15 Creative Ideas for Used Tea Leaves

People have been drinking tea for almost 5,000 years now. Some teas are true teas (teas derived from the camellia Sinensis plant), while others are herbal teas (also called “tisanes”). No matter the tea you prefer, there are tea leaves that remain after enjoying it. Read on if you are wondering what to do with used tea leaves.

Used tea leaves can be used as deodorizers and air fresheners. They are very good at cleaning surfaces and restoring wood furniture. Used tea leaves can help repel common household pests and grow plants, too. They are effective for dealing with skin and hair issues as well as reducing stress levels.

Refrain from throwing away used tea leaves. There are many uses for them besides giving you a cup of a health-giving and delightful drink. Below, you will come across 15 incredible uses for used tea leaves!

tea leaves


When it comes to storing loose tea leaves or tea bags, it’s a must to store them away from herbs and spices. That’s because they have the tendency to absorb odors, which can alter their taste and aroma.

It’s because of this why used tea leaves can double as deodorizers. They are very good at absorbing unfavorable odors, especially those that are found in kitchens and bathrooms. If you are looking for a cheap and effective way to remove bad smells from any area in your home, you may count on used tea leaves.

Here are some fantastic ideas on using used tea leaves as powerful deodorizers…

  • Place a small bowl of used tea leaves in the refrigerator to eliminate nasty food smells.
  • Stash dry used tea bags in your shoes, especially those you use for working out, to keep them smelling fresh.
  • Allow tea leaves to dry and mix them with kitty litter to get rid of unfavorable cat odors indoors.
  • Rub damp used tea leaves on your hands to get rid of the smell of fish, onions, garlic, etc.

Room Freshener

Besides absorbing nasty odors, some used tea leaves can also double as air fresheners. This is especially true for those that give off a nice aroma when they are brewed. So, in other words, using them not only eliminates bad smells in the kitchen, bathroom or any other area but also makes the room smell pleasant.

Some used tea leaves that can be used as air fresheners include…

  • Lavender tea
  • Chamomile tea
  • Jasmine tea
  • Bergamot tea
  • Rosemary tea
  • Lemon balm tea
  • Orange tea
  • Peppermint tea
  • Eucalyptus tea
  • Ylang-ylang tea
  • Hibiscus tea

For best results, use an essential oil burner to freshen the room with your preferred used tea leaves. You may combine different used tea leaf types or add a few drops of your preferred essential oil to make your signature smell. You may also add dry, used tea leaves to a bowl of potpourri.

Surface Cleaner

Many surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom can end up grimy and smelly in no time.

Using household cleaning products that contain questionable chemicals is a complete no-no. That’s because the fumes they emit may irritate the airways and lungs.

They may also irritate your eyes and skin, and give you headaches, too.

It’s a good thing that many household cleaning products these days are out of 100% natural ingredients. Sadly, the majority of them do not have cheap price tags.

Because of this, many health- and budget-conscious homeowners count on home remedies for dirty countertops, sinks, floors and others.

A lot of them count on used tea leaves. Used tea leaves are very good for removing grime on surfaces and eliminating disease-causing microbes. Used tea leaves also help polish a variety of surfaces.

Some homeowners swear by the effectiveness of used tea leaves as window cleaners! All you have to do is rub a damp used tea bag on glass. Wipe clean with a paper towel afterward.

Grease Cutter

One of the reasons why used tea leaves are excellent surface cleaners is that they can cut grease. What makes used tea leaves capable of removing grease is their tannins.

To get started, place greasy dishes and cookware in a sink. Fill the sink with warm water. Drop two to three used tea bags in the sink — you may add a few more used tea bags to get rid of stubborn grease and stains. Wait for five minutes to pass. Afterward, arm yourself with a scouring pad.

You will find that you need to scrub less!

Allowing really greasy pots and pans to sit in warm water with a few tea bags overnight is a great idea.

By the way, you may also use used tea leaves for removing fingerprints on smooth surfaces. For instance, you may use a slightly damp tea bag to clean the lenses of your eyeglasses or the display panel of your smartphone.

Wood Restorer

There are a couple of reasons why wood furniture pieces are fantastic. First, they can add a touch of warmth, elegance and texture to any room in the home. Second, they are good for the planet as they are out of renewable material.

Unfortunately, the surface of furniture out of wood is prone to scratches.

This is especially true if there are kids and pets at home. The good news is that sanding, filling and finishing problem areas can restore any wooden furnishing’s former glory. Sadly, not everyone has the skill and experience to pull off DIY wood restoration.

