10 Clever Household Uses For Tea Bags

After the last dunk, why not put those used tea bags to work for you? Check out this list of household uses!

In our quest to reuse, recycle, and re-imagine, it’s always a plus to find new uses for something. Even better if it makes our lives easier in the process.

The once- or twice-dunked tea bag usually went right in the trash. But no more! Try these ideas for your used tea bags to help with some tasks around the house.

Uses For Used Tea Bags You Probably Didn’t Know

Tea - Tea bag

1. Eliminate Foot Odor: Great for athletes and anyone on their feet a lot, soaking your feet for 30 minutes a day in black tea (just save up those used bags) may result in fresher feet. Believers say it’s the tannins, or tannic acid, that creates a hostile environment for bacteria and/or acts as an astringent which contracts tissue, including sweat glands. Placing dry tea bags in shoes also reduces lingering moisture, which prevents bacteria build-up and odor.

2. Shine mirrors: Re-soak used tea bags in warm water. Dip a clean cloth in the “tea” and wipe mirrors, then dry with another cloth.

3. Coax your compost: Re-soak tea bags and pour resulting liquid (strong is best) and tea leaves on the compost heap. This is said to speed up the composting process and attract acid-producing bacteria for acid-rich compost. Many plants grow best in acid-rich soil, including azaleas, rhododendrons, hydrangea, calla lilies—even pine trees.

4. Improve potted plant health by scattering some used tea bags atop the drainage layer at the bottom of the planter before planting. Tea bags retain water and leach nutrients into the soil.

5. Sparkling toilets: Some attest to the use of used tea bags as stain removing agents. Remove leaves from the used bags, toss into the bowl and let sit for a few hours. Then flush.

6. Deodorize fridge: Out of baking soda? Used tea bags can work just as well to absorb odors. Place them in a dish in the back of the fridge and compost after a couple of weeks.

7. Lessen lost tooth pain: Some experts recommend placing a cold, wet tea bag on the spot where a child’s tooth has fallen out. It may reduce pain and lessen bleeding due to the tannins in tea that constrict blood vessels.

8. Tenderize meat: Used tea bags can be soaked again in liquid to tenderize a tough cut of meat.

9. Soothe insect bites and rashes: Apply cold, used tea bags to reduce swelling and redness.

10. De-grease dirty dishes: Dishes, pots, and pans can be soaked in a sink filled with warm water and used tea bags to break up grease and make any necessary scrubbing easier for stubborn, dried, baked-on food.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Beth Herman

Beth Herman is a freelance writer with interests in healthy living and food, family, animal welfare, architecture and design, religion, and yoga. She writes for a variety of national and regional publications, institutions, and websites.

Notify of

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jo San

I use very warm wet tea bags on my sinuses during allergy season.

Jo San

I use cool wet tea bags on my eyes during hot summers

Jo San

I use wet tea bags to clean the wood stove

Janet Scotland

I would like to know if l could mix crushed egg shell with u used teabags?


When I get a sore throat, I leave a tea bag soaking in water to gargle with. The tannic acid draws out the poisons and sooths the throat.

Wanda Beene

Very good hints. I will remember them.


TEA is indeed good for a lot of things, lots of good information!

Becky Sunderman

I helped a neighbor stuff jalapenos with cream cheese for canning one summer, and didn’t wear gloves. Of course, when my fingers began to burn, I was desperate for relief. I used cold brewed tea and the tea bags, poured into large plastic cups and plunged my fingers into it, squeezing the tea bags as best I could inside the cups. It temporarily eased the burn. Lesson learned~

Susan Higgins

Becky – excellent tip!

Kim Fike

I used the used tea bags to dye all the tuilling and netting and some of the flowers twisted into my hair at my wedding, couldn’t find them in off white anywhere, and my dress was eggshell white, so I wanted there to be a slight difference in the colors for my veil and the matching hair designs for me and my bridesmaids’ hair.


What type of tea works? Does it have to have caffeine, or can it be herbal?


A cold wet used tea bag applied to stye on eyelid relieves the pain and shortens its duration.


Just remember to wipe off your eye or it will dye it

Mary D

Used tea bags are good for stopping bleeding. If you start bleeding after you pull a tooth, take a teabag, dampen it in cool water and put it where the tooth was pulled. I learned this years ago in a rural hospital emergency room.
I’ve also used it when my son fell and cut his scalp. It was a teeny tiny little hole, but it was bleeding like he’d cut his arm off! It took just a minute to stop so we could tell it wasn’t serious.

Verna Harms

Make iced tea with 2 tea bags in glass of water, refrigerate. I use peppermint. Drink next day.

