How to Reuse Tea Bags (and Loose Leaf)

From helping to grow your plants, to cleaning your dirty dishes, to aiding in the relief of puffy eyes to deodorising your fridge (and shoes!), here’s 20 smart and totally brilliant ways to reuse your tea bags (and loose leaf too).

20 Smart Ways to Reuse Your Tea Bags and Tea Leaves

If you have ever wondered if you can reuse and recycle your left over tea, wonder no more. Here are 20 clever ways to do it:

1. Water Your Plants

In a spray bottle, soak your left over leaves in water for up to 3 days. Remove the leaves so that they don’t rot and use the water to spray onto your plants. Your plants will apparently love it!

However, I would recommend using lots of water and heavily diluting the tea. Whilst the elements in tea are healthy for us, too much can be harmful to certain plants.

Plus, the caffeine in tea is a natural insect repellent and will help to keep pests away.

Water Your Plants With Cold Tea

Soak your left overs in water before spraying your plants

2. Clean Your Carpet With Tea Leaves!

I have it on good authority that damp tea leaves will help clean dusty carpets. Scatter the leaves on your carpet and let sit so that the leaves attract all the dust and then vacuum up. However, I would be careful about using damp leaves on lightly coloured carpets, unless you fancy a tea stained effect on your floor. Always patch test first! Tea leaves are excellent at soaking up bad smells and so this will instantly refresh your carpet or your wooden floor.

3. Here’s how to rid of Eyebags With Leftover Tea Bags

Use cooled tea leaves in muslin cloth to sooth puffy and tired eyes. Sit back and relax for 10 minutes while the tea goodness gets to work in soothing those eyes.

Alternately, make these black tea and cucumber eye masks. Made with just three natural ingredients, black tea bags, cucumber and gelatine. These eye masks work wonders on my tired eyes. With the antioxidants and caffeine from the black tea, the cooling cucumber and the plumping collagen in the gelatine, these masks are super soothing…

4. Keep the Bugs Away With Tea

Tea works as an excellent insect repellent! You can burn sun dried tea leaves in a heat proof bowl outdoors to keep the pesky flies at bay.

Tea contains caffeine, which acts as a natural insect repellent.

5. Refresh Your Fridge With Odor Absorbing Tea

Pop sun dried tea leaves in the fridge to soak up any nasty odors for a fab refresh.

Tea leaves are well known for soaking up aromas. Earl grey tea was accidentally invented this way. It is believed that the famous Earl grey tea was accidently created by storing black tea next to bergamot oil.

You can refresh your fridge, oven and even your microwave using tea leaves.

Refresh Your Fridge

Freshen up your fridge with odor absorbing tea

6. Soak Smelly Feet With a DIY Relaxing Foot Bath

Summer not being kind to your feet? Bathe your toes in brewed tea leaves. Tea has anti bacterial properties and is great at deodorizing!

Unwind with a tea footbath, add some espom salts for extra relaxation.

You can also make a whole bath soak using tea. I especially love making this soothing green tea and yerba mate bath soak.

7. How to Reduce Humidity With Leftover Tea Leaves

Use bowls of sun-dried tea leaves around your home to soak up moisture in the air. Change or re-use the leaves regularly.

Once the leaves have soaked up moisture, dry them in the sun outside and pop them back inside to do their thing once again.

8. Make a Nourishing Tea Face & Body Mask

Want radiant glowing soft skin? Use green tea in a face and body mask that’s nourishing and kind to your skin. Green tea is full of antioxidants, which is great for staying young and healthy. Antioxidants eliminate free radicals from the body. Here’s how to make a green tea face and body mask:

INGREDIENTS: 2 Tablespoons of Green Tea, 2 Tablespoons of OatS, 1 Teaspoon of Honey, 1 Teaspoon of Coconut Oil

METHOD: Brew the green tea in freshly boiled water for 5-10 minutes. Leave in the leaves, add the oats, honey and coconut oil. Blend up all the ingredients and use on your face body or both.

Tea also contains magical anti aging properties. Green tea especially is high in something called Epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG. This marvelous property is known for fighting wrinkles and helping to reduce stress levels too. Hoorah!

If you love the anti aging and soothing effects of tea, you may also love this blog article; does tea reverse aging?

9. Pot Plants With Tea

Next time you are potting plants, try adding some loose leaves at the bottom of the pot. It will help nourish the newly growing plants. Tea can really help you grow a garden!

Pot Plants with Tea Leaves

Add leaves at the bottom of your pot before adding your plant

10. Clean Your Dirty Dishes

Clean with tea! To help clean your dirty dishes use left-over tea bags. Simply add at least 4 used (or new) tea bags to your stained dishes and cover with boiling water. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes, or overnight . Sit back with a cuppa and let the tea bags do all the hard work. Rinse your dishes clean and voila, sparkling clean dishes!

