How To | Life Hacks

20 Genius Uses For Tea Bags (Besides Making Tea)

Coconut and Quinoa / The Hearty House

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

Serious Eats

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

One Stop Magic

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

Food Hacks

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

Claireabelle Makes

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

Foot Therapy

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

Peppermint oil and tea combine to make a smell that pests can't stand.Naturally Curly

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

ProsVet

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

FitHacker

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

Ground to Ground

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.

The Hearty House

You can also bury tea bags in your garden to keep your flowers healthy.

10. Cook a moist turkey

Delish

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

Fergon

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

MamaBee

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

SimpleMost

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

Alwatan

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

HealthyFoodTeam

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

College Fashion

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

Thrifty Fun

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

Inverse

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

Hazzouri Dental

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

Heart Ministry

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?

[H/T: Prevention, LifeHack]