natural fertilizer, damp tea bags are the perfect environment for seedlings to take root. Simply cut a hole in the bag and pop a seed inside. Keep it moist and, once a plant sprouts, transfer it to a pot or flower bed.

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17. Polish wood furniture

Much like polishing wood floors, tea also works a treat on wooden furniture. You see, furniture polish is a one-size-fits-all cleaning solution, but not all wood is the same. So apply a wash of cooled tea to wooden surfaces then wipe clean. The tannin will lift any polish build-up and make the wood shine again.

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18. Flavoring pasta and grains

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There are other ways to work tea into your culinary repertoire beyond hot beverages. For instance, cooking quinoa or jasmine rice in a weak green tea adds an earthy depth of flavor. Black teas also bring out the natural flavors in barley and bulgar. Furthermore, working green tea powder into homemade pasta and noodles can enhance Japanese dishes.

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19. Polishing leather

If your leather shoes are looking the worse for wear, you can restore their shine with a few used tea bags. The same astringent properties that remove grime from windows and wood floors work on leather, too. Simply rub tea bags over the surface, being careful to lift all the dirt, then buff out with a clean cloth.

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20. Soothe sunburn

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While effective on razor burns, tannins can also help to soothe sunburn. If you’ve been soaking up the rays for too long, you can find some relief from cold tea. Simply rub the affected area with black tea bags and slather with a strong, cool brew. Don’t rinse it off, as the technique is more effective the longer it has to work. Repeat as many times as necessary.

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21. Get a lasting tan

However, if you want to achieve a sun-kissed look without exposure to the sun, tea can also help you self-tan. Leave a handful of black tea bags to brew for around 20 minutes and then transfer the liquid to a spray bottle. It’s important for the tea to cool down before spraying it all over your body. The darker the brew, the more intense the color will be.

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22. Treat minor burns

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If you’ve suffered a mild burn in the kitchen, tea could help soothe the discomfort. For instance, if you’ve brushed a hand against a boiling pot or kettle, simply place a cold used tea bag on the affected area for instant relief. According to scientists at UCLA, its tannins can provide relief in minutes.

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23. Freshen carpets

According to tips website One Good Thing, tea bags can be used to add freshness to your carpets. Remove the leaves from a dried, used tea bag and mix them with a handful of baking soda. Dust the mixture over your carpet and leave for 20 minutes before vacuuming thoroughly. The compounds in the ingredients combine to leave your carpet fresh and dirt-free.

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24. Remove odors from hands

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Quite often, chopping strong-smelling foods like onions and garlic, or even handling potent fish can leave your hands reeking. One way of eliminating the stench they leave behind is to wash them with tea. Once again, the tannin works to neutralize odors, removing the stubborn culinary smells from your hands, leaving them fresh.

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25. Mask smells from litter trays

As cat owners will know, litter trays are a near-constant source of unwelcome odors. A simple and cheap solution is to scatter loose tea leaves among the litter and stir it together. It will banish any nasty smells as well as fighting bacteria, which is another bonus. For the best results use green tea.

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26. Mirror cleaner

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The technique for using tea bags to clean windows can also be applied to mirrors. Rustle up a brew and dampen a cloth with the tea solution to wipe down the reflective surface for a streak-free shine. What’s more, the same trick can be used on any shiny surface in the home, with the bonus of easy cleaning on microwave and oven doors.

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27. Enhance faded black clothes

The color in black t-shirts is prone to fade over time, but instead of tossing the garment away, there’s a clever hack to restoring its hue. According to home and gardens website Dengarden, soaking the clothing in strong tea for ten minutes after a wash will restore some color. While it won’t be like new, repeat soaks may further reduce the fade.

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28. Upcycle old clothes

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It can be a nightmare trying to remove tea stains from clothes. So it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to learn that it can be used to give old clothes new life by dyeing them. Get creative and create patterns or bunch it together before dipping it for a tie dye effect. The stronger the tea, the darker the colorization will be — and all without harmful chemicals.

