Since tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world, it’s hard to imagine anything else that tea leaves are used for other than the drink. While the vast majority of tea leaves harvested around the world do in fact make it in to our brews, there are many other uses for the plant too.
From gardening to beauty products, tea leaves have a place all around the home, not just in our tea cups. Below we cover some of the best uses for tea leaves, as well how to utilise your used leaves to avoid any waste.
Re-cycling your tea leaves
1. Soothing the eyes
Just like you may use cold cucumber as a natural remedy for tired or puffy eyes, tea leaves can also help to brighten and rejuvenate the eyes. The tannins in tea have anti-inflammatory properties and can work especially well for anyone suffering from inflamed or itchy eyes due to hay fever.
If you’re using loose leaf tea, be sure to wrap your leaves in tissue and leave them in the fridge to cool before placing them on the eyes and then sit back and relax for 10 minutes and let the tea work it’s magic.
2. Fuel your plants
You may have heard before that coffee grounds are great for your plant, but did you know tea leaves can be even better? Green tea is especially good for both outdoor and indoor plants due to it being high in nitrogen. This gives your plants a natural nutritious feed and is also good for deterring any insects that may eat your plants.
If you’re using tea bags, you can also place them at the bottom of your plant pots to help retain water and add additional nutrients to the soil. We’ve used old tea bags before to grow seedlings too, potting the tea bag straight in to a pot once it needs more room to go.
If you are using tea bags, ensure that they’re completely plastic free we despite what many may think, a lot on the market still contain traces of plastic and are therefore not biodegradable.
3. Reduce odours
Dried tea leaves have deodorising properties, making them great for eliminating odours around the house. Some people even used tea leaves for cleaning and the leaf can be found in some regular cleaning products.
They are particularly good for reducing odours in cat litters, or on old mattresses or pet beds and even for neutralising any strong smells in the fridge.
To use them in this manner you need to completely dry the tea leaves out before hand and then sprinkle a few leaves in any areas where you want to naturally reduce smells.
Use old tea leaves in your baking to add a subtle flavour and give your cakes a slight health kick. Both fresh and dried tea leaves can be used for this, or even sprinkled over the top of your bake as edible decor.
Tea leaves are also used in some ice creams, so why not have a go at making some from scratch, using a variety of white teas and herbal blends?
A fun DIY project involving tea leaves is dying old clothes, paper and even your hair. Whole traditional black teas will turn things a golden brown hue, you can be creative and use a range of herbal teas for bold colours.
Create the colours of the rainbow with a weak every tea for the yellow, hibiscus tea for orange or red, green tea for you guessed it, green and butterfly pea flower tea will provide you with the blue.
Have you tried any of the above? Or have we now inspired you to try something? If so, why not start growing your own plants for herbal teas too? We’ve posted about herbal tea ingredients you can grow in the garden here.