Below are 10 things that you could do with your used tea bags:
1. PERK UP PLANTS
Tea bags can be used as an organic fertilizer for plants that need rich and acidic oil. Plants such as roses, ferns, and many hanging plants are perfect examples as the tannins and other nutrients can help stimulate their growth. Place a few used tea bags over the drainage hole and across the bottom of a pot to help your leafy greens retain moisture. The used tea leaves can also be mixed into the soil as well.
2. SUPER-SOAK DISHES
Remove greasy, stuck-on food residue by soaking baking sheets, pans, and dishes overnight in a sink filled with hot water and used tea bags. Individual pans only require a few tea bags and a cup or two of hot water. For a heavy load of dirty dishes having a dozen or so bags is recommended for best results. Simply fill the pan or sink with water, add the tea bags, and see the way the tannins break down the grease by the morning.
3. MAKE GLASS SPARKLE
Tea bags are extremely effective for cleaning and removing stubborn grease and fingerprints from mirrors, windows, and even eyeglasses. Rub a damp tea bag over the glass surface, wipe it clean with a paper towel and enjoy seeing your mirrors and windowpanes sparkle.
4. BANISH BAD ODORS
Even if you’ve run out of baking soda, you don’t have to put up with a stinky fridge. Simply put a few used tea bags in a cup or small bowl, and stash it toward the back of the refrigerator on a shelf. The tea leaves will absorb odors and leave you with a fresh scent. Replace the bags every few days for maximum odor control.
5. REPEL RODENTS
It's been said that mice and other creepy-crawlies cannot tolerate the smell of peppermint. Therefore, you can place used bags of peppermint tea throughout the home such as near doors and inside cabinets. This should help repel those unwanted creatures. To strengthen the scent and fight pests more effectively, you can infuse the bags with a few drops of peppermint essential oil.
6. POLISH SHOES
If your dark leather loafers or boots are full of dirt, grime, and salt stains, you can clean and polish them with a few damp tea bags. You can do so by simply rubbing a tea bag over the leather in a circular motion. Remember to change the bags out frequently to ensure that all traces of dirt from the shoes are removed. Finish by buffing your kicks dry with a clean, soft cloth.
7. ENRICH COMPOST
You can promote the growth of beneficial bacteria by mixing up used tea bags with the leaves in your compost pile. The tea leaves also hold moisture, which can help hasten the decomposition process. Some tea bags may not be completely biodegradable so always ensure that all staples are removed from the bags before adding them to compost.
8. SHINE WOOD SURFACES
The tannins in black tea makes used tea bags a great polish for hardwood floors and wood furniture and helps restore the natural shine of wood. Swipe a few used tea bags over wood surfaces, and then buff with a micro-fibre cloth to achieve a rich shine. Ensure that the tea bags are damp and not soaked to avoid damages to the wood.
9. CREATE DYE DESIGNS
Tea bags can impart a lovely, antique tinge to paper and fabrics. For a mottled look, place the wet tea bags randomly on paper or fabric, then let dry. For an overall dyed effect, place the paper or fabric on the bottom of a baking pan or shallow container along with 10 to 12 used tea bags, and cover with boiling water. Let stand overnight, then allow the dyed pieces to dry thoroughly. Repeat the process if you're hoping to achieve a darker tone. Black and green teas impart a brown or beige hue, while rooibos or hibiscus teas will lend a reddish shade.
10. SAVOR THE FLAVOR
Tea bags can be a welcome ingredient in the preparation of lighter meats like chicken, turkey, and pork. Place several used tea bags, a cup of water, and your meat of choice into a zip-locked bag, and let marinate overnight. The tannins in the tea are a natural tenderizer that will also impart a subtle delicious flavor to the meat.