Posted on: September 7, 2017 at 12:29 pm
Last updated: November 9, 2017 at 6:29 pm

This amazing post was written by Jenn Ryan, a freelance writer, and editor who’s passionate about natural health, fitness, gluten-free, and animals. You can read more of her work at

Tea is one of my favorite beverages. I love a cup of hot tea to destress and revel in the wonder of life.

If you’re like me, you probably throw away your tea bag once you’ve finished steeping or drinking your tea. My grandmother always composted her tea bags, but other than that, I didn’t know of any other uses for them.

Fortunately, there are some really cool uses for your tea bags aside from just composting or throwing them away. Below are some amazing ways you can reuse old tea bags, and a few ideas for unused tea bags as well!

1. Compost Them

Let’s start with this tried and tested, common use for tea bags. For additional garden nutrients and even to deter pests, you can compost tea bags and even water your garden with a brew made from the leftover tea.

Avoiding tea bags with staples is a good idea, but in case you happen to use those, remove the staples before throwing them into your compost pile. Composting old tea bags can also speed up the decomposition process [1]. It’s important not to use tea bags that made of plastic, so check your label just in case!

Type of tea bags to use: Used; any and all are welcome in the compost pile!

2. Keep Your Home Smelling Fresh

Since tea leaves can help absorb odors, this is a cost-effective way to get smells out of just about anything in your home, including your carpet, the refrigerator, your trash can, kitty litter, and more.

Here’s how:

Carpet: Sprinkle dried tea leaves from your tea bags over your carpet or rug and let them sit for some time before vacuuming them up.

Fridge: You can collect old tea bags and keep them in your fridge to absorb smells.

Trash: You can place these in the bottom of your trash container to help them get rid of smells before you take your trash out.

Cat litter: You can go ahead and mix the dried tea leaves directly in your kitty litter to help stop smells from building up.

Tea bags are a great addition to any home when it comes to controlling odors!

Type of tea bags to use: Any kind will do for this purpose.


3. Create a Portable Custom Air Freshener

Since most tea bags already have a string, you can simply tie one or a few in your car to create a portable custom air freshener! Create a unique scent by putting a few drops of your favorite essential oil on your tea bag and then hanging it up in your car.

The best part about this is that you can continue to scent the tea bags with essential oils and keep reusing them to create a heavenly, natural scent in your car. They’re much healthier than toxic car fresheners.

Type of tea bags to use: Any unused tea bags are fine if you’re going to scent with essential oils, if not, fragrant teas such as jasmine, lavender, or mint are great.

4. Make Gourmet Dishes

You can flavor pasta, rice, quinoa, and more with an old teabag. People will have no idea what you did but they will love it!

Here’s how you do it: take one or a few old tea bags and keep them in your pot of water that’s boiling for your grain. Once the pot comes to a boil, you can remove the tea bags and add your ingredient in. Simple, effective, and not a tea leaf gone to waste.

Type of tea bags to use: Used jasmine, chai, green, and spice tea such as cinnamon are all wonderful.

5. Stop Mice from Coming In

Pests don’t like peppermint [2]. Ants, mice, and spiders tend to shy away from this herb. Therefore, your old mint tea bags make the perfect natural repellent to place in cabinets, by your door, and near mouse holes to stop mice from coming in this winter. You can further enhance the power of the tea bag by putting a few drops of peppermint essential oil on it.

Type of tea bags to use: Used peppermint and spearmint are great options!

6. Make a Super Quick Mouthwash

When you’re running late in the morning, don’t overlook those peppermint tea bags. You can quickly dunk them in warm water to make a mouth rinse to freshen breath and keep you ready for your on-the-go workday!

Type of tea bags to use: Unused peppermint and spearmint are best although sage and rosemary are also known for freshening breath.

7. Keep Grease from Sticking to Your Dishes

We’ve all felt angry pulling a dish out of the dishwasher only to find that part of last night’s meal is still stuck on there. Or maybe your pot or pan was burned so badly that you didn’t even try to wash it!

Never fear—old tea bags can help break up grease and burned-on food. Simply use a few tea bags to soak overnight in your dish, then wash the next morning. Easy and you didn’t even need to waste soap to accomplish this task!

Type of tea bags to use: Any used tea bags are fine!

8. May Help Treat Warts

Warts are extremely annoying. Plantar warts can be aggressive and painful, making you feel like you just want to rip them out. Unfortunately, getting rid of these warts can be difficult for some people.

Old tea bags may offer some relief. You can moisten up an old tea bag with warm water and apply to your wart at least once per day. This may help get rid of your wart! It takes commitment and won’t happen overnight, but give it a try and see what happens.

Type of tea bags to use: Green tea has been found to be particularly helpful when it comes to treating warts [3]

9. Keep Hands Smelling Fresh

We’ve all had the experience of eating crabs, chopping garlic, or working with a cooking ingredient that just won’t leave our hands. When it comes to stinky hands regardless of how many washings have happened, you can use discarded tea bags to keep hands smelling fresh.

Simply rub your hands with a moist tea bag to help absorb some of the scent and stop stinky odors from perpetuating overnight.

