TEA-lightful ways to repurpose leftover tea bags and leaves

People have been enjoying tea for thousands of years, and for a good reason! Not only does tea taste and smell good, it benefits the body. Green tea, especially, has been said to lower heart disease, reduce the risk of cancer, and even boost your immune system. 

If you drink tea regularly—like me—you probably go through a lot of tea bags. But don’t throw those away just yet. There’s so many fun and insightful ways to repurpose used tea bags and loose leaves!

  1. Pop ‘em on your eyes to get rid of puffy eyes

If you always get puffy eyes and dark circles no matter how long you sleep, you might want to try out this trick: Leave the tea bags in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes or until they’re cool and no longer dripping—you don’t want to have tea leaking all over your face! Then simply apply them to the eye area for a few minutes.

  1. Shining, shimmering floor

This one was a surprise for me, too. Apparently, the tannic acid in tea can add new shine to your wooden tables and floor. Black tea has the highest level of tannins so use it for best results. 

Boil your used black tea bags and apply the cooled solution on the surface that you want to polish. Make sure to use used tea bags because too strong a solution can end up in a sticky tabletop. 

  1. Deodorize your home

Tea smells amazing. We all know that. But did you realize that you can use tea to neutralize bad smells, too? If your refrigerator smells a bit funky and you want to get rid of the smell easily, try placing a bowl of used tea bags inside and wait for at least three days for the smell to dissipate. 

This trick isn’t just limited to the refrigerator. You can use this trick to remove other bad smells at home. Toss in a few used (dry!) tea bags in your shoes and make them smell fresher than they have been in a while. 

  1. Have a greener garden 

Same with adding new shine to your old furniture, you can use the weak tea you made from used tea bags to water your garden. Some plants like hydrangeas and spider plants thrive in slightly acidic soil. Make sure you don’t overdo it! Don’t add tea on top of the usual water you give them. And never use hot tea on plants, of course!

You can also add the leaves (don’t include the bags) to the soil and turn them into fertilizer. It can also speed up decomposition rate in your compost.

  1. Tenderize your meat

Cooking with tea might not surprise a lot of people, but did you know that the tannins in tea can help tenderize your meat? Set aside some brewed black tea and marinate your meat in it. It can also add a wonderful flavor to your meal.