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29 Smart Ways To Reuse Tea Bags For Garden & Home

29 Smart Ways To Reuse Tea Bags For Garden & Home

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Tea bags can be used for numerous different things around your home and garden. Instead of tossing them in the trash, you can give those tea bags a new purpose. 

Reusing tea bags not only reduces waste but also unlocks a world of creative possibilities!

From beauty and skincare treatments to practical household tricks and DIY crafts, you would be amazed at the things that you can do with used tea bags. 

In this article, we are going to discuss some of the ways that you can reuse tea bags. So, let’s dive into the world of tea bag recycling! 

1. Add Them To Compost

After brewing your tea, don’t throw away those used tea bags! Instead, toss them into your compost bin. 

There are tea leaves that are rich in nutrients and can improve the quality of your compost, thus providing a natural boost for your garden. 

2. Tea Bags As Fire Starters

I am sure that everyone loves a cup of tea when they go camping in the wilderness. But, did you know that you can use spent tea bags to start the fire? 

The dried tea leaves are highly flammable and can help ignite your fire more easily, making your cozy evenings by the fire even more enjoyable.

You can also use paraffin wax to make it last longer. Dry them first, then dip them into molten paraffin. Your fire starters should be kept in a container or baggie once the wax has hardened.

Used cinnamon tea bags are fantastic fire starters! 

3. Clean Your Cutting Board With Tea Bags

Proper care for cutting boards will make them last longer. This includes using tea bags to clean them. 

Tea bags are great for removing pungent odors like onion and garlic. All you have to do is simply wipe the board’s surface with a warm, damp tea bag. 

The tannins in the tea help to neutralize odors, while its natural antimicrobial properties help keep your cutting board clean and hygienic.

4. Wash Greasy Dishes With Tea Bags

I hate cleaning greasy dishes – it seems like an impossible task to do, no matter how much water or detergent you use. That was the case until I discovered this hack!

Soak greasy pots and pans in warm water with a few used tea bags. The tannins in the tea will help break down the grease, making it easier to clean and leaving your dishes sparkling.

5. Deter Mice

If you are dealing with mice issues in your home, then you can use tea bags as a natural repellant. The strong scent of certain teas, such as peppermint or spearmint, acts as a natural deterrent, making your space less appealing to mice.

Simply put used tea bags in a place where mice are a problem – that should do the trick! 

If you want to try and grow your own peppermint, then check out: Everything You Need To Know About Flowering Peppermint

6. Refresh Your Refrigerator

Get rid of any unpleasant smells from your refrigerator by placing a couple of used tea bags inside. They will absorb and neutralize odors, leaving your fridge smelling fresh and clean. 

You can put some used black tea bags in a jar and store it in the back of the refrigerator. The bags should be switched every two weeks. 

7. Tea Bag Foot Soak

Nothing is more soothing after a long day of being on your feet than a good foot bath. Simply steep the tea bags in warm water and soak your feet in it. 

The tannins and antioxidants in the tea will reduce inflammation, remove smells, and nourish your skin. 

8. Clean Your Hands

When you are cooking with veggies like onion and garlic, or meat like fish and seafood, your hands will probably be smelly afterwards. What’s annoying is that you can’t get rid of the smell no matter how much soap you use when washing your hands! 

Luckily, you can use a damp, used tea bag to clean and deodorize your hands in no time. Just scrub some on your hands, and then wash them with regular soap.  

9. Herbal Tea Bath

Herbal tea bas can be used to make a soothing and aromatic bath that will hydrate your skin. Tie a few used tea bags together and hang them under the running water as you fill the tub.

If you think of the many benefits that come from simply drinking herbal tea, imagine the wonders that it can do for your skin! 

10. Get Rid Of Poison Ivy Rash

You can treat a poison ivy rash by applying cooled, used tea bags to the affected area. The natural compounds in the tea can help soothe itchiness and reduce inflammation [1]. 

You can spray cold tea over the affected area. And you can also rub the cooled tea bags to get rid of the rash. 

11. Say Goodbye To Puffy Eyes

You probably already know how puffy eyes can get in the morning, and it is really hard to get them looking normal in a short period of time. 

Fortunately, two used tea bags can do the trick! 

All you have to do is moisten some used tea bags before placing them on your eyes. You can also put them in the refrigerator for better effect. 

Keep them on your eyes for a few minutes so that caffeine and other compounds can be absorbed. The cool temperature and anti-inflammatory properties of the tea help constrict blood vessels, reducing swelling and leaving your eyes looking normal again [2].

12. Make A Hair Treatment

Instead of spending a lot of money on expensive hair treatments, why not try and make one on your own?

Tea bags contain natural compounds that promote shiny and healthy-looking hair!

Brew strong tea with used tea bags, allow it to cool, and use it as a final rinse after shampooing. For optimum effects, wait a few minutes before rinsing the tea from your hair and scalp.

This is especially useful if you have been using too much product or masks for your hair – this usually leads to a product build up on the scalp, which is something that tea hair treatment can get rid of quickly! 

13. Honey Tea Mask

You can also save a few bucks on expensive face masks and make one out of tea instead! 

Black tea, herbal tea, green tea, and almost all teas are beneficial for your skin. All you have to do is mix the tea leaves with two teaspoons of honey. 

Apply the mask to your face and leave it on for 10-15 minutes, then rinse off. The combination of tea’s antioxidants and honey’s moisturizing properties will leave your skin feeling hydrated and glowing.

14. Protect Plants From Fungi

Fungal diseases are the worst! 

Once these little fungi get onto your plants, it is hard to get rid of them. However, you can help prevent fungal diseases by misting your plants with a solution made from brewed, cooled tea

Tannins in the tea will prevent the fungi from infecting and spreading all over your plants. You can use this trick for both indoor and outdoor plants. 

