What to Do With Used Tea Leaves

Tea is a popular beverage worldwide, but what happens to the used leaves? Instead of tossing them out, you can repurpose them in various ways. 

This article will provide you with 12 creative ideas for using old or used tea leaves, helping you to make the most of this versatile ingredient.


12 Creative Ideas of What to Do With Used or Old Tea Leaves

Here’s what you could do with used or old tea leaves.

Re-Steep Your Tea

Don’t throw away your used tea leaves just yet. Re-steeping your tea can produce another flavorful cup. Simply add hot water to your tea leaves and let them steep. The taste might be slightly weaker, but you can still enjoy a soothing cup of tea without wasting the leaves.


Used tea leaves are perfect for composting. They’re rich in nutrients, which can help improve the quality of your soil. Simply add them to your compost pile or bin, and let nature do the rest. Over time, the leaves will break down, providing essential nutrients for your plants to thrive.


In addition to composting, tea leaves can be used directly as a fertilizer. Sprinkle used tea leaves around your plants, and they’ll release nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These nutrients will help your plants grow healthier and stronger. Plus, the leaves can help retain moisture in the soil, reducing the need for frequent watering.


Tea leaves have natural deodorizing properties. Dry out your used tea leaves and then place them in a small cloth bag or sachet. Place the bag in your refrigerator, closet, or other areas with unpleasant odors. The tea leaves will absorb the odor, leaving a fresh and clean scent in its place.

Air Freshener

Create a natural air freshener by adding a few drops of essential oil to your dried tea leaves. Mix your favorite scent with the leaves, then place them in a decorative bowl or container. This air freshener is perfect for bathrooms, living rooms, or bedrooms, and the pleasant aroma will last for weeks.

Homemade Potpourri

Turn your used tea leaves into a beautiful homemade potpourri. Start by drying the leaves and then adding fragrant herbs, spices, or dried flowers. Mix the ingredients together and place them in a decorative bowl or jar. This lovely potpourri will fill your home with a delightful fragrance and add a touch of charm to any room.

Relaxing Bath

Upgrade your bath time with used tea leaves. Place the leaves in a mesh bag or a large tea ball and let it soak in your bath water. The tea will release antioxidants and essential oils, which can help soothe your skin and relax your mind. Plus, certain teas, like lavender or chamomile, have calming properties that can aid in relaxation.

Facial Steam

Give yourself a rejuvenating facial steam with used tea leaves. Place the leaves in a heatproof bowl and pour hot water over them. Lean over the bowl, covering your head with a towel to trap the steam. The steam will open your pores and release the antioxidants from the tea leaves, leaving your skin refreshed and glowing.

Eye Compress

Soothe tired or puffy eyes with a used tea bag compress. Allow the tea bags to cool down, then place them over your closed eyes for 10-15 minutes. The natural properties of the tea can help reduce inflammation and provide relief for tired eyes.

Insect Repellent

Keep pesky insects away with used tea leaves. Dry and scatter the leaves around your outdoor living spaces, like patios or garden areas. The scent of tea leaves, especially those of mint, lavender, or lemongrass, can deter insects like mosquitoes, ants, and flies. This natural repellent is safer than chemical-based insecticides, making it ideal for families and pets.

Cleaning Agent

Tea leaves can be used as a gentle and effective cleaning agent. Dampen used tea leaves and use them to scrub away dirt and stains on surfaces like countertops, sinks, and cutting boards. The abrasive texture of the leaves helps remove grime, while the natural properties of tea can cut through grease and neutralize odors.

Natural Dye

Explore your creative side by using tea leaves as a natural dye. Boil used tea leaves in water to create a concentrated dye solution. This dye can be used to color fabrics, paper, or even eggs. The result will be a beautiful, earthy tone that adds a unique touch to your projects.

Final Thoughts

Used tea leaves have many potential uses beyond their initial purpose. By repurposing them, you can save money, reduce waste, and even benefit the environment. Whether you’re looking for a natural cleaning solution, a soothing spa treatment, or a way to enhance your garden, consider trying these 12 creative ideas. You might be surprised at just how versatile used tea leaves can be.

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