It’s a good thing that used tea leaves are fantastic removers of superficial scratches on wood furniture. Black tea is the best one for the job. Follow these steps to bid those hideous scratches farewell…

  1. Steep one or two used black tea bags in a little hot water.
  2. Wait for two to three minutes to pass.
  3. Fish the used black tea bags out of the water and squeeze.
  4. Apply the dark-colored liquid on scratches using a cotton swab.
  5. Re-apply to match the color of the wooden surface.
  6. Allow to dry and use your favorite wood polish.

Pest Repeller

Are you looking for an all-natural way to drive away common household pests such as ants, cockroaches, bed bugs, silverfish and beetles?

Look no further than used tea bags. Many of the teas you love to drink are hated by a variety of insects. This is especially true for those with strong aromas that pests find revolting.

Lavender tea is a very popular and effective home remedy for some pests. In essential oil form, lavender can kill bed bugs and a few other common household pests on contact. In tea form, lavender can no longer kill them. But the good news is that lavender tea, including used lavender tea bags, can still repel them.

To drive away pests, sprinkle used lavender tea leaves on hotspots.

Other pest-repelling teas include…

  • Peppermint tea
  • Eucalyptus tea
  • Spearmint tea
  • Sage tea
  • Basil tea
  • Lemon balm tea
  • Lemongrass tea

Sadly, counting on used tea bags alone won’t make common household pests leave you alone. Used tea bags with pest-repelling properties should be paired with other effective DIY solutions.

In some instances, it’s a good idea to get in touch with a local pest control company, especially if the infestation is severe.

Plant Fertilizer

Many people make it a habit to drink tea to enjoy the many health benefits they bring.

Did you know that used tea leaves can make plants healthy, too?

That’s because they can be used as fertilizers. Thanks to the nutrients and antioxidants in them, plus their ability to improve the soil’s pH levels, used tea leaves can make plants grow better.

Used tea leaves can be used as plant fertilizers in a couple of ways…

  • Add to the compost bin. Used tea leaves help speed up the decomposition of organic materials. Because of this, it won’t take long before you can sprinkle compost on vegetables and fruit-bearing plants or mix it into the soil of potted plants to keep them in a healthy state.
  • Sprinkle around the base of plants. Worry not if you are not into composting. That’s because you can still use used tea leaves as fertilizers by applying them around the plants or raking them into the soil. Just make sure that you allow used tea leaves to dry under the sun or in the oven beforehand to keep mold at bay.

Which plants like tea leaves?

Plants that like used tea leaves are those that thrive better in slightly acidic soil. Some of them are azaleas, camellias, hydrangeas, daffodils, magnolias, daffodils, begonias, rhododendrons and strawberries. Many vegetables love used tea leaves, too, such as rhubarbs, sweet potatoes and radishes.

Eye Bag Remover

You can make those unsightly bags under your eyes go away with the help of used tea leaves. They are just as effective as beauty store-bought under-eye patches for eliminating eye bags, but a lot cheaper.

What makes used tea leaves effective for removing eye bags is that they contain caffeine. Caffeine deals with eye bags by removing excess water and improving circulation.

Needless to say, only true teas that have caffeine are capable of removing eye bags. Herbal teas such as peppermint, lavender, jasmine, and rosemary cannot make eye bags go away.

If you are prone to having eye bags, it’s a wonderful idea to immediately place used tea leaves in an airtight container and keep them in the refrigerator. Before you head out, grab a couple of tea bags, dampen with cold water, and place over your peepers.

Wait for 15 to 20 minutes — bye, eye bags!

Skin Exfoliator

According to dermatologists, people with normal skin should exfoliate twice a week. Those with oily or acne-prone skin, on the other hand, might consider exfoliating on an everyday basis.

However, it’s of utmost importance to exfoliate as gently as possible. Otherwise, it may do more harm than good.

Many exfoliating scrubs and cleansers contain coarse beads that can irritate and damage the topmost layer of your skin. To remove dead skin cells and debris trapped in the pores safely and effectively, give used tea leaves a try.

To get rid of dullness and roughness, all you have to do is combine one part of used tea leaves and three parts of sugar. Add a little honey or yogurt. Gently rub on your face and other areas of the body that are prone to getting dull and rough, such as the elbows and knees. Rinse thoroughly with water and apply your favorite moisturizer.

Foot Soother

At the end of a long and exhausting day, your feet can feel tired. Sadly, it’s not all the time that someone is around to give them a soothing rub. The good news is that you can soothe your worn-out feet with used tea leaves.

The best foot soother for the job is chamomile tea because it can relax tired and tensed muscles. To soothe your tired feet, all you have to do is place a few used chamomile tea bags in a basin of warm water. Soak your feet in it for half an hour. Many people swear by the effectiveness of adding half a cup of Epsom salt to warm water.