Read also: Is Watering Plants With Tea Such A Good Idea? Find Out Here!

15. Treating Sunburn

Sunburns are pretty painful and many creams don’t help treat them. You can go the natural way and use tea bags to soothe your burnt skin. 

Gently press cooled, used tea bags (preferably chamomile or black tea) to the affected area. The anti-inflammatory properties of tea can help reduce redness and provide relief from the discomfort of sunburn.

16. Prevent Cast Iron From Rusting

You can protect your cast iron cookware from rust by simply wiping it with a used tea bag after cleaning. The tannins available in tea will create a natural barrier which helps prevent rust formation, thus keeping your cast iron items in great condition. 

You can use this every time you clean and dry a cast iron pan, but this is not necessary. 

17. Free Car Freshener

Just like you can upcycle toilet rolls to make a home air freshener, you can also use used tea bags for the same purpose in your car! 

Keep your car smelling fresh by simply placing a few dried, used bags under the seats or in the cup holders. Whichever place you choose will not only smell good, but the leaves will also help your car’s interior retain moisture and odor. 

You can also apply essential oils to the tea bag first if you want some extra fragrance! 

18. Fix Smelly Shoes

After being on your feet for the whole day, you should take a nice and relaxing foot bath; but you should also clean your shoes. Luckily, you can use tea bags for both! 

Get rid of unpleasant smells from your shoes by placing dried, used tea bags inside them overnight. The tea bags will absorb moisture and neutralize the smell, leaving your shoes fresh and odor-free.

Don’t forget to remove them before putting on your shoes again!

19. Tenderize Your Meat

You can also add flavor and tenderness to your meat by marinating it with brewed tea. Mix a cup of water with a used black tea bag and add other herbs and spices to create the perfect marinade.

The tannic acid will help tenderize the meat – just leave it to marinate for some time before cooking and enjoy your delicious meat afterwards! 

20. Clean The Floors

Just like you can use tea bags to clean pots and pans, you can use them to clean your floors as well! 

Black tea specifically can make wooden floors look incredibly shiny without making it too slippery to walk on. Just use boiling water to steep your used tea bags before adding them to the mop bucket or spraying the floor directly. 

This can also be used to polish and clean wooden furniture. 

21. Use Them To Refresh Carpets

Instead of using those powdered carpet refreshers with pungent odors, switch to something more natural instead. Let the tea bags dry until they are slightly moist. Then, sprinkle the leaves all over your carpet. 

Let them sit for a while and then vacuum them up. You can let them sit for an entire day. The tea leaves will absorb odors and leave your carpets smelling fresh and clean.

22. Flavor Addition

Teas are no different than the spices that we commonly add to our meals. You can include them when cooking pasta, quinoa, or even oatmeal! 

Add them to soups, stews, or rice dishes during cooking to enhance the taste and add a subtle hint of tea flavor. For instance, you can try and make cinnamon-spiced oatmeal by simply adding some used tea bags. 

23. Make A Facial Treatment

Your used tea bags can be added once again to a bowl of boiling water; the steam produced is a great facial treatment that will open up your pores and make your skin look nice and shiny. 

Use chamomile, green tea, or peppermint – the choice is yours! 

24. Free Mouthwash

Most commercial mouthwashes are basically tea and essential oils mixed with alcohol. Lately, more alcohol-free mouthwash has been produced, and they are quite expensive!

However, you can simply make one on your own – brew used tea bags into a strong tea, allow it to cool, and use it as a refreshing mouthwash. The antibacterial properties of tea can help combat bad breath and promote oral hygiene.

Check out this video for more detailed instructions.

25. Get Rid Of Pimples

If you want to bring pimples to your head, put a warm, damp bag over it. However, you can also use a cooled, used tea bag on a pimple or acne-prone area. 

Simply keep it on for a few minutes.The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of tea can help reduce redness and inflammation, promoting the healing process.

26. Treat Bug Bites

Similarly to treating poison ivy rashes, you can also apply used tea bags to bug bites. The tannins can help alleviate itching and reduce inflammation, providing relief from bug bites.

Apply black tea bags because they have the largest tannin concentration. You can use cooled or warm tea bags. 

27. Clean Your Glass 

If you want to have clean windows without the stench of ammonia or vinegar, try using tea to clean them! 

Dip a soft cloth or a paper towel in brewed tea, then use it to wipe away dirt and smudges. You can also use paper coffee filters to wipe them because they don’t leave behind streaks or lint. 

28. Litter Box Freshener

If you have a cat, then you are probably already familiar with the stinky smell that comes from the litter box. This can easily be fixed by adding some dry tea leaves to it! 

The tea bags will help absorb odors, keeping the litter box smelling fresher for longer. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t clean the box consistently! 

29. For Antique Crafting 

And lastly, you can get creative and use dried tea bags for your antique crafting projects! 

Tea bags can be used to age or stain paper, fabric, or other materials, giving them an antique or vintage appearance. Simply steep the tea bags in hot water, let them cool, and use the liquid to brush or soak your crafting materials for the desired aged effect.

You can also soak your needlepoint cloth in water with a few used tea bags to give it that antique and nostalgic touch. 

Unleash your imagination and bring a vintage charm to your arts and crafts! 


1. What are the tannins in tea and what are their benefits? Vinmec Healthcare System. 

2. Chatterjee, P., Chandra, S., Dey, P., & Bhattacharya, S. (2012). Evaluation of anti-inflammatory effects of green tea and black tea: A comparative in vitro study. Journal of advanced pharmaceutical technology & research, 3(2), 136.