Practical ideas to reuse old or used teas

We, tea lovers, tend to accumulate many different kinds of teas over time. After all, tea is an affordable luxury.  But, let’s be honest. For some tea drinkers, one tea bag equals one cup of tea, and then the tea bag is immediately thrown away. Sometimes, we forget about certain teas we have in our kitchen cabinet.  They get old or they were poorly stored, losing their taste & aroma. Whichever the case, there are many amazing ways to reuse old and used teas.

Here are some practical & creative ideas that we’ve tried  (there more ideas out there!):

1. Make a Pitcher of Iced Tea: 

  • Old, stale dry teas normally tend to have a flat taste and loose its aroma. By doubling the tea dosage (tea bag or loose leaf), it will add a bit more flavor to your Iced Tea.
  • We definitely recommend infusing it with fresh fruits, such as berries, orange wedges, cinnamon or herbs. Garnish with mint & serve.

2.  Add Tea as flavor to your Food:

The ideas here are endless, and we’re big home cooks ourselves and love to experiment cooking with tea.

  • You can ground dry tea leaves and add salt & spices and use a dry rub for meat/fish, or use as seasoning to savory dishes, such as Edamame.
  • For desserts, you can ground or pulse Early Grey or Jasmine tea and mix with flour for ‘tea-infused’ crust or cookies. Matcha green tea is another great example: great for cakes, pastries, chia pudding, smoothies, etc. You can also use ‘brewed tea’ to flavor the base of sorbets, granitas and ice cream. Poached pears or apples with a smoked black tea is also yummy with honey.
  • You can steep Roasted teas such as Lapsang Souchong or Hojicha and use as the broth base to Soups or Ramen, or use to poach fish. We do this frequently for Carrot or Vegetable soups.


3. Neutralize Household Odors Dry tea leaves are highly absorbent and attracts odor from anything it comes in contact with, which is why it’s important to store them in an opaque, air tight container, away from strong odors or spices.

  • You can sprinkle dried tea leaves in cat litter box to absorb the odor.
  • Dry tea leaves are also good in absorbing fridge odors, just like baking soda. Use for about 3 days. This is applicable to old smelly shoes as well, by using a dried old tea bag.
  • Carpet is another good use for dried tea leaves. Let them sit for 20 minutes and vacuum. This is great if you have a flavored, scented tea bag.


4.  Do it yourself (DIY) Skin care There are several ways to incorporate tea in your beauty routine. Some ideas include:

  • Facial Spritzer by using a steeped Green Tea. Just brew in room temp. for a few hours, strain & transfer to a spray bottle. Spritz away for an anti-oxidant pick-me-up. This can also be converted to a Toner, if you add lemon & honey & apply with a cotton ball. Refrigerate for 1 week.
  • As you’re probably aware, using Tea bags soaked in cold water over your eyes for 15-20 mins helps de-puff the eyes due to its caffeine and ease in swelling.
  • Last, is our favorite Green Tea Sugar Scrub with Olive Oil. We’re inspired by Jessica’s recipe from Living Chic on her website. Do check it out at

There are many other ways of using stale or used Tea leaves that we’ve come across, but have yet to try them. They range from using teas to feed your garden, by using damp tea leaves around the base of your plants to fertilize the soil and deter pests. Teas have also been used for dyeing paper, cloth & easter eggs; and renewing wood surfaces using brewed tea bags. We’ve also come across Teas as cleaning products, removing grease, minimize streaks & dust, using brewed tea.

What has been your experience? Do share and tell us!

Written by Yvette A.

Posted on January 2018