Eco-Friendly Living

10 Green Ideas To Upcycle Tea Leaves & Tea Bags

Last week, I discussed how to upcycle coffee grounds without a compost bin so it’s only right that I answer the same question about tea! I’ve previously discussed how most tea bags are actually made of plastic! Many tea bags are not biodegradable and can’t be composted (unless you feel like cutting the bag and just pouring the leaves in).

For a long time, the assumption was that all tea bags were biodegradable! So when it came out that most are plastic, of course, people found themselves asking what to do with old tea bags. Even with the biodegradable ones, not everyone has a compost bin.

So what happens to old tea leaves and tea bags? Here are 10 ideas for upcycling tea leaves and tea bags without a compost bin:

10 Ideas To Upcycle Tea Leaves & Tea Bags

1. Under-Eye Treatment

woman with mug of hot coffee
Photo by Elijah O’Donnell on

Tea bags are not an uncommon remedy for treating dark under-eye bags. Squeeze the remaining water out of the tea bag and allow them to cool down. They should not be applied to your eyes while they’re still piping hot! Alternatively, you can let them cool down in the fridge for a refreshing treatment.

Almost any tea or herbal tea can be used for this idea! Green tea and black tea contain caffeine which has been linked with improving dark circles.

2. Soothe Breakouts

 woman smelling fragrant beverage in cup
Photo by John Diez on

If you’re more worried about spots than dark-eyes then you can use tea to soothe breakouts.

Green tea leaves are a common ingredient in DIY facemasks with other ingredients like aloe vera or honey. A green tea bag can also be cooled in the fridge and placed directly onto a spot to soothe it. Keep in mind that these should be clean. Ideally, the tea bags or leaves should come from a cup that had no milk or sugar.

3. Hair Treatment

clear glass cup filled with honey next to a tea pot - ideas to upcycle old tea leaves & tea bags
Photo by Valeria Boltneva on

A lot of my upcycling ideas for coffee grounds were about hair too but most weren’t suitable for those who aren’t dark brunettes. Tea doesn’t seem to stain as much as coffee so a tea hair mask is more accessible.

The tannin present in black tea is believed to increase blood circulation in the scalp. This can help to stimulate hair growth. Tea hair masks usually include honey, olive oil and lemon juice.

4. Neutralize Odors

tea leaves in a white bowl
Photo by lilartsy on

Coffee is one of my favourite scents but not everyone loves it. If you prefer tea, you can upcycle tea bags to neutralize odors. Put a few tea bags in an open container and put them in the back of your fridge. They should absorb the odors! Just be sure to replace it every few days.

5.Fertilize Plants

plants macro growth soil
Photo by Markus Spiske on

Tea is said to be full of lots of nutrients that are good for plants.

You can brew the tea bag again and pour the (cooled down) over your plants. Black tea and chamomile tea have an additional benefit for helping to keep fungus off your plants, according to The Rainforest Site.

6. Scrub Pans

I wish I had this method of reusing tea bags all the times I destroyed the pot trying to make popcorn!

It seems a kitchen hack involves placing a dirty pan in the skin and soaking in warm water and a teabag for 15 minutes. The tannins in the tea seem to help life the grime.

7. Soak In The Bath

flowers in a bath - ideas to upcycle tea leaves and tea bags
Photo by alleksana on

I see lots of teas in bath products so why not made it yourself and repurpose old tea bags and tea leaves? You can add some herbal tea leaves (like hibiscus, camomile or peppermint) to the bath as is along with some bath salts. You can also rebrew the tea in a large pot and add to the bath.

8. Insect Repellent

herbal tea leaves
Photo by Polina Kovaleva on

Another way to repurpose old tea bags is as a natural insect repellent. If you’re having issues with pests in your home (like spiders or mice) then leaving peppermint tea bags in the infected corners of your home is one idea, according to The Rainforest Site.

If there are pests eating up your garden, tea can also help! Leave the used tea leaves or tea bag dry. Once they’re dry, dig little holes in your garden and add the tea. Lots of insects are said to hate the smell of teas and should hopefully leave your plants alone.

9. Art Prints

tea bag in teacup
Photo by Leah Kelley on

As I mentioned in my previous post: coffee and tea can be used for art! If you have kids and want to make a treasure map or are an artist and want to give prints an old-dated feel then black tea bags can be used.

Simply rub the damp tea bag over the paper and leave it dry before decorating. I used to burn the edges added effect when I was in school – but only do so with adult supervision! I’d imagine that herbal teas like hibiscus or a berry mix could give off a vibrant colour but I haven’t tried it so I can’t vouch for it!

10. Candles

glasses with organic candles on wooden table - ideas to repurpose old tea leaves
Photo by Anna Shvets on

Tea can also make scented candles! Some scented candles smell much to synthetic for my liking so it’s nice to find milder, more natural scents.

According to Martha Stewart, stew the tea in a little oil for it to infuse and then add the candle wax. This is also a great way to upcycle old tea cups! They made a gorgeous and thoughtful Christmas gift if you happen to have a matching saucer. You can also top the candle with dried tea leaves for decoration but be sure to keep it away from the wick!

So there we have 10 ideas to upcycle tea leaves and tea bags! Have you ever tried any of these? What kind of tea do you like to drink?

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