10 Ways to Turn Tea into a Handy Household Helper

Find out how that tasty brew is not only good for your health but can help you clean, deodorise and protect your house

Issue: Apr 2015

Tea is not only good for drinking, it has many uses around the house as well such as cleaning, deodorising and even protecting your plants
Tea is not only good for drinking, it has many uses around the house as well such as cleaning, deodorising and even protecting your plants

Originating from China, the medicinal, miracle evergreen shrub we call tea has been calming and charming generations for thousands of years. Its attraction as an aromatic drink of choice is clear. The demand for tea is so great that there is enough produced a year to supply the world with 5.9 billion cups of tea a day (compared to 2.2 billion of coffee).

But apart from being delicious and therapeutic, tea is a pretty handy household helper as well. Inside shares 10 life hacks featuring the ubiquitous tea.

1. Neutralise Odours

Don't throw away your used tea bags because they can be turned into odour-eaters for your house
Don’t throw away your used tea bags because they can be turned into odour-eaters for your house

Tea leaves have antibacterial properties and are very good moisture absorbers. Scatter some used tea leaves or placed used tea bags that have been washed and dried onto your kitty litter, in your trash bin, inside your sneaker, in your shoe cabinet, inside your refrigerator or oven, in your kitchen after a session of heavy cooking or wherever nasty smells linger. The tea leaves will absorb and neutralise any foul odour.

2. Freshen Air

Create your own air freshener by mixing a litre of twice-brewed tea (to weaken it) and four tablespoons of lemon juice or any of your favourite essential oil. Pour it into your spray bottle and spritz some freshness into your rooms.

3. Clean Carpets and Rugs

The same ability to absorb moisture and odour can be used to great effect to clean carpets and rugs that are notorious for hiding not only dirt but also absorbing smells. Cover your carpet, rug or cushion with used tea leaves. Leave them till they dry and simply remove them. You will have refreshing smelling soft furnishings in no time.

Used tea leaves can absorb bad smells and clean your carpets and rugs, leaving them refreshingly scented
Used tea leaves can absorb bad smells and clