Turns out that tea bags are pret-tea handy!
Tea has been enjoyed in countries throughout the world for thousands of years. It has been used for medicinal purposes, as a morning pick-me-up, and has been touted for its many health benefits.
While some tea aficionados may prefer high-quality, loose leaf tea for their daily brew, the average Joe is generally happy with the convenience of a simple tea bag. That’s all fine and well, but you’ll want to think twice before throwing out a used tea bag, because here are five ways to reuse them.
1. Reduce swelling/bags around your eyes
This is already a pretty well-known use for tea bags, but it does bear repeating. For a simple, effective eye-pack, place two used tea bags in the refrigerator to chill. Then, take a few moments to lie down (playing some soothing music in the background won’t hurt either!) and let the cold tea bags set on your eyelids. The vitamins and catechin contained in the tea leaves will permeate directly into your skin, quickly reducing swelling or bags around your eyes.
As a bonus, the calming effect of chamomile tea can add the additional benefit of refreshing tired eyes — the perfect way to relax after working all day at a computer.
2. Combat athlete’s foot
The polyphenols in tea have been shown to be effective against the tinea (ringworm) fungus, which causes athlete’s foot. Most of us tend to be more active in the summer months, and the humid environment created in your shoes can agitate the symptoms of this uncomfortable infection. In addition to practicing good hygiene and keeping your feet dry, a regular foot-soak with some tea bags is said to help stave off the fungus.
3. Add flavor to cheap cuts of meat
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could always splurge on the best, most high-quality ingredients for everything we put into our mouths? But when times are tough, it’s difficult to make one paycheck last until the next, so we need to shop carefully to make those dollars or yen last, even if it means going with the cheapest, most unappealing cut of meat.
But that doesn’t mean your taste buds have to suffer. Japanese Twitterers are sharing how they liven up their would-be-bland dinners with tea-infused pork.
豚の紅茶煮を作ってもらった*\(^o^)/* あと半分あるから、もっと味が染み込んだのも楽しみ♡ https://t.co/Ug5hwrckhI—
豆生田 (@mamidakeiji) June 21, 2016
All you need to do is submerge the pork in a pot of water with a tea bag or two and simmer for 40 to 50 minutes. In addition to giving the meat flavor, the caffeine and tannins in tea help break down excess fat and help tenderize the meat. Plus, you can be creative with different combinations of tea and herbs or vegetables to make your own unique recipe.
4. Use as a multi-purpose summer bath soak
If you live in a humid environment like Japan, the summer can be a miserable, smelly time to be alive. After a long day out at work, coming home exhausted and sweaty, nothing is more refreshing than a relaxing soak in the bath. Of course washing well with soap will do away with that putrid B.O., but when you need a little something extra, a few tea bags tossed into the warm water of the bath (about three bags per 200 litres [53 gallons] of water is recommended) is said to be an excellent way to help get rid of that sweaty stink.
Not only useful against smell, the tannin contained in tea also has anti-inflammatory properties, making it a soothing soak for those with mild sunburn. It is also said to help rejuvenate and add shine to damaged hair, so go ahead and bathe in all the tea.
5. Freshen your closet and drawers with tea bag potpourri
Image: Flickr/francois schnell
Body odor isn’t the only stink that can be combated with tea. Once you’ve used up a tea bag, just let it air-dry and you can use it as a deodorizer for your musty closet or sock drawer. Or anywhere that needs refreshing, really. You can use the dried tea bags as they are, or, to make them more visually appealing, simply bundle a few together in some gauze and tie the sachet closed with a cute bow or ribbon. Replace every week or two as needed.
If you have any other handy uses for tea bags, let us know in the comments section!