Amy Reese

A wet black tea bag cooled will cure pink eye the tannic acid juice squeezed into eye and bag over eye works wonders!

Margaret Ann

Dry used teabags and put in large glass container with paraffin and use as fireflighters at your BBQ. Keep filling it up with dry teabags as you go along using it



Doreen Fouchey



Tea bags are a great way to dye calico for a rustic look to quilting, angel wings for dolls, etc, use it all the time for dying


I can still remember the little old ladies hanging them out on the clothes line to let them dry for the next day

Michelle Anthony

Tea Bags can be used for Boils also. If You get a Boil simply boil Your Bags and set the bags aside until cool enough to put on skin. I normally do it thru the night and in the morning it has ( boil) has drained.

Margaret Jaeger

We’ve used wet tea bags for sunburn pain, or tea in a tub to soak in. It takes a lot of the heat out of the burn but mostly takes a lot of the stinging pain away.

Barbara. Maez

I’m going to try this on my puffy eyes

sharon anderson

I forgot to say I live in the Southeast (Georgia) if that may help. About the Hydrangea bushes. Thank You

sharon anderson

I have 2 Hydrangea bushes that blooms great every year, but I cut them back one year and they almost died now when they start growing back I have a lot of the old sticks from last year sticking up like a sore thumb. Will it be ok to cut them off when the green part of the plant starts coming out. I’m afraid to do anything to them afraid they will die. What should I do to them? Thank You, Sharon

BJ Green

Leave them alone, feed with an all purpose 10/10/10, & wait. I wouldn’t prune unless they never leaf out. Be patient. The deer ate mine 2 winters in a row & they came back with extra water. Might not flower the 1st year, but should the 2nd. Good luck.


I’ve used teabags (on a paper towel to prevent any possible staining) in my antique drawers to control the musty odor. I don’t know why those drawers do that. After they’re used up, I add them to my plants.


Had wisdom teeth pulled-used tea bags to stop bleeding-worked great

Diane Hinkle

I seriously wonder about number 5., Tea bags or tea pouring into my sink stain it. I cannot believe a tea bag in a toilet would leave it sparkling clean. I think it would stain it.


when I had all my wisdom teeth pulled I had tea bags in my mouth and bit down to help pain and swelling.


great for dying fabric from off white to tan

Priscilla Smith

I have another, a nice hot tea bag will sooth a pig stye……………
I use new and used tea bags on lots of body parts works for me……………..


These are wonderful and helpful ideas! I have many houseplants that do VERY well with tea bags, and even cold leftover coffee!!


Back in the days before tea came in bags, my grandmother always put the used leaves on her potted ferns which were beautiful!

priscilla langford

As a little girl my Dad used to make a wonderful roast beef dinner using tea as a liquid to cook it in. An old trick from my Grandmother who was a cook in Newport for many of the summer residents. Still use tea when I make a roast even in the crock pot. It tenderizes to the point of nearly falling apart and gives it a wonderful base for gravy.


Why not just compost ’em? The bags and tags are usually just paper of some sort, the strings are usually cotton, and the tiny staples rust away to nothing soon enough. Adding liquid tea to my compost would, in most circumstances, make it too wet. The other potential uses may be great, but if simply getting rid of the teabags is the goal then there’s no need to involve trash if composting is happening. The toilet idea sounds dangerous if the string is left on, though; I could see it engendering clogs down the line.

BJ Green

It said take the tea out of the bag


many tea bags are not just paper but have other fibers that do not decompose- i know because i use them in my compost. i just let the bags dry a bit then break them open and empty them into my compost pot. i learned that by having to rake out many dry tea bags that had emptied but the bags just stay there.

Terri Skinner

Thanks for the great advice, can’t wait to try some of these out, like in plants, tooth/gum pain, soaking dishes and pans. Very helpful! Will keep bug bites in mind also.


As a kid, I got a bad sunburn. Mom made up tea, let the tea cool she then soaked a towel in it, wrang some of the tea out of the towel, then placed on my back.

It really helped with taking that burning feeling from my back.

Wendee Paull Cloutier

when my husband burned his face with hot oil the nurse at the hospital said wet used teabags on the burn would help with the pain and stop the burning. didn’t have any so used cold facecloths to get him to the hospital.


Great tips…I also use unused tea bags (dry) in footwear to absorb odors

Deborah Tukua, editor Journey to Natural Living

One more tip — A damp tea bag will reduce puffiness around the eyes.

Plan Your Day. Grow Your Life.

Enter your email address to receive our free Newsletter!