Skip to main content

Alternative uses for black tea and teabags.


 Most of us enjoy a nice hot cup of tea whether it is made with tea leaves or tea bags, but were you aware that there are a huge amount of alternative uses for both tea and tea bags that you may find useful in your day to day lives? I decided to write this hub in order to share with you some of these surprising tips so that you too can recycle your used tea and tea bags in ways you never thought possible.

1) Next time a mosquito bites you and leaves you with an increasingly itchy bump somewhere on your body, try applying a hot tea bag over the bump until the bag goes cold. This will soothe the itch and draw out any infection.

2) Tired eyes? Apply a couple of warm used teabags to your closed eyes and then relax on your bed for half an hour or so. This will tighten up the skin around the eye area and also leave your eyes feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

3) Add used tea bags and tea leaves to your compost bin as they rot down easily and provide a great nutritional boost to the resulting compost.

4) Bury used tea bags and tea leaves around your rose bushes and acid-loving plants (such as azaleas) to produce fantastic blooms in the following season.

5) Clean your household mirrors using cold black tea and buff them up to a sparkling finish.

6) Use cold wet tea bags on sunburned areas of skin to soothe and heal the burns.

7) Apply cold tea bags to rashes on the skin to ease the irritation and aid the healing.

8) Soak feet in strong peppermint tea to cure foot odour.

9) Use freshly made tea and a soft cloth to buff up wooden furniture and get a fabulous shine.

10) Use a wet tea bag to ease the pain caused from razor burn.

11) Rinse washed hair with cold herbal tea to leave it soft and shiny.

12) Soak a tea bag in cold water and apply to the bleeding site of a lost tooth to ease pain and help stop the bleeding..

13) Gargle with peppermint tea to ease toothache.

14) Tannic acid is found naturally in black tea, therefore applying a warm, wet tea bag to your warts several times a day will rapidly shrink them.

15) Use normal black tea to rinse your hair in order to produce red highlights.

16) Sprinkle dry herbal tea leaves (in your favourite flavours) on to your carpets and vacuum off after 15 minutes to remove stale odours and leave a pleasant fragrance behind.

17) Soak saucepans overnight in hot water with a couple of tea bags to remove caked on food and facilitate easy cleaning.

18) Use cold black tea to artificially "age" paper and give a parchment type appearance, (this also works on lace and fabrics).

Scroll to Continue

19) Apply a cold wet tea bag to a black eye to draw out the bruising and speed up healing.

20) Use dry scented herbal tea bags in your clothes drawers and wardrobes in order to leave clothes sweetly perfumed.

21) Use normal household tea bags in your refrigerator to absorb and remove nasty odours.

22) Run a few cups of really strong black tea through freshly washed damp greying hair in order to tint it on a semi-permanent basis, (Thearubigin formed during the oxidizing process binds to proteins in the hair, creating semi-permanent dye.)

23) Use a tea bag to clean your windows. Astringent tea is great at removing greasy fingerprints from glass. Use a damp teabag or a spray bottle filled with tea instead of your regular household cleaner.

24) Use as an artificial tan for your skin. Brew some strong black tea, allow to cool and then fill up a plastic spray bottle with the tea. Spray over clean dry skin and allow to dry naturally in order to produce a healthy looking tan. Repeat layers until the level of colour you require has been achieved.

25) Tape a wet tea bag over your painful boil before bed. By the time you wake up the boil should have completely, (and painlessly) drained.

26) Soothe nipples sore from breastfeeding by applying an ice cold wet tea bag under a nursing pad over the nipple inside your bra for five minutes. The tannic acid in the tea will help to heal the sore nipple.

27) Next time you or your baby have a sore arm as a result of an injection, apply a warm wet teabag to the site of the injection until the tea bag goes cold. The tannic acid in the tea will soothe the soreness.

28) Ease ulcers in the mouth, sore gums and toothache using a hot mouthwash made from peppermint tea with a couple of pinches of salt added. This is both antiseptic and soothing. You can make your own peppermint tea by steeping fresh peppermint leaves in boiling water for several minutes.

29) Marinade tough meat in black tea to tenderise it to a 'melt in the mouth texture'. Place 4 tablespoons of black tea leaves in a pot of warm (not boiling) water and steep for 5 minutes. Strain to remove the leaves and stir in 1/2 cup brown sugar until it dissolves. Set aside. Season up to 3 pounds (1.5 kilograms) meat with salt, pepper, onion, and garlic powder, and place it in a Dutch oven. Pour the liquid over the seasoned meat and cook in a preheated (165°C) oven until the meat is tender, about 90 minutes.

