As scorching summer temperatures rise, what can be better than a refreshing glass of perfectly brewed tea served over ice? Summer and iced tea are made for each other, but after brewing that pot, what should you do with the used tea bags or the leftover tea? Sure you could throw them out, but why not put them to good use? Whether it’s herbal, green, black, white or oolong, tea has a variety of practical uses.
1)Soften skin. Saturate a cotton ball with unsweetened brewed tea and use as a skin toner on the face, neck or entire body.
2) Add to potting soil. Mix dried, used tea leaves in with potting soil to add a nutrient boost to either houseplants or the garden. The leaves may also be added to a compost pile. If using tea bags rather than loose leaves, be sure to remove from bag before adding to soil.
3) Use as a tint or a dye. Brewed tea can be used to add color or an antiquing effect to fabrics, linens, paper or clothing (especially good for giving an aged look to doll clothing). Soak the item in tea until desired tint is achieved then allow to dry. This is a useful solution to achieving a unique look for a stained white shirt or other article of clothing – simply change the color by dying it – dip the whole item in tea, allow to sit for several minutes, then remove and allow to dry. Cool, brewed tea is also great for livening up dull hair color. Simply spray into hair, allow to sit for about 15 minutes, then rinse. Depending on the variety used, the tea will add a slightly reddish or light brown hue to the hair.
4) Treat skin blemishes. Place a used tea bag on the wart, or cover with loose tea, and allow to sit for about a half an hour. Repeat daily until the wart or blemish is cleared up. Moistened, cooled teabags are also effective on sunburns, insect bites, cold sores, injection sites and even minor cuts and bruises. Use like a compress over the spot and allow to sit. Tea will bring comforting relief and promote healing. Tea is also said to be an effective acne-fighter. Brew tea and use as a cleansing fluid when washing acne-prone areas.
5) Add to baked goods, rice and other dishes. Brewed tea can bring a distinctive flavor to cookies, cakes and breads when used in place of other liquids. Spiced teas can be used in soups and other dishes. In some countries, tea left over from breakfast is often used to flavor rice cooked in the evening. Adding a richly brewed tea to sauces can help to enhance the color and flavor. Some people even enjoy mixing their favorite brewed tea, after it’s cooled, with yogurt or ice cream.
6. Relieve stressed eyes. Place one cool and dampened teabag over closed eyes and recline. Tea will reduce puffiness and relieve stressed eyes. Add a cup of tea to the bath for an indulgent, skin softening soak.
Helpful hint. Looking to add a unique twist to your regular pot of iced tea? Add a few fresh mint leaves to your normal brew. Sweeten and steep as you usually would.