Can You Reuse Tea Bags? Yes, in More Ways Than One

Photo: Getty Images/Sara Monika
Every time I brew myself a cup of tea, I feel super weird about tossing out the tea bag. And if you drink it daily, you're creating quite the collection of waste. The good news is that tea bags don't need to be tossed into the garbage. Instead, there are plenty of different ways you can put them to use after they've completed their primary function.

Tea bags might not seem like a major threat to the environment compared to some of the top offenders, but they're still causing harm. According to the BBC, most tea bags are made up of at least 25 percent plastic, which doesn't allow them to completely decompose. Because of that, they're only added to the millions of pounds of plastic that winds up in landfills and the ocean every year.

If you shop smart—and use your tea bags wisely!—they can better your life in many ways without hurting the planet in the process. Here are the best hacks to start with.

6 simple ways to reuse tea bags

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1. Feed your plants

When you buy biodegradable tea bags, you're able to compost them. They're a great source of plant food. The Spruce says sprinkling used tea leaves around the base of your plants that like acidity, then working them into the soil, can help them grow.

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2. Take a tea bath

There's no need to buy fancy bath bombs when you have used tea bags on hand. After filling your tub with warm water, toss a couple of them in for a relaxing, skin-soothing, and great-smelling soak. Two great choices to start with? Chamomile and ginger tea.

Photo: Getty Images/Letizia Le Fur

3. Banish under-eye bags and dark circles

Your used tea bags can basically give you a spa day in the comfort of your own home. After they cool, experts recommend placing them on your closed eyelids to help reduce inflammation, particularly green tea or chamomile.

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4. Get rid of foul odors

I currently have an opened box of baking soda in my refrigerator to help eliminate any odors that pop up, but used tea bags might be an even better choice. After drying them out, you can put them in the back of the fridge where they'll help absorb anything stinky. You can also use the same tactic with your gym shoes, putting a dried, used tea bag in each shoe after working out.

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5. Clean the windows

Who needs Windex when you have used tea bags lying around? By rubbing the still-damp tea bag on glass surfaces—like mirrors and windows—it'll help get rid of dirt, grime, and fingerprints.

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6. Use them in your cooking

Tea bags can do so much more in the kitchen than make a cozy cup of tea. You can also use them in your cooking. Reuse tea bags to create tea-infused cookies, soups, risotto, pasta, and more. With all the different flavors available, the possibilities are endless.

For more healthy recipes and cooking ideas from our community, join Well+Good's Cook With Us Facebook group.

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