Tea and tea bag in white cup on a pale green background

15 Ways To Reuse Tea Bags

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Ever feel guilty throwing out a tea bag after making just one cup? Me, too. And while I know some people will happily use the same bag for two or more cups, I just can’t. So, I have other ways to reuse tea bags to ease my guilt.

One thing to know, most of these don’t require hot, fresh tea bags. So, I unless noted, I stash them in the freezer then grab a tea bag to reuse when needed.

1. Impart a Tea Flavor

Tea-flavored pasta or grains are amazing. Try Orange and Cinnamon in your morning oatmeal. Green tea adds a delicate, rich taste to rice dishes. Lemon tea provides a lively flavor when making pasta. It’s a subtle yet powerful flavor twist.

2. Soothing Relief

The tannic acid in tea helps soften and exfoliate the skin. So, add a few decaf bags to your bath—chamomile is nice. Soak sore feet in a bowl of warm water with peppermint tea bags and some Epsom salts.

3. Eye Refresh

Soothe tired, irritated eyes used tea bags. Put two slightly damp, cool tea bags on your eyelids for five minutes and take a short rest. The cool temperature reduces irritation and depuffs eye bags.

4. Salon Shine

Tea makes a great rinse to remove product buildup and bring out your hair’s highlights. Soak a few in a cup of warm water for 30 minutes then pour it over freshly washed hair. No need to rinse. Reuse chamomile tea bags to brighten blonde hair, or black tea for a nice copper shine on brunettes.

5. Subtle Fabric Dye

Nude bras out of stock? Turn a white one beige by soaking it in a bowl filled with 3 cups of warm water, 1/2 cup of white vinegar to set the color, and 6 used black tea bags.

When it’s the desired shade, wring it out and let it air dry to set the color. Hand-wash in cool water and air dry again before wearing.

6. Burn Relief

Applying a chilled tea bag soothes minor cooking burns. To soothe sunburn, simmer 3 used tea bags in a quart of milk for 5 minutes, let it cool, then apply to with a cloth or spray bottle. The combination of tannic acid from the tea and lactic acid from the milk is skin soothing.

7. Rash Relief

Tea can cut through urishol, the oily sap in poison ivy or poison oak that causes itchy rashes. Press used tea bags on the rash for five minutes, then uncover the area and let it air dry. Repeat as needed.

8. Cooking Odors

If you’re not a fan of using vinegar to deodorize your home, try boiling several used tea bags with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a few cloves. Or make my Crockpot Cranberry Cinnamon Citrus Tea and you’ll get the same effect plus more tea bags to reuse!

9. Freshen the Fridge

Keep a used tea bag or two in shallow bowls in your fridge and freezer. The tea provides a light deodorizing effect. Replace them every three or four days, but don’t reuse those tea bags. They’ve done their duty now.

10. Cinderella’s Secret

If you’re stuck sweeping up ashes in the fireplace, sprinkle the contents of a few damp, used tea bags onto them first. Give the tea leaves a few minutes to bond with the ashes. Now, they’ll be easier to sweep up and they won’t smell awful, either.

11. Feed Some Plants

Some plants, like strawberries and azaleas, do best in highly acidic soils. Sprinkling the contents of used tea bags around their stems every week gives them just what they need. When you water, the tea’s acids will soak into the soil and reach the plant roots.

12. Help for Hurt Hineys

Placing a cool, used tea bag on external hemorrhoids helps shrink and soothe them. For added relief, make a sitz bath by filling the tub with 3 inches of water and adding 4 used tea bags. The tannic acid soothes those sore spots.

13. Pest Control

Tea’s slightly antimicrobial properties helps get rid of gnats that swarm around house plants. It also helps keep the soil free of fungus, so scatter the contents of your used tea bags freely.

14. Compost More Quickly

Adding tea to your compost pile helps speed the rate of decomposition. Don’t just toss tea bags on, since most of them are made from a material that doesn’t decompose. Cut the bags open instead and dump out the tea leaves, then toss the used tea bags in the trash.

15. Chill Without Diluting

What’s better to ice your iced tea with than tea turned into ice? This is the only time using a tea bag twice makes sense: steep used tea bags in hot water to make a weak brew then freeze it in ice cube trays.

Go wild using different flavors of tea: lemon tea in spritzers, berry teas in seltzer. Being creative is half the fun of figuring out how to reuse tea bags!

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