They're literally a dime a dozen, but tea bags have a lot of useful properties you probably didn't know about.
They're rich in tannins, nitrogen, and polyphenols. With those ingredients, these pantry staples are suited to a lot of unexpected household chores.
1. Coat a cast-iron skillet
If you use this handy kitchen tool, you know that between meals it needs to be rinsed, dried, and rubbed down with oil. But you can actually use tea bags instead of vegetable oil.
Soak the bags and rub them over the skillet for a rustproof coating.
2. Take the stink out of your carpet
Like baking soda, tea sucks up foul odors and leaves behind pleasant ones. Just sprinkle some on your rug, and vacuum it up 15 minutes later.
Try adding some cinnamon for an even sweeter scent.
3. Get creative in cooking
Tea isn't just for drinking: flavors like jasmine, chamomile, and green tea can add flair to your meals too. When you boil water for oats or pasta, try steeping a tea bag for added flavor.
4. Freshen up your fridge
A little loose tea in a jar or bowl will keep your fridge smelling fresh all week. Just don't forget to replace it when the smells return.
5. Soak your feet
Soaking your feet in warm water with tea isn't just relaxing, it also leaves your feet looking nicer and smelling fresh. The slightly acidic brew removes dead skin, while reducing inflammation.
6. Pest control
For some reason rodents, spiders, and ants can't stand the smell of tea. Leave bags in your pantry, or other problem areas, and dab them with peppermint oil to keep out the creepy crawlies.
Return every few days to sprinkle more oil on the bags.
7. Homemade air freshener
Just like peppermint oil brings out the smell of tea, sprinkling your favorite essential oil on a tea bag will leave a room smelling fresh. This idea is really cheap and it works like a charm.
8. Treat a sunburn
Tea contains polyphenols and acids, which soothe a burn and reduce inflammation. Rub a bag on your sunburn or drop multiple bags in the tub before you take a soak to ease your pain.
9. Compost them
In the winter and fall, your compost pile will stop breaking down, as the bacteria on it dies. Adding nitrogen-rich tea bags will promote bacteria while keeping pests away.
You can also bury tea bags in your garden to keep your flowers healthy.
10. Cook a moist turkey
Save this tip for next Thanksgiving: add a tea bag and a cup of water to the pan and you'll make a moist, savory turkey that your family will love.
11. Shrink bruises
Have an ugly bruise on your leg? You can treat it by rubbing your skin with a wet tea bag. The tannins in the tea will reduce the swelling and irritation.
12. Freshen your hands
After cooking or working in the garage, nasty smells have a habit of sticking like glue to your hands. Hold a tea bag when you wash your hands and the smell will disappear instantly.
13. Clean stuck-on food
Let a tea bag do the work overnight: fill a dirty dish with water, throw a tea bag in, and let it soak overnight. Burnt on or greasy food will scrub off easily the next day.
14. Treat cuts and sores inside your mouth
Small cuts and sores inside your mouth aren't exactly painful, but they can be annoying. If you hold a tea bag to the cut for a few minutes, the spot should heal up quickly.
15. Use them as chapstick
Tea is full of anti-oxidants, which means it's the perfect thing to rub on your dry or irritated lips for a quick fix.
16. Remove under-eye bags
Lay back with a pair of soaked tea bags sitting on your closed eyes. After 15 minutes you'll notice those dark lines under your eyes are beginning to clear up.
17. Clean your bathroom mirror
Since tea is slightly acidic, it's useful for wiping off greasy stains. Watermarks and toothpaste splatter on your bathroom mirror is the perfect job for this tool.
Just wet the bag and rub it over your mirror, then wipe it off with a rag.
18. Protect your pet's paws
In the winter, sidewalk salt buildup can seriously harm your pet. A tea bag is a natural way to clean and protect your dog or cat's paws.
Wiping a wet tea bag on the soles of their paws will clean off salt residue and reduce irritation.
19. Natural mouthwash
Mouthwash is important for keeping your mouth clean, but it can kill healthy bacteria that helps digestion. Tea cleans your teeth and mouth, but doesn't kill as much bacteria.
20. Keep a litter box fresh
When you change your cat's litter, sprinkle a little tea underneath. As your pet digs up the litter, they'll expose the sweet-smelling tea, and cover up nasty odors.
Are you planning to try any of these?