I used to be all about the coffee. I would turn up my java-centric nose at my co-workers, watching with distaste as they delicately dipped their tea bags in and out of mugs of steaming hot water. Now I am one of them. Don't get me wrong—I still love my coffee. But these days, coffee represents the occasional treat, while tea is a daily staple. Tea fights cancer. Tea smooths skin. Tea gives you tea-breath (as opposed to coffee breath, which requires no additional explanation). Now learn about other wonderful things you can do with your tea stockpile and used teabags!
1. Enhance your beauty routine
Tea is the little beauty enhancer that can.
- Ease puffiness: Whether from an inoculation or lack of sleep, a steeped tea bag placed over an area of puffy skin can instantly take the swelling down. For instance, to ease puffy eyes, place a steeped tea bag over each closed eye for 20 minutes. When you remove the tea bags, all the puffiness will be gone!
- Soothe abrasions and burns (including sunburn): If you have given yourself painful razor burn or have an area of abraded or lightly burned skin, a steeped, warm tea bag can quickly provide relief.
- Touch up dyed hair: Certain darker teas are just as effective as commercial salon dyes at "getting the grey out" as well as touching up lighter roots. Brew three dark tea bags (black or red tea is best) in one cup very hot water. Add in one tablespoon of rosemary and/or sage leaves. Let the mixture stand for the night. Strain out the leaves, then wet and shampoo your hair and pour or spray the tea mixture onto the areas to be touched up. Do not rinse or rub hair—blot only and then wrap with a towel. You may need to repeat for darker hair.
2. Clean house
Tea is also a great natural cleaner that is totally free of harsh chemicals or irritants.
- Restore dull wood: Boil two tea bags in one quart of water and allow to cool. With a soft cloth, use the tea mixture to clean floors, wood furniture, and other surfaces.
- Clean mirrors, streak-free: Using the same mixture as for wood, clean your mirrored surfaces with the tea. You won't have any streaks when it dries!
- Make sachets for drawers: Rose hip tea, lavender tea, mint tea, and other especially fragrant teas are great for perfuming clothes. Simply pour a small amount of dry tea leaves into a mesh bag, tie, and place it in a drawer. Your clothes will smell just wonderful!
3. Help your garden out
Tea can work wonders in a garden setting.
- Mulch, fertilize, and compost with tea grounds: Tea is just as effective as coffee grounds—and far milder in scent (if the tea bags are natural paper, you can just leave grounds in the bag).
- Clean green leaves: You can use steeped tea bags to clean the leaves of indoor, patio, and garden plants. Not only will leaves be shiny, but tea contains nutrients plants love!
- Grow healthy potted plants: If you place steeped tea bags above the drainage level but below the soil level, the tea bags will help retain moisture and prevent nutrients from escaping, leading to healthier, stronger, lovelier potted plants.