Besides chamomile tea, you may also count on the following foot soothers…

  • Lavender tea
  • Jasmine tea
  • Peppermint tea
  • Eucalyptus tea
  • Green tea
  • Black tea

Soothing your feet with used tea bags is also a great way to deal with too much stress. In a few, we will discuss another thing about what to do with used tea leaves to relieve chronic stress and prevent its health effects.

Sunburn Reliever

First things first: Before engaging in fun and exciting activities under the sun, remember to apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, which is enough to block up to 97% of the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Failure to do so may increase your risk of having skin cancer.

It may also leave you with premature skin aging signs and a sunburn.

In case you end up with a sunburn, fret not. You can attain relief from the pain, stinging sensation, redness and swelling by applying used tea bags soaked in cold water on sunburned areas.

Used tea leaves work because they have tannins and antioxidants that help deal with the unfavorable signs and symptoms of a sunburn.

For best results, soak used tea bags in cool water again once they are already at room temperature. It’s also a good idea to take cool showers or baths on a regular basis and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and speed up healing.

Razor Burn Soother

There is another type of burn that used tea leaves can help deal with: razor burn.

Anyone who shaves to get rid of excess or unwanted facial and body hair is at risk of having razor burn. This is most especially true for somebody who has sensitive skin, does not know how to shave properly, or uses a dull razor.

It can take two to three days for the signs and symptoms of razor burn to go away. Some of them include redness, itchiness and a burning sensation. Bumps due to razor burn, on the other hand, can take two weeks or more to heal.

Luckily, there is a way to speed up recovery from razor burn.

All you have to do is to place used tea bags soaked in cold water on problem areas. Leave them in place for at least five minutes and rinse your skin with cool water afterward. Tannins in used tea leaves are very good at relieving razor burn signs and symptoms naturally.

Hair Conditioner

Conditioning the hair may be done daily. This is to make it easier to manage the mane and keep it from ending up damaged and dehydrated. Alas, most hair conditioners out there do not come easy on the pocket.

If you love drinking tea on a regular basis, you can keep your hair in tip-top shape without spending a lot of cash. All you have to do is save used tea bags and use them to condition your hair. Tea helps restore the normal pH of your scalp.

What’s more, it protects the hair shaft from damage, thanks to the loads of antioxidants tea contains.

Here are the steps on how to use used tea as a hair conditioner:

  1. Soaked some used tea bags in hot water.
  2. Once at room temperature, remove used tea bags.
  3. Transfer the resulting tea to a spray bottle.
  4. Shampoo and rinse your hair very well.
  5. Spray onto the scalp and massage.
  6. Wear a plastic hair cap and wait for 30 to 45 minutes.
  7. Rinse your hair with cool water.

Just a word of caution: If you have light-colored hair, using tea as a conditioner may slightly darken it. Worry not as the color will go away the next time you hit the shower.

Breath Freshener

Tea has antimicrobial properties, thanks to the catechins in them. Put simply, catechins are plant compounds with superb antioxidant properties. They can kill germs by damaging their cell membranes.

Because of this, you may gargle with water in which used tea bags are steeped to freshen your breath. It works by getting rid of odor-causing microbes in your mouth.

What’s so nice about using tea as a breath freshener is that it’s alcohol-free — it won’t dry up your mouth and make it smelly. For best results, gargle with tea with a minty flavor and aroma.

If it seems like you have bad breath all the time and there’s a bad taste in your mouth, too, see a dentist. That’s because you may have gum disease. Also called “periodontal disease”, it’s important to diagnose and treat gum disease ASAP.

Otherwise, you may end up with irreversible damage to your gums and even jaw bone.

Stress Buster

Experiencing stress from time to time is perfectly fine.

However, it is a different matter if you are stressed all the time. It’s called chronic stress, which is a risk factor for health problems such as obesity, digestive issues, and heart disease.

Needless to say, it’s a must that you deal with high levels of stress without delay.

The good news is that there are many ways to eliminate stress. Taking a trip to the day spa is a very popular example. Alas, getting your stress reduced at a day spa doesn’t come for free.

Some used tea leaves can help you lower your stress and relax you mentally and physically. All you have to do is add them to lukewarm bath water and soak in it for several minutes. You may also use an essential oil burner to fill the bathroom air with their soothing fragrance while enjoying a relaxing bath. Some of the best teas for the job are…

  • Lavender tea
  • Chamomile tea
  • Jasmine tea
  • Rosemary tea
  • Rose tea
  • Lemon balm tea
  • Holy basil tea
  • Peppermint tea

Just Before You Throw Away Used Tea Leaves

Instead of throwing away used tea leaves, save them. They can come in handy in a number of ways, from deodorizing a room, cutting grease, alleviating a sunburn to lowering your stress levels. Using tea leaves for things other than making a cup of your favorite drink is both smart and money-saving.

Happy brewing!

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