Tea bags, a staple in most households, are more versatile than you might think. Not only can they be used for making a healthy cup of tea, but their many uses make them one of the most useful items to keep around your kitchen or home.
Here are seven ways you can put those regular old tea bags to work:
Reduce Eye Puffiness
Used tea bags have anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce swelling and puffiness under the eyes. Simply steep two used tea bags in warm water for a few minutes and let them cool before placing them over your closed eyes for 10 minutes. The polyphenols and tannins found in tea help constrict blood vessels and reduce inflammation.
Soothe Your Skin
The same antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of tea can help soothe skin irritations. If you have dry skin, itchy rashes, or bug bites, try dabbing a cooled used tea bag on the affected area. The tannins will reduce the itch and swelling while providing some relief. You can also try adding a few tea bags to your bath water to help soothe your whole body.
Healing Minor Wounds
Tea bags can also be used to help heal minor wounds, such as scrapes, cuts, acne, minor burns, and sunburns. The tannins and antioxidants found in tea can reduce inflammation and help promote healing. Soak a used tea bag in warm water, let it cool, then place it over the wound for 10 minutes.
Freshen Up Your Fridge or Bathroom
Tea bags are great for absorbing food odors and replacing them with a fresh scent. Simply place one or two used tea bags in an open bowl to absorb odors and keep them smelling clean. Keep in mind that this is not a substitute for regular cleaning—just because the smell is gone doesn’t mean it is actually clean.
Instead of throwing used tea bags in the trash, add them to a compost pile. Tea bags are filled with essential nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus that can help add valuable minerals to the soil. Similarly, you can also add used tea leaves directly to the soil of your houseplants to give them a little nutrient boost.
Finishing Wood Furniture
Tea can also be used to stain and finish wood furniture. Darker teas like black or oolong will create a darker, richer finish, while lighter teas like green and white tea will give your furniture a light and natural finish. While other wood stain products may thickly coat your furniture and limit the wood grain, tea stains will let you show off the natural beauty of the wood.
Tea bags can also be used to add some extra flavor to your meals. You can try mixing the tea leaves from a used bag into your favorite marinades or sauces to add some extra depth of flavor. You can steep used tea bags in hot water and add that to soups or stews for added depth of flavor. You might also enjoy cooking rice or other whole grains in tea-infused water. Herbal teas such as chamomile, jasmine, or lavender tea can impart additional sweet and subtle floral flavors that will give your meals a delightful, unique flavor.