Type of tea bags to use: Any used tea bag is fine, although stronger scents such as peppermint may have more of an effect.

10. Calm Razor Burn

I hate razor burn, which isn’t the only reason why I stopped shaving, but it was definitely one of them.

Turns out, you can calm razor burn with old tea bags. All you need is a few old tea bags and moisten them up with warm water, then use them as a compress on your razor burn. It’ll help soothe and heal your skin and diminish the appearance of that unsightly rash.

Types of tea bags to use: Calming herbs such as chamomile and lavender tea bags are best! Although any tea bag would work, peppermint may be too strong and sting your razor burn.

11. Create an Oasis in Your Tub

When it comes to taking baths, I am the queen. I know exactly which type of bath tub is good and which are terrible. I know the right temperature of the water, which bubble baths are the best, and which essential oils and salts to use.

So it’s no surprise that I know that you can create an oasis in your tub with used tea bags. They’re easy to use and you can simply let your bath water run over them or tie them together and let them soak in the t


This can not only help your skin but may help stop food odors too!

Types of tea bags to use: Jasmine, chamomile, calendula, lavender, rosemary, and peppermint are all stunning. Green tea and white tea are great to use too [4].

12.Stop Poison Ivy

The last time I got poison ivy was last summer at a really crappy rental house in North Carolina. Fortunately, it didn’t spread, but I know you’ll agree with me when I say that I hate poison ivy.

If you suspect you got poison ivy or notice a blister from the rash on your skin, you can use an old tea bag to absorb the oil so it doesn’t spread. You can also warm that tea bag up with a bit of warm water and put on the suspected area.

Types of tea bags to use: Peppermint would be best and can help stop any itching you might have!

13. Use for Relaxation and Anti-inflammatory Properties

Teabags are excellent to use to help calm and relax the body thanks to their anti-inflammatory properties. You can use them for tired eyes, sunburn, bruises, bug bites, toothaches, blisters, and more. Here’s how.

Tired or puffy eyes: Take two old tea bags and get them slightly moist, warm or cool water as you prefer. Lay back and place them over your eyes for a few minutes and just relax.

Sunburn: Take a few tea bags and use them over the affected area; slightly moisten them with cool water.

Bruises: Moisten the teabag with warm water and place over the affected area for a few minutes to help heal bruises faster.

Bug bites: To take the sting out of a bug bite and help stop itching, you can apply a moistened tea bag over the area.

Toothache: Place a warm teabag over the area on the outside and let it soothe your tooth!

Blister: Don’t pop a blister! Just use a warm teabag to help and it’ll look and feel better in the morning.

Types of tea bags to use: Lavender, chamomile, calendula, and peppermint are all great although any tea bag should do the trick.

14. Grow Healthier Plants


By using old tea bags in the bottom of flower pots just at the draining site, you can help grow bigger, healthier plants. Not only do the tea bags help provide the soil with nutrients, but they also keep your soil moist for a bit longer. You can use this for potted plants that are outside or inside.

Types of tea bags to use: Herbal tea bags are best as many plants don’t like caffeine.

15. Stop Infections

Warm used tea bags can help to draw infections out of topical afflictions, including pink eye, canker sores, and fever blisters. Never use a reused tea bag twice when applying it to an area that might be infected.

Types of tea bags to use: Any and all, herbal teabags will likely have more antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties but the warm temperature will help draw out infection.

16. Nourishing Hair Rinse

You’ve heard of apple cider vinegar to help rinse out hair and create a soft, lustrous shine, but you can also use old tea bags to achieve the same effects at no extra cost!

Old tea bags can help condition hair. You do it by simply making a weak tea out of whatever tea bags you have left over, then rinse your hair with the solution after shampooing and conditioning as normal.

Types of tea bags to use: Any!

17. Use as a Homemade Dye

This is one of the more creative uses of tea bags. Old tea bags can be steeped and used to create tones of brown, orange, and green. You can dye cloth, paper for gifts, cards, homemade crafts, and more.

Old tea bags are the perfect non-toxic dye for kids! You can even use old tea bags to stain wood or dye your hair [5].

Types of tea bags to use: Any! Green tea will create a light green color while black tea will create brown, herbal teas such as hibiscus may create a deep red or pinkish color.

How to Store

Storing your old tea bags correctly is essential to making sure you can use them when the time comes. Like any other type of food, tea bags will go bad after a certain amount of time.

You can store tea bags at room temperature for up to 24 hours. After that, you’ll need to refrigerate them. They will go bad eventually, but you can usually tell by scent whether or not to discard them. You can save them for a while until you have enough to use for what you want.

Have you ever used old tea bags for any creative and effective uses? For someone like myself who drinks a lot of tea, these 17 uses are ways to creatively recycle tea bags and create an eco-friendly lifestyle. Drink up and use tea bags to help deodorize your home, create nutrient-rich compost, keep pests away, and much, much more. Enjoy!

Jenn Ryan
Health Expert
Jenn Ryan is a freelance writer and editor who's passionate about natural health, fitness, gluten-free, and animals. She loves running, reading, and playing with her four rescued rabbits.

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