Insider’s info: it’s the tannins in tea that make all of this possible.
1. Rust-proof your cookware.
Your How-To: Simply rub your cookware with a used tea bag, making sure every inch of the surface is covered.
Your How-To: Press a used tea bag against the affected area and apply pressure for several minutes.
3. Neutralize household odors.
The options here are endless. You can place dried, used tea bags in the bottom of the trash can to keep odors at bay; you can place dried, used tea leaves in kitty litter to neutralize the odor; you can pop a used tea bag in the bottom of an ashtray to absorb odor; you can even store some brewed tea bags in the refrigerator to keep things fresh.
Just don’t get confused by what goes where…
4. Clean carpets and rugs.
Your How-To: Store used tea bags in the refrigerator with a little water to prevent spoiling. Once you have enough herbs to cover the carpet with, begin opening the bags and drying the leaves out. Now, sprinkle the dried herbs and a little baking soda on the carpet. They’ll absorb the odors within about 20 minutes. Now, vacuum.
5. Feed the garden.
Used tea bags are a gardener’s secret weapon!
Your How-To: Toss them into the compost, toss them into holes (as shown in the photo below), or sprinkle the dried tea leaves into your soil.
6. Add flavor to pastas and grains.
Depending on what tea you like to drink, those herbal flavors can add a real boost to your plain pastas and grains.
Your How-To: Toss a used tea bag into the pot of water you’re bringing to a boil. Once the water has boiled, remove the bag and cook as usual.
Skeptics should try: green tea in rice, chamomile tea in pasta salad and cinnamon tea in oats.
7. Deter household pests.
Tucking dried, used tea bags in cupboards, drawers and pantries helps to deter pests like mice from making their home in yours.
Insider’s tip: mint and cinnamon teas work best.
8. DIY foot soak.
Tea isn’t just for detoxifying from the inside out; it can be used to help you detoxify from the outside in, too!
9. Reduce bad breath.
Tea, especially chamomile, is a natural breath freshener.
Your How-To: Used double-brewed tea as a refreshing, cleansing mouthwash by simply re-brewing old tea bags and using the solution as you would any other mouthwash.
10. DIY glass cleaner.
Your How-To: Simply re-brew used tea bags and place the solution into a spray bottle. Use as any other glass cleaner.
11. De-stress your eyes.
Okay, this is a classic used tea bag hack: put the damp tea bags over your eyes for about 15 minutes to rejuvenate skin naturally.
Aside from the helpful tannins, the tea’s caffeine is said to shrink the blood vessels around your eyes, making dark, puffy bags disappear.
12. Heal sunburns.
Your How-To: Soak up the soothing powers of tea by taking a burn-relieving bath. Simply toss used bags into the bath and soak for 30 minutes.
13. Ease razor burn.
In the same way old tea bags can be used to help reduce the symptoms of a sunburn, they can be used to ease razor burn.
Your How-To: Just place a damp, used tea bag on the affected area and press until the pain is alleviated.
14. DIY grime remover.
The liquid from used tea bags has serious cleaning potential.
Your How-To: Re-brew used tea bags; soak a rag in the solution and wring it out well. Now, wipe down grime on counters, window sills, baseboards and more.
15. DIY drainage cover for potting plants.
Your How-To: Simply toss a dried, used tea bag in the bottom of the pot.
16. DIY herbal hair conditioner.
Your How-To: Re-brew tea from used bags. Pour this solution–after it has had time to cool down–over your hair after shampooing.
17. DIY herbal bath.
This is by far my favorite used tea bag hack.
Your How-To: For the lazy bather, just toss the bags in.
18. Clean and shine your wood floors.
Your How-To: Simply make the same solution of re-brewed tea you’ve been making for the other hacks. Earth 911 recommends using about five to 10 tea bags per gallon of water. Then, use as you would any other wood floor cleaner.
19. Relieve poison ivy itch.
Your How-To: Use several old tea bags to brew a strong cup of tea; then, soak a cotton ball and use it to dab the affected area. Let the area dry and repeat until the itch subsides.
20. Cut through grease with ease.
Tea tannins are very effective at cutting through grease–just ask my dishes!
Your How-To: Just toss your after-dinner tea bag in your greasy pan, fill with warm water and let it work its magic overnight.