30) Pour a few cups of strong black tea on to your compost heap or into your compost bin in order to rapidly speed up the decomposition process and attract acid producing bacteria.


Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on August 19, 2018:

Thank you Celeste, I am so glad you enjoyed this and found it useful :)

Celeste Wilson on August 19, 2018:

I love tea but I never in a million years realized the bag's use afterward. I remember my Granny soaking her hair in black tea. Your hub just made me remember this about her. Thank you for an informative article.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on December 03, 2015:

Thank you Graham, what a lovely compliment to receive :)

Graham Lee from Lancashire. England. on December 03, 2015:

Hi Misty. What a great and informative hub! Tip top research and presentation. I have saved it for future reference. Well done.


Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 25, 2013:

Thanks seanorjohn, it is always lovely to get a compliment from a great hubber like yourself. I hope you enjoy trying out the various ideas (apart from the tanning one lol). I suppose you could try out the tanning one on a small area of flesh first so you can gauge the results before trying it on a larger area though :).

seanorjohn on January 25, 2013:

Wow, this is incredible. I think the compost and mirror and furniture cleaning are the ones for me. I cetainly wouldn't be brave enough to try the tanning one. Voted up.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 18, 2013:

Thanks Angela, I really hope you give these ideas a try as you won't be disappointed.

Angela Kane from Las Vegas, Nevada on January 18, 2013:

Voted up and useful. I never knew there were so many useful things for black tea bags. Great hub.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 14, 2013:

Hi Dolores, that is a very good question as it depends on the size of the bucket I guess. I would have thought half a dozen teabags would be enough, but it is probably worth experimenting and checking the colour of the tea as you are making it.

Thanks for commenting and glad you enjoyed the hub :)

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on January 14, 2013:

We always have tea in the house so I enjoyed reading all your uses for it! As an avid gardener, I often have bumps and booboos on my hands, punctures from thorns, etc. A hot tea bag really does the trick if it starts to look infected.

Question - if you wash wood floors with tea, how much tea for a bucket of water?

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on July 02, 2012:

Thanks for your input Melanie, this is a good extra tip to know :)

Melanie on July 02, 2012:

On the suggestion of a friend, I tried putting a tea bag in my mouth for toothache pain. And, to my surprise, it worked!!!!! I never would have thought it would, but, I was able to sleep, and have not had pain today.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on February 03, 2012:

Good luck Mark, glad it is helping for now at least :)

Mark on February 03, 2012:

Been stuck with a broken tooth for ages, and for almost all of that time, it was just fine. Then my tooth started to ache. Most of the time it was a dull throb that I could ignore, but from time to time, it gave the metaphoric yell, and boy did I know it was there.

I have a teabag in my mouth right now (I look like a freaking hamster with it jammed in my gum line), besides the nasty taste of black, cold, tea at first, it's worked on the whole. I can still feel that ache, but it's not as bad as normal. Roll on Tuesday and my visit to the dentist.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 25, 2012:

Hi Jen, Thanks for sharing your experiences of the use of Tea Bags here. Truly they are incredibly versatile and effective for all sorts of things aren't they? I am sure you will find them equally effective for your boil.

Jen on January 24, 2012:

I've used tea bags (regular lipton ones) on styes and it worked wonders.. Same concept as a boil, except you look like a pirate overnight. I had a stye about a month ago that got HUGE and extremely swollen and painful and refused to come to a head and had no offending eyelash as the culprit.. I taped a tea bag with a paper towel over top of it over my closed eye and woke up to a bursted and mostly drained stye... Now I have a boil and decided to try the same thing, and came across your page while curiously researching. Hope it works as good as it did on that stye! Thanks for sharing!

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 21, 2012:

Not sure to be honest Samrow, I have never heard of tea being used for this purpose. This article is more about what you do with the used tea bag or leaves after you have made the tea, as opposed to what the tea as a drink does itself. Naturally the longer you leave a Tea Bag or tea leaves in the water, the stronger the resulting brew will be. on January 21, 2012:

Misty, I use white tea to combat NHLymphoma cancer. Does leaving the tea bag seep for 24 hours increase its nutritional value? thanks

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 14, 2012:

Hi Mr Bean, no time to research more right now, but there other hubs on this site which are on the same subject if you do a search for them in the site search box. Maybe they will add a few more tips that I have not included here.

Good Luck

mr bean on January 14, 2012:

can you give more tips

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on October 25, 2011:

Thanks for commenting Pamela, I hope the peppermint solves your Husband's problem.

