Did you know that you can get more out of a tea bag than just tea?

As part of our Let’s Not Waste Challenge, we’re looking into how we can maximize the food we eat. Which means everything from using up our veggie scraps, to understanding expiry dates, and much more—including reusing foods, when applicable of course.

For example, even after you’ve enjoyed a pot of tea from your tea bag, it can actually be used again in a variety of ways including helping you clean around the house, in various kitchen tasks, assisting in random household tasks, in your health regimen, and in the garden. Tea bags actually provide a natural remedy in many instances when you might be using harsh products currently, so they’re a gentle, cheap, and natural way to get a new product while reducing your household’s food waste. Find out how to get the most out of your bag below!

How to store safely:

You run the risk of unhealthy bacteria growth in your bag if you don’t store used tea bags properly. Although it’s incredibly easy to ensure that your tea bags are mold free through proper storage, a standard sniff test will also let you know if the tea bag is still good to use.

If you plan on saving the tea bag for another cup of tea, it needs to be stored in a moist medium. Keep it in a small shot glass of water in the fridge. For purposes beyond ingesting the tea again, you can keep your tea bags in a bowl in the fridge. The bags will work to deodorize, and also be available for any of the uses outlined below!


  1. Windows and mirrors: Brew a new pot of tea using an old tea bag. Let cool, then pour into a spray bottle, and use with a soft cloth to wipe away fingerprints and dirt.
  2. Deodorize your fridge: Keeping used tea bags in a bowl in your fridge will help absorb odors.
  3. Remove grease and buildup for pots and pans: The acid in tea (even if being used for a second time) is still potent enough to break down grease and residue on your pots and pans.  Pour a cup of water into a dirty pot, then let a used tea bag soak for an hour or so. If the scum is really caked on, using multiple tea bags will have a stronger effect.

In the kitchen

  1. Meat tenderizer. Tea is an all natural meat tenderizer. Just throw some water and a used tea bag into the pan during baking, and you’ll never suffer through dry poultry again!
  2. Deodorizing hands after chopping onions and garlic. It can seem impossible to get the onion and garlic smell off of your hands after using them. Scrubbing your hands with a used tea bag like a bar of soap with warm water will get rid of the odor.

Around the house

  1. Shine dark leather shoes: Rub a wet teabag in a circular motion on dark leather, then wipe dry. Stick to dark leather, as tea will stain anything too light.
  2. Dye fabric: Black tea can be used to create unique designs on fabrics.

For health and beauty

  1. Soothe itchy skin: Skin that’s been irritated by bug bites, dryness, or exposure to poison ivy can be relieved with a dampened, cool, used tea bag. The tea bag will also reduce inflammation.
  2. Wake up tired eyes: Replace those sliced cucumbers with used, cool tea bags on tired eyes to reduce puffiness. Chamomile has a particularly soothing effect.
  3. Give yourself a foot soak: Fill a basin with warm water, a few drops of your favourite essential oil, and a couple of used tea bags. Soak for 20-30 minutes, and be impressed by how heavenly your tea bag’s second life makes you feel.

In the garden

  1. Compost: Throw your used teabags into your compost. It will help speed up decomposition and create acid rich soil.
  2. Fertilize plants: Certain plants (roses and ferns especially) thrive when soil is fertilized with the acid rice tannins in tea. Cut open your tea bags and disperse the tea grounds into the dirt.


Who knew that a tea bag could be used for so much more than just tea? Learning and sharing our tips and tricks on how to get the most out of all of our food is something that we’re concentrating our efforts on as part of our Let’s Not Waste Campaign. You can join in on the fun (and be entered to win some sweet prizes) by checking out the link below!


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