Uses for old, unused tea in teabags?
December 6, 2009 10:56 AM   Subscribe

Uses for old, unused tea in teabags?

I've got a bunch of low-to-medium quality tea in teabags that have sat around too long and make horrible tea. How can I use them (in cooking, cleaning, lifesaving etc., capacities)? So far my only idea is to use them to acidify the water for some acid-loving plants.
posted by Napoleonic Terrier to Home & Garden (20 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Crafty use: "antiquing" paper. If you scrapbook, etc.

Also, my grannie used to use them to absorb bad fridge smells, but yours may have sat around too long to be useful anymore, unfortunately.
posted by lesli212 at 10:59 AM on December 6, 2009

i use tea bags on skin blemishes. if i have a zit or pimple coming on, i make tea, and after the tea bag cools a bit, hold it on the trouble spot for 5-10 minutes. works like a charm - the zit or pimple never appears.

truth be told, though, i don't know anyone else who does this.
posted by gursky at 11:36 AM on December 6, 2009

Tea rubbing has worked out well for me, even with old store-brand tea bags. You can do fish, steak or turkey; probably other things too.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 11:44 AM on December 6, 2009

"antiquing" paper is a fun project for kids.
posted by 2legit2quit at 11:56 AM on December 6, 2009

You can just dump tea around outside plants as a mulch, also.
posted by gudrun at 11:58 AM on December 6, 2009

Do you know someone who builds model trains? Any kind of structured powder is great for landscaping. (as a kid, I used to sieve through various kinds of tropical-wood-sawdust in my dad's workshop for this purpose, and I also used old dried coffee)
posted by Namlit at 12:33 PM on December 6, 2009

You can antique bones and porcupine quills with it, too. Not that you'll need that much to do it.

(We usually just dump old tea in the compost.)
posted by small_ruminant at 12:42 PM on December 6, 2009

Just dump the contents and use the bags for tea bag rockets! If you have kids, have them watch a cartoon or something while you are having an awesome time with this absolute blast of a thermodynamical joyride.
posted by Orchestra at 12:50 PM on December 6, 2009 [2 favorites]

Make tea flavored ice cream?
posted by misskaz at 12:52 PM on December 6, 2009

I worked with a Serbian guy who told me during the worst of the war, when supplies were scarce, that he and his friends would substitute old tea leaves for tobacco. According to him, really old chamomile was a decent marijuana substitute. Never gave it a try.
posted by mannequito at 1:09 PM on December 6, 2009

If any are Earl Grey, you might make Earl Grey tea cookies.
posted by transporter accident amy at 1:10 PM on December 6, 2009

You could smoke meats with it. Tea-smoked duck is particularly luscious.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:27 PM on December 6, 2009 [2 favorites]

Except if it tastes stale, it'll taste stale as a marinade or in cookies, too.
posted by small_ruminant at 2:07 PM on December 6, 2009

From Ms. Vegetable:

Dye things. Hair, fabric, paper.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 2:34 PM on December 6, 2009

Seconding blemish removal. Also, if your eyes are tired or have a sty, a really hot teabag(as hot as you can stand) put on your eyelid helps.
Also, compost, especially for houseplants.
posted by pentagoet at 2:40 PM on December 6, 2009

Add spices, make tea eggs.
posted by citron at 3:40 PM on December 6, 2009

Seconding using it for smoking foods on an outdoor grill. I used up a tin of old jasmine this way, made some lovely chicken thighs.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 4:31 PM on December 6, 2009

I use tea in the water when I wash my hardwood floors - the light staining in the tea evens out the wear on the wood, which makes them look like they are in much better shape than they really are.
posted by kristin at 8:35 PM on December 6, 2009 [2 favorites]

You could make curtains with the teabags.
posted by thisjax at 7:31 AM on December 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks to all responders. Am looking forward to making tea eggs and trying the tea rubbing.
posted by Napoleonic Terrier at 11:20 PM on December 7, 2009

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