Loose leaf tea is a great way to enjoy your favorite hot beverage. Not only does it increase the flavor and quality of the tea you brew, it reduces waste and is often cheaper.
However, not many people realize there are tons of things you can do with used tea leaves after you’ve brewed them. Tea is great for plants and can also be useful in common household chores.
After your next cup, don’t throw those tea leaves in the trash. Put them to good use with one of the following ideas, instead!
What can you do with used loose leaf tea?
Used tea leaves may not make good tea, but they contain tons of nutrients and are great at absorbing odors. Put used loose leaf tea to use as a compost, watering supplement or plant leaf spray, deodorizer, carpet or window cleaner, a potpourri or even as a green tea face mask.
The benefits of loose leaf tea for plants and gardens
As any tea drinker knows, tea isn’t just delicious. It’s filled with health benefits, including the potential for weight loss and stress reduction.
What if I told you that tea leaves are great for plants, as well? It’s true!
Here are some ways to feed used loose leaf tea to your garden. Although the right water temperature for tea varies, for these reuses it’s essential to make sure your tea leaves (or brewed tea) are room temperature, so you don’t risk harming your plants.
Used tea leaves make a great compost.
In fact, if teabags are made from a biodegradable substance like cotton, you can even use old teabags as compost additives. This trick is much easier with loose leaf tea, though, because there are no teabags to worry about.
Once your tea leaves cool down, just work them into your compost bin and they’ll quickly break down, helping turn your discarded food into rich, healthy soil.
If you don’t compost, you can even work tea leaves directly into the soil near the roots of your plants. Whether they’re in a huge garden or containers on a patio, your plants will thank you.
Tea leaves aren’t the only thing that’s good for plants.
If you’ve just discovered one of the reasons for bitter tea by brewing an undrinkable cup, consider giving it to your plants instead of pouring it down the drain.
Even if you make perfect tea every time, brewing an extra for your plants is easy and a great alternative to just using water.
Using loose leaf tea for cleaning
Dried tea leaves can have a second life as a household cleaner or odor absorber.
Used tea leaves as an odor absorber
One of the easiest things to do with loose leaf tea after brewing it is to put the tea leaves in a container in your fridge, closet, or shoes.
If you’ve ever researched how long loose leaf tea stays fresh, you’ll remember that it’s important to store most types of tea in an airtight container. That’s because tea will naturally pick up unwanted odors.
After you’ve finished drinking your tea, you can put this superpower to good use. Simply place tea leaves in a container or teabag in a smelly location and it will quickly refresh.
For best results, mix the tea leaves with a little bit of baking soda or a few sprigs of lavender.
Cleaning floors and windows with used tea leaves
It’s useful to know how to brew loose leaf tea without a teapot. One method is to use disposable teabags you fill yourself.
If this is how you enjoy your favorite loose leaf tea blend, you can use the damp teabag to wipe grime and dirt from your windows.
After applying the teabag, simply wipe dry with a paper towel or microfiber cloth.
Used teabags are often effective at cleaning floors and wood surfaces, too. For these, it’s important to spot check a small area first, just in case the tea leaves a stain or discolors the surface.
Cleaning your carpet with tea
Just like how they pick up odor, tea leaves can also help clean dirty carpets.
Important note for this trick: you’ll want to thoroughly dry out the tea leaves before you try it. Otherwise, you’ll definitely stain your carpet.
Once you have dried leaves, sprinkle them liberally over the dirty area. You can add baking soda, too, for particularly dirty carpet.
Let the tea leaves sit for up to an hour, then vacuum the area and your carpet will look much cleaner. Again, it’s a good idea to do a spot check before you try this one on a large scale.
Tea and self-care
One of the most popular reasons for drinking tea is self-care.
Your used tea leaves can offer you even more ways to take a load off and relax.
Used loose leaf tea as potpourri
One of the simplest ways to reuse loose leaf tea after drinking it is to turn the leaves into potpourri.
We’ve already talked about how tea leaves pick up unwanted odors. Take it to the next level by arranging your favorite scented loose leaf tea in a dish and placing it in your bathroom or living room.
The whole area will pick up the clean, slightly floral scent of tea in no time. If you want to, you can add a drop of essential oils or other scent, but this is not required.
Tea skin care
Green tea is an effective antioxidant. That also makes it an effective way to refresh your skin.
There are tons of methods for using green tea in your beauty routine. The easiest is to place cool, damp teabags under your eyes for a few minutes a day.
If you’re more of a makeup expert, you can even make your own green tea face mask out of strongly brewed tea, baking soda, and a little bit of honey.