We’ve all seen the pictures of ladies relaxing with teabags plonked over their eyes to reduce dark circles – but the nation's favourite brew has plenty more unusual uses! Check out our compilation of the strangest ways to use tea...
1. Prevent rust
Tea’s tannins can help to keep your pots and pans in top shape. After washing them, dab a used teabag around the pan. This will form a protective layer of tannins, preventing oxidation, which causes rust.
2. Marinade your meat
Tannins found in tea are a natural meat tenderiser. Use freshly brewed black tea and a selection of your favourite herbs for melt-in-the-mouth beef. Simply marinade in the fridge overnight before cooking.
3. Pep up pasta
Add a teabag (new or used) to the water you cook your pasta in for a delicate flavour – or try adding fragrant jasmine tea to rice.
4. Fertilise your garden
Sprinkle used tea around your plants to boost nitrogen levels in the soil, or add them to the compost heap. If you don’t have a garden, steep a used teabag in cold water and use the solution to water house plants.
5. Prevent pong
Put a teabag in your fridge – it’ll soak up any odours. You could also sprinkle tea into a cat litter tray for the same effect – or drop a few leaves into the bottom of your bin.
If your feet are a little on the whiffy side, make a tea foot soak to neutralise odours. You’ll also be left with lovely soft skin.
6. Spruce up your home
Shine hardwood floors and polish wooden furniture with used teabags for a natural sheen. Or, spray weak tea onto glass and mirrors and wipe away with a lint-free cloth – or a crumpled-up newspaper – for a sparkling finish.
Tea’s anti-greasing agents will remove grime while still being gentle on surfaces – and won’t leave a chemical smell.
You can also sprinkle damp tea leaves over carpets or rugs – allow to dry, and then vacuum up to leave fresh, clean floors!
7. Block bugs
Keep spiders, ants and other unwelcome guests at bay by placing teabags saturated in peppermint oil around the house.
8. Soothe your skin
The healing properties of the tannins found in tea can help to soothe minor skin irritations such as sunburn, minor burns, razor burns, acne and insect bites, offering topical relief. Dab a cool, wet teabag over the affected area.
Got sunburn over a large area? Soak in a tea bath – ideally a camomile tea bath, for maximum effect.
Thanks to its antioxidant and tannin content, tea has anti-inflammatory, hydrating and nourishing properties.
9. Gloss up your locks
Brew up a couple of pints of tea, let it cool and then use it as a final rinse in the shower after shampooing and conditioning for gloriously glossy hair. The caffeine in tea is also believed to promote hair growth…
10. Make scents
Dry out herbal tea bags and sprinkle the leaves into potpourri to add extra fragrance.
11. Dunk your dishes
Pop a couple of teabags in the water as you soak your crockery – it will help to dislodge grease and stains without the need to use harsh chemicals.
12. Freshen breath
Gargle with strongly brewed, cooled tea to help reduce the effects of bad breath. You can also make a soothing mouthwash from cooled peppermint tea, which has antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
13. Give yourself a facial
Fill a bowl with hot, steamy water and add a couple of teabags. Place your face over the bowl and cover your head with a towel and relax for five to 10 minutes. The antioxidants in the tea will help to hydrate and tone your skin.
14. Do or dye
Tea makes a wonderful dye for paper and cloth – you could even use a strong brew to paint a lovely (tea-toned) watercolour!
Have you heard of any other unusual uses for tea? Let us know in the comments section below…