In my last post I mentioned that used tea leaves in excess are not good for garden use but we in India do have a lot of brewed tea leaves every day in our kitchen waste. To avoid putting them in garden/compost everyday it must be used in some other way. As I am writing this I am using a frozen used tea bag to sooth the wasp sting which I got in my garden in the morning .
I will put together some of the ways I use tea leaves around the house. These ways are a combination of tips from web and my own experimentations.
If tea is brewed along with milk and sugar one can wash the tea leaves under tap-water to remove milk and sugar but this one can’t be used in fresh or wet state. It has to be dried completely under hard sun before using.
Brewed tea leaves can be used in three different ways.
To use the freshly brewed tea-leaves on a daily basis.
To sun dry and store.
To grind the dried leaves and store for later use.
Depending upon the amount of used tea leaves generated every day, availability of sun, convenience and preferential uses one can opt for any state of used tea leaves-fresh or dried.
These uses are tried and tested by me to be great for Indian climate and culture.
Deodorizer (anti mold-mildew) – This is one way were all three states fresh/dry/powder work perfectly.
-A small bowl of freshly brewed tea leaves(wet and without milk) can be kept in a corner of refrigerator . It absorbs all smells like onion/garlic and even ripe jackfruit. One good thing about keeping them in refrigerator is that they dry up very nicely in few days and need only couple of hours of sunlight to be used as dry leaves.
-Some used citrus rinds added to tea leaves makes refrigerator smell clean and fresh.
-Dried leaves can be put in a small muslin or old cotton pouch(can be made at home) or simply tie some in a cloth piece . This pouch can then be kept in cupboards/ shoe racks/ pantry/under heavy furniture’s to absorb moisture and odors. Can also be kept inside shoes to absorb sweaty smell and stop fungal growth. Tannic acid of tea leaves is a great anti-fungal agent.
Bug Repellents- Aromatic herbal teas like lavender, marigold and mint repel many bugs. Lavender and marigold for mosquito and spider and mint for mice and other bugs. Used dried Tea bags or DIY pouches can be put inside stored crockery or empty containers/ suitcases it repels bugs to make home there. Also for store rooms, garages, pantry bathroom closets.
Air fresheners- Often herbal teas are consumed and they make a perfect component of a potpourri along with dried citrus rinds, used flowers, cinnamon sticks or star anise pieces. I find this a perfect DIY winter gift- in a muslin bag tied with a nice ribbon.
Utensil Cleanser- Used tea bags can be soaked in hot water in greasy/burned pans to make the cleaning easier.
Glass Cleaner- Same decoction can be filled in spray bottle and used as window glass cleaner. Tannic acid does the job.
Personal Care- Used tea leaves can be reused in many DIY beauty and personal care regimes.
-Green tea leaves or scented teas like Jasmine chamomile, rose, lavender can be put in hot bath for a luxuriant relaxing soak after a tiring day. Powdered dried tea with epsom salts sooths dry skin as well as reduces body odor.
-A strong decoction of used tea leaves is beneficial for people who tend to get foot infection and toenail fungus. Tannic acid in tea is anti fungal . Soaking feet in a bucket of hot water and with tea decoction daily can stop feet odor and other infection reoccurring.
-Black tea is used as a conditioning hair rinse to soften and naturally darken hair. Dry used tea powder can be mixed in traditional Amla (indian gooseberry) and Shikakai hair packs for pH balancing and darkening. Hibiscus tea works great here. Decoction can be sprayed onto hair length after washing to boost shine and color.
-Freshly brewed tea leaves can be used as scalp scrub (read here). Chilled tea bags can be used as relaxing anti irritation eye packs.
-Dried powdered green tea is used in multiple face packs and scrubs as well as DIY moisturizing under eye creams. I find this one reuse of tea the best.
Choice is yours .Pick one for your self.