Pamela N Red from Oklahoma on October 25, 2011:

I had no idea there were so many great uses for tea and here I've only been drinking it. My husband can really use the mint tea foot soak, he's got a problem with stinky feet.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on April 05, 2011:

Hi Fluffy, hope you can make use of the tips you didn't know about :)

Fluffy77 from Enterprise, OR on April 05, 2011:

These are all very great tips and advise for using tea, I knew about most of them already but not all of them. Thank you.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 26, 2010:

Now that is a comment I won't forget in a hurry BD, especially once I fully translate it LOL.

Great to see you here by the way:)

BDazzler from Gulf Coast, USA on January 26, 2010:

Great hub, Misty! Of course, those of us in the US who are politically conservative use them to express disatisfaction with our government. This, of course, makes us far more dangerous than people who put explosives in the crotch of their underware.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 26, 2010:

Good point about the staple Sally, I had forgotten about that type of tea bag as the ones we use are normal with no string or anything in our household, and even the ones with string often seem to have it kind of "woven" into the bag somehow. Thanks for the comment and suggestion :)

Sherri from Southeastern Pennsylvania on January 26, 2010:

Fascinating. As others, I knew some uses, but certainly not all of these. Now you've shown us there's NO excuse for throwing a once-used teabag away.

When adding teabags to compost, I remove the little staple first, just in case I grab a handful of compost while not wearing gloves.

Thumbs up, Cindy, as always!

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 15, 2010:

Thanks Hypnodude, you'll just have to start drinking tea now so you can try all of these ideas out for yourself :)

Andrew from Italy on January 15, 2010:

Well done misty, I usually drink coffee and not tea :) but all these information are great. Rated and bookmarked for the future.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 13, 2010:

Thanks Paradise, I just hope you can put many of them to good use now you know about them. :)

Paradise7 from Upstate New York on January 13, 2010:

My word, that's a LOT of uses for tea and teabags! You really did a great job on this hub Misty, thank you!

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 13, 2010:

Thanks cojaqmarketing, I so hope you get to put these tips to good use and let me know how you get on :)

cojaqmarketing from Carmel, Indiana on January 13, 2010: awesome is this hub? I never thought of these things. Thanks much for sharing.


Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 13, 2010:

Hi Peter, thanks for coming back to check in. I have to confess I only drink tea and actually hate coffee, although I do adore the smell of it. I made my Hubby Cucumber sandwiches for work once because there were no other sandwich fillings left in the house. When he got home from work he asked me if I had realised that I had only put cucumber in them and if I had forgotten to add the rest of the filling!!! LOL

Hi Bob, thanks for commenting, I am sure many of these tips will prove very useful to people if they give them a try.

diogenes from UK and Mexico on January 13, 2010:

Very worth-while article, Cindy...Bob

The Old Firm from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand on January 13, 2010:

Jack was very Brit Cindy, the actual sound track was from a 1935(ish) movie. I could have linked to a much more English background with the same track. We in the colonies were also raised to the tea habit, coffee is a post-war innovation which didn't get much of a toe-hold until the sixties. Nowdays I swill instant coffee, it's easier to make.

(Tea and cucumber sandies at four is a uniquely English habit, we usually have a cuppa at three, - afternoon smoke-oh)


Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 12, 2010:

Hi Again Peter (TOF), just watched that clip you linked to. Very good and very funny even if not exactly how us Brits enjoy our tea, (we'll drink it any time of day or night, not just at 4.00pm) LOL.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 12, 2010:

Thanks Peter, I shall watch that tomorrow, (late here now and finishing off another hub right now). Great to see you here by the way :)

The Old Firm from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand on January 12, 2010:

Hi Cindy, Jack Buchanan had a bit to say about this as well;

pip pip


Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 12, 2010:

Thanks for the feedback hafeezrm, I hope ou can put these tips to good use.

hafeezrm from Pakistan on January 12, 2010:

Thank you mistyhorizon2003 for useful tips.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 12, 2010:

Cheers Camlo, I am delighted you are going to give these a go as it is amazing just how useful a tea bag can really be after you have made your cup of tea with it :)

Camlo De Ville from Cologne, Germany on January 12, 2010:

Hi Cindy!

I knew some of these already (hair, tired eyes etc.), but most I didn't -- and will be trying out.

A HubPage worth book-marking.

Thank you!

All the best, Camlo

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 12, 2010:

Thanks for commenting Diana. I have been adding tea bags to my compost for a couple of years now, but also knew about tea being good for roses a number of years ago. Try it, you will be impressed by the results I am certain.

dianacharles from India on January 12, 2010:

Some very good ones there... some absolutely new to me. Did not know that one about the boil or the compost heap...will try it next time. Thank you.

Related Articles