By Kim Robson:
I drink tea every morning. The health benefits of tea are well-known. It fights cancer, reduces the risk of stroke and other diseases, and revitalizes cellular metabolism. But I had never given a second thought to tossing out the used tea bag. Well, as it turns out, used tea bags can be very useful. Why waste? Check out these practical ways to repurpose them.
Deflate Puffy Eyes: Pop used tea bags into a zipper bag and store in the fridge. Place chilled tea bags over your eyes to reduce tiredness, puffiness, and dark circles. The tannins in the teabag “compress” will constrict blood vessels, removing the redness and puffiness after a few minutes. This method also works for healing pink eye.
Heal Your Skin: Tea is great for sunburn, bruises, sore spots, poison ivy, bug bites, and even acne. Rub the tea bag right onto your skin or, better yet, throw several used tea bags into a warm bath. Got stinky feet? Use tea bags in a 20-minute foot soak.
Soothe a Toothache: Wet the tea bag in warm water and squeeze it out. Place the tea bag against the aching tooth and bite down to hold it in place. It also works great after tooth extractions to stop the bleeding.
Soothe Canker Sores: Chilled tea bags are great for soothing and healing canker sores faster.
Stop a Cut from Bleeding: Staunch minor bleeding fast by saturating a black tea bag with hot water, then holding it against the injury for 30 seconds. The tannins in the tea will quickly clot the blood so you can cover the cut with a bandage.
Cut Grease: Tea easily can cut through grease. Give your stove a rub down before tossing out that bag. Also great for cleaning cast iron pans. Just rub it on the pan after every use. The tea’s tannins will coat the pan with an invisible protective layer that prevents rust-causing oxidation.
In the Garden: Used tea is completely compostable (including the bag) and makes a great addition to your soil, as the tea is a fabulous “tonic” for plants. Roses especially love used tea leaves as much as they love used coffee grounds. You can place a tea bag in the bottom of a planter pot over the drainage hole to keep soil from spilling out, while also imparting nutrients to the soil.
Floor Cleaner: Throw some used tea bags in a quart of warm water and use to polish your wood floors, linoleum and furniture. Tea bags make excellent countertop and surface cleaners. You can also use them to buff out wood furniture and floor scratches.
Tenderize a Tough Cut of Meat: Here’s a great secret to tender, juicy steaks: Steep four black tea bags in 1 cup of water for 10 minutes, then combine with 1 cup double-strength beef stock. Marinate steaks for 20 minutes. The tea’s tannins will break down muscle fibers that make the beef tough.
Get Artistic: The staining effect of a wet tea bag can be used like a monochrome watercolor paint, just as with coffee stain art. You can paint on paper with them, or dye fabric and embroidery, or dye Easter eggs.