12 Fun and Creative Ways to Reuse Tea Leaves

Tea is not just a tasty drink, it’s also a versatile ingredient that can be used in many other ways. Instead of throwing them away, you can learn how to reuse tea leaves in lots of creative ways.

Teacup with tea leaves on saucer with tea bags

Don’t waste your used tea leaves! By trying out these fun and easy ways to reuse them, you can reduce waste, save money, and discover the amazing potential of tea leaves.

From composting to crafting, tea leaves have so much more to offer beyond just making a cup of tea.

1. Using Tea Leaves for Composting

Tea leaves are great for composting because they are rich in nutrients.

  • Collect your used tea leaves and mix them with other compostable materials like fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, and yard waste.
  • Keep the compost pile moist but not too wet, as tea leaves tend to dry out quickly.
  • Turn the compost pile regularly to help it decompose and get enough air.
  • After a few months, the tea leaves will break down and turn into nutrient-rich compost that you can use in your garden.

2. Tea Leaf Infused Vinegar

You can add a unique flavor to your cooking by infusing vinegar with tea leaves. Here’s how to do it:

  • Take your used tea leaves and put them in a clean glass jar.
  • Fill the jar with white or apple cider vinegar, making sure the leaves are fully covered.
  • Close the jar tightly and let it sit in a cool, dark place for at least two weeks to let the flavors infuse.
  • After two weeks, strain out the tea leaves and transfer the infused vinegar into a clean bottle.
  • Use this tea-infused vinegar in dressings, marinades, or any recipe that calls for vinegar.

3. DIY Tea Leaf Scrubs and Bath Soaks

You can use tea leaves to make your own beauty products, like scrubs and bath soaks. Here’s how:

Tea Leaf Scrub:

  • Mix equal parts finely ground tea leaves (from used tea bags) with sugar or sea salt.
  • Add a little bit of coconut oil or olive oil to make a paste.
  • Gently massage the scrub onto damp skin in circular motions and rinse with warm water.
  • Enjoy smooth and refreshed skin with a hint of tea fragrance.

Tea Leaf Bath Soak:

  • Put a handful of used tea leaves in a muslin bag or directly into your bathwater.
  • Fill the tub with warm water and let the tea leaves steep for a few minutes.
  • Relax in the tea-infused bath and let the antioxidants from the leaves nourish your skin.

4. Natural Cleaning with Tea Leaves

Tea leaves can be used as a natural cleaner for various surfaces in your home. The tannins in tea have antibacterial properties that can help remove dirt and grime. Here are some ways to use tea leaves for cleaning:

Tea Leaf Window Cleaner:

  • Steep a few used tea bags in boiling water and let the liquid cool.
  • Pour the cooled tea into a spray bottle and use it to clean windows.
  • Spray the solution on glass surfaces and wipe clean with a cloth.

Tea Leaf Furniture Polish:

Note: this may discolor pale wood furniture. Always test on a small area before you start.

  • Brew a strong pot of black tea using used tea leaves.
  • Let the tea cool down, then dip a soft cloth into the liquid.
  • Gently polish dark wooden furniture with the tea-soaked cloth to give it shine and remove dust.

5. Tea Leaf Crafts and Art Projects

Tea leaves can add texture, color, and a unique touch to your craft and art projects. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Tea Leaf Collage:

  • Collect dry used tea leaves in different shapes and sizes.
  • Arrange the tea leaves on a canvas or paper to create a collage.
  • Glue the leaves down and let it dry.
  • Display your tea leaf collage as a piece of unique artwork.

Tea Leaf Candles:

  • Melt soy wax in a double boiler and add a few drops of essential oil for fragrance.
  • Place a wick in a clean glass container and arrange used tea leaves around it.
  • Pour the melted wax into the container, making sure the leaves are submerged but the wick is exposed.
  • Let the candle cool and solidify, then trim the wick and light your tea leaf candle.

6. Rebrew as Cold Brew

After brewing your tea, don’t discard the used leaves. Instead, add them to a pitcher of water and let it steep in the refrigerator for a few hours to create a refreshing cold brew tea.

You may need to add some fresh tea to it to get the strength you want. Some leaves do well being brewed twice while others turn weak. Either way, you’ll use a bit less tea with this tip.

7. Fertilizer

Sprinkle used tea leaves around plants and flowers in your garden. The tea leaves will decompose, providing valuable nutrients to the soil.

8. Sachets and Potpourri

Dry the tea leaves and put them into little bags to create sachets. If they have enough scent left, you can also use them as stove pot poutpourri to scent your home.

9. Natural Deodorizer

Dried used tea leaves can act as a natural deodorizer. Place them in a bowl in the refrigerator, freezer, or other areas to absorb unwanted odors.

10. Repel Insects Around Plants

Scatter dried tea leaves around plants in your garden to repel certain pests.

11. Dye Homemade Recycled Paper or Fabrics

Some types of tea, like black tea, can be used as a natural dye for fabrics and homemade paper.

12. Odor Neutralizer for Shoes

Place dried tea leaves inside smelly shoes to help absorb odors.

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Last Updated:

May 23, 2024