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29. Steam pores

Beauty routines that utilize steam treatments can soften the skin, improve circulation and increase the absorption of moisturizers. However, adding tea into the mix can bring added nutrients to a facial. The technique has been used for hundreds of years with herb and floral mixes. There are also studies that suggest white and green teas may be particularly beneficial to the skin.

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30. Treat acne

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What’s more some people believe that green tea contains nutrients that can help treat acne. You see, green tea contains a compound called catechins. It’s an antioxidant that is also effective at reducing inflammation. While green tea isn’t thought to be a miracle cure for acne, studies indicate that the use of supplements can bring a noticeable improvement in appearance.

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31. Make a tea pillow

Tea is the star of ceremonial traditions in parts of the Far East. And, particularly in Taiwan, the craft of making tea pillows has emerged from these rituals. Indeed, instead of wasting tea leaves that accumulate from the traditional gongfu-style tea making ceremonies, they are dried out and popped into cloth bags. These tea pillows are thought to have numerous health benefits including better sleep and improved brain functions.

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32. Clean the sink

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Sinks can be a breeding ground for lots of nasty bacteria. In fact, some scientists believe that the kitchen sink can be dirtier than the toilet bowl. However, the anti-bacterial properties of tea can help remove germs. Simply pop a few tea bags in a sink full of water for several hours then rinse. It’ll work as a toilet cleaner too, just remember not to flush them.

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33. Cure eye styes

The anti-bacterial properties in tea can also be use to treat styes. Styes form when glands become blocked around the eye forming something like a pimple. However, a handy home remedy is to pop a cooled, used tea bag on your eye and allow it to sit for a few minutes.

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34. Freshen drawers

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As mentioned previously, the tannin found in tea is handy for eliminating bad smells. You see, research has shown that it has an ability to neutralize the compounds that form odors. So why not place a few dry tea bags in drawers to freshen them up. Floral, fruity or herbal teas may even add a more pleasant aroma.

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35. Kindling

Gasoline and other accelerants can be dangerous when setting camp fires or log burners. So why not try a safer option; a dry tea bag could just as easily do the trick. Snip each end off the tea bag and empty the tea. Form it into a cylinder and set it alight. Using the leaves too could create a pleasant aroma.

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36. Condition hair

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Tea treatments are a relatively new trend among hair care experts. Black teas in particular contain nutrients that protect against hair loss. It’s believed that the caffeine content blocks the hormone DHT that causes hair loss. Furthermore, some find that a tea rinse leaves their hair softer, stronger and shinier, as well as stimulating growth.

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37. Air freshener

Instead of forking out money for air fresheners, try using some tea bags instead. Bad smells can become intensified in humid environments. But tea bags are adept at absorbing moisture, and hanging a few about the place will sort out the smells associated with cramped confines. Furthermore, there are a wide variety of scents to choose from.

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38. Treat bad breath

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The same principal applies to smells relating to personal hygiene. A study conducted at New York state’s Pace University showed that green tea was effective at fighting the bacteria that causes halitosis. Indeed, adding green tea to your dental routine could reduce the germs responsible for bad breath by around a third.

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39. Treat bleeding gums

Furthermore, green tea can maintain other aspects of oral health, too. While it’s important to keep a regular cleaning routine with brushing and flossing, adding tea to the mix makes toothpaste and mouthwash more effective. Indeed, the Pace University study showed that this combination fights bacteria responsible for bleeding gums and tooth decay, as well as other viruses.

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40. Wrinkle treatment

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The antioxidant EGCG found in green and white tea is effective at boosting cell turnover. This in turn makes an effective weapon to combat wrinkles. However, as well as drinking several cups a day, the Chinese utilize tea as a face mask. By combining powdered green tea with a white tea brew, its antioxidants have a plumping effect on the skin, reducing the appearance of wrinkles.

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