Tea 101 22 genius ways to upcycle used tea leaves (tea bags, loose leaf tea, flowering tea)

how to do with used tea leaves tea bags flowering tea

It’s summer time!!! Who don’t drink iced tea? When I spoke to my customers, I’m very surprised most of them actually only steep whole leaf tea one time then threw them away. That’s completely WRONG! Guess what, there are multiple ways to re-use tea leaves after one steep!! This blog is dedicated to explain how to upcycle used tea leaves (tea bags, flowering tea, loose leaf tea) and save money. You will never dump your tea leaves again after just one steeping. Here is a list of things you can do with used tea leaves:

 1. Refill water multiple times

Except tea bags, almost all whole loose leaf tea, even broken leaf tea can be re-steeped few more times, until the tea taste plain. All Tea Beyond teas can be steeped multiple times. Yes, that’s right!! What you can do is to simply add more hot water to the teapot and steep. Do it few more times. It not only saves money but also saves time when you do multiple steeps because tea leaves have been fully open and release the flavors much more quickly than the first steep

2. Use as meat tenderizer

Put the used tea leaves in small volume hot water and steep few minutes. Let the tea cool down. Marinate meat in tea for at least 30 minutes. It will help meat cook faster and taste juicier.

3. Add flavors to your soup or stew

Put the used tea leaves in a linen or muslin bag (kitchen use) and tie it with a string. It would be best for meat stews (ie chicken, beef, pork) or any kind of soup.  Tannin from tea leaves can make meat cook faster and taste tender. In addition, tea aroma and flavors can also make the soup and stew taste delicious!!!

4. Deodorize the refrigerator

    Put wet leaves on a paper towel to dry a little bit. You can either put leaves in a linen bag or just wrap it in the paper towel then place it in the cooling side of refrige. It’s useful for the frozen layer too. Tea leaves tend to absorb odor.

    5. Refresh your mouth

    After you have seafood, garlic, onion, throw some used tea leaves (Oh yes!) in your month and chew a little bit. Then spit out. That’s what the Chinese have been doing before mouth refresh products became available. It’s completely natural and you don’t have to worry about food additives and coloring from those mouth refresher products.

    6. Treat yourself with a beauty bath

    Smooth and tight your skin like young again;). Here are the beauty tips-tannins in tea can keep your skin tight, believe or not. When you steep tea one time, there are still plenty tannins left in leaves. What you can do is to put those used tea leaves in a big linen or muslin bag or a few and drop in your bath tub. Give your skin some beauty smoothie;)

     7. Add some used tea leaves (or used tea bags) when cooking rice

    When you cook rice, add either used tea leaves directly or tea liquor to the rice directly. Bring to boil and cook few minutes until rice is ready. It certainly gives rice earthy aroma and the rice tastes better.

     8. Feed your plants

    Tea leaves can be great fertilizer for plants like roses. You can directly spread used tea leaves on top of soil or mix with soil.

     9. Keep wood furniture shining

    Put used tea leaves in hot water and steep few more minutes. Use it to clean your wood furniture. Tea helps remove the greasy dust on furniture. 

    10. Clean Glass or mirror

    Put used tea leaves in hot water and steep few more minutes. Spray it on bathroom mirrors, dressing room mirrors and any glass surface such as coffee table or cabinet glass. Let it soak for few minutes. Then wipe away

    11. Deodorize your shoes

    Have stinky shoes?;) here’s the solution-spread the used tea leaves on a paper towel until dries a bit. Then put leaves in shoes directly or in a muslin bag over night. Your shoes will smell much better next day;)

     12. Use it as air refresher in bath room, car, or home

    One of the tea leave properties is to absorb odor. Spread used tea leaves on a paper towel to dry them a little bit. Then put it in muslin bag. You can add few drops of essential oil or as is. It helps remove the odor from kitchen and bathroom.

     13. Help clean kitchen sinks and dishes

    Tea can help remove greasy stains on dishes and kitchen sink.

    14. Reduce dark circles under your eyes

    Have dark circles under your eyes? No problem! Cover that area with used green tea leaves or tea bags. Keep it for few minutes. Caffeine in tea can help make the dark circle less visible. Tannins from tea keep skin tight.

    how to do with the used tea bags

    photo: goodhousekeeping.com

    15. Dye clothes

    Do you remember tea stains? That’s right-hard to remove tea stains once spilled on clothes. Tea stains can also be used in positive way. Want to make customized T-shirt? Find some DIY videos on Ehow.com: how to dye cloths. You can also use sponge to dip in tea (strong or light, you decide) then create some unique patterns on white T-shirt.

    16. Make paper projects for kids

    Use re-steeped tea to make water painting for kids.  

    17. Make customized invitation cards for parties

    You can make tea strong or light, depends on your design. Use tea as ink-brush or rubber stamps, to create any design you like on cards.  

    18. Nourish hair and make it strong and shine

    Re-steep the used tea leaves after first brew. Allow it to cool a little bit until it’s warm. Rinse your hair with the tea liquor after shampoo. Leave it 10 minutes then rinse hair with It helps restore damaged hair and keep your scalp healthy.  

     19. Help with sweaty feet

    Have sweaty feet? No problem. Re-steep the used tea leaves. Soak your feet in warm tea. It helps the blood circulation and deodorize the sweat. It keeps the skin on your feet smooth.

    20. Improve puffy and tired eyes

    We all have sleep issues. It’s hard to cover up the puffy and tired eyes next morning. Use the tea leaves from your breakfast tea to cover your eyes for few minutes. It helps reduce the puppy appearance.  

    21. Help fight cavities and reduce plague

    After first steep is done, re-steep the rest tea leaves. Use the lightly steeped tea to rinse your mouth. It helps reduce teeth cavities and plague. Tea contains polyphenols that interact with plaque bacteria, which help prevent them from growing or producing acid that attacks teeth.

    22. Give your face a tea make-over

    Tea can not only help with puppy eyes, but also benefits our skin. Re-steep the used tea leaves and let it cool down. Soak a facial mask in tea and put it on your face, exactly like the way you do regular facial mask. Rinse after.

    Tea helps smooth your skin and polyphenols in tea keep skin tight. Tea also contains various vitamin which helps keep skin healthy.  

    Have you ever upcycled used tea leaves or tea bags? please comment below. 

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    2 Responses

    Kat H
    Kat H

    July 18, 2017

    I regularly put a lemon wedge in my loose tea. I save the lemons and make candied lemon peels. My husband loves them. They taste like lemon gum drops.

    Cal S.
    Cal S.

    September 14, 2016

    This is such a wonderful list. Thank you for sharing all these tips!

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