11. Soothe Insect Bites

Just like soothing tired and puffy eyes, cool tea leaves can soothe irritated insect bites too. Keep used tea bags in the fridge for when you get bitten. Place the cool tea bag, not only will the cool tea soothe the area but the anti inflammatory properties in the tea will help relieve the pain and itching too.

If you love homemade tea skincare ideas, give this nourishing green tea infused ointment for dry skin a go.

12. Keep Hands Clean and Fresh With Tea Leaves

Tea helps deodorize kitchen smells such as garlic on your hands. Rub tea leaves over your hands to neutralize any food smells. I love this way to recycle tea leaves after cutting stinky onions and garlic!

13. Add Tea Flavour to Rice Dishes

Add some loose leaf tea when cooking rice dishes for added flavor.

Making jasmine green tea rice is super easy to do. Use 1 teaspoon of loose leaf jasmine green tea to 1 cup of rice and 2 cups of water. Firstly infuse the tea leaves in a saucepan using freshly boiled water for around 5 minutes. Strain out the tea leaves and return to the boil. Add your rice and cook as per the package instruction. You may or may not need to top up with a more boiled water.

You don’t have to stop at rice dishes, tea compliments many other dishes such as soups and salads too.

Add Tea Flavour to Rice Dishes

The flavour of tea compliments many sweet and savoury dishes

14. Deodorize Smelly Shoes With Odor Neutralising Tea

Just like adding tea leaves to your foot bath to refresh smelly feet, tea can help refresh smelly shoes too.

Add some sun dried leaves to your shoes to soak up any bad odors. The leaves will need changing regularly especially for well used running shoes!

You can even hang little muslin bags of dried tea leaves and herbs to fresh up your wardrobe so that all your clothes and shoes are lovely and fresh.

Deodorize Smelly Shoes With Odor Neutralising Tea

Refresh your smelly shoes and sneakers!

15. Add Tea Bags to your Compost Heap

Don’t waste those leaves by throwing into the bin. Add them to your compost heap! This is probably my most favourite way to reuse tea leaves and tea bags. Add compostable tea bags and tea leaves to your compost heap. As long as your tea bags don’t contain any plastics and they state on the package that they are compostable, simple throw the whole thing in. Some tea packaging is fully compostable these days. If you tea bags aren’t fully compostable, remove the bag and just throw in the leaves. Tea contains acid and is highly beneficial at speeding up the composting process.

Add Tea Bags to your Compost Heap

Apparently your compost will love it!

16. Rid of Kitchen Smells

Add tea leaves when washing up to help rid of food smells. This works great on chopping boards and counter tops. Just like using tea on our hands to rid of smells, tea can be used on your kitchen equipment also. Try adding a bowl of lemons, water and tea and microwaving for a minute or two to freshen up your microwave.

17. Use Tea as a Natural Dye

Using tea to dye fabrics is a non-toxic and cheap method.

To stain clothes and textiles, simmer them with the tea on the stove in a large pan for 20-30 minutes. Let dry in the garden and you have your very own natural dyed vintage attire!

You can also use tea to stain paper. You can use stained tea paper for labels, handmade wrapping paper and lots of arts and crafts. You can even unroll larger stepped tea, allow to dry and add to your tea stained paper for decoration.

18. Make a Delicious Tea-licious Tea Sauce

Freshly brewed tea leaves together with some rice vinegar, oil and coconut aminos make a really fresh sauce to add to steamed veggies or salads.

Try making this chunky salsa with a tea sauce alternatively, making a tea infused bbq sauce is ideal for summer time get togethers. Here’s how to make a peach and sweet tea BBQ sauce.

19. Tea Pot Pourri

Add your favourite scented tea to bowls of pot pourri to deodorize and scent your home.

Either use sun dried leaves or fresh dry tea leaves for more aroma. Try using a mix of tea and other dried herbs.

Tea Pot Pourri

Deodorize your home

20. Natural Car Freshener

Just like adding sun-dried tea leaves to your home, hands, countertops, microwave and even your shoes, you can even use tea to deodorise your car! Pop some dried leaves in muslin bags to neutralize any car odors.

And here’s a bonus way to reuse your loose leaf after having a lovely cuppa… learning to read your own tea leaves! Read my ultimate beginners guide to deciphering the code within your cup. It’s a fun game for everyone.

Do you have a favouite way to use leftover tea leaves or tea bags?

Read More of my Blog Articles About Tea

Please note that as an affiliate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases made through links in this blog. This is to cover the running costs of the blog and is at no additional cost to you.

This blog is for information purposes only. It is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any medical conditions. Always seek medical advice from your healthcare provider.