10 Interesting Uses of Tea Bags (besides making chai)
You just brewed a cup of tea, took a sip and aahhh…what a refreshing tea you’ve made that can instantly pick you up. Hey! Don’t toss away those tea bags. Let me tell you how you can use those used tea bags to benefit you in several ways. You’ll thank us later.
1. Add some Extra Flavor to Your Food
Used tea leaves still possess a small portion of their original flavor which can be used to add a subtle yet unique and delicious flavor to pasta, rice or other grains. Simply soak the used tea bags in water, to create a very weak tea, which can then be used to cook the food. Flavor pasta with green tea, rice with jasmine or chamomile tea, and oatmeal with either cinnamon spice tea or chai.
The extra flavor in used tea bags can also be used to strengthen other cups of tea by reusing them, along with a fresh tea bag in the same cup.
2. Treat Sunburn and Other Skin Conditions
Black tea contains natural chemicals (particularly tannins) which help soothe, protect, and heal skin. You can either place dampened, used tea bags over sunburnt spots and leave them there for some time, or soak the tea bags in water to make weak tea which can be applied to the skin. To treat widespread sunburn, you can even place around ten used tea bags in a bath tub and soak your entire body. Be sure however, not to use hot water as this can cause further irritation.
The same properties of tea that make it useful to treat sunburn also make it effective at reducing other types of skin irritation such as canker sores or insect bites.
3. Heal Bruises with Tea Bags
Bruises are formed when small blood vessels, known as capillaries, are ruptured beneath the skin. The tannic acid in tea accelerates the healing of bruises, because it works as an anti-inflammatory agent, constricting blood vessels around the bruise and reducing swelling and inflammation. Simply place a new or used tea bag, which has been soaked in water, over the bruised area and hold it there for a while.
4. Eliminate Bad Odors around the House Using Tea Bags
Tea bags can neutralize and absorb almost all types of unpleasant smells. You could, for example mix dry tea leaves with cat litter, leave used dry tea bags at the bottom of your garbage bins or inside your sneakers, or pop a few bags into the refrigerator to keep it smelling fresh.
5. Heal Bleeding or Swollen Gums
Placing a damp tea bag over tender, damaged gums can reduce pain, inflammation and bleeding, protects your gums from infection in the damaged area and even reduce the risk of developing periodontal disease. This too is due to the tannins in tea and their astringent and antimicrobial properties.
6. Clean Grimy Dishes
Soaking dishes overnight in warm water that has had a few used tea bags added to it will soften grime and other food particles that may be stuck to them, facilitating their removal.
7. Freshen Up Carpets and Rugs
To do this, all you need to do is break open used tea bags and sprinkle very slightly damp leaves over the carpet that needs to be cleaned. Allow some time (about fifteen minutes) for the leaves to absorb odor and moisture from the carpet before removing them using a vacuum cleaner.
8. Feed Your Plants Some Tea
Watering your plants with weak tea–created by soaking a few used tea bags in a large bucket of water–or sprinkling used tea leaves on the soil around the base of your plants can help protect them from fungal infections, fertilize soil and repel pests. You can also add tea bags, or leaves to your compost pile to increase its quantity of nutrients.
9. Reduce Under-eye Puffiness
By simply placing cool, damp, used tea bags over your eyes for about fifteen minutes, you can significantly reduce under-eye swelling and leave your face feeling cool and refreshed.
10. Rust Proof Cast Iron
The tannins in black tea oppose oxidation and so rubbing cast iron cookware with a damp, used tea bag before storing them away will prevent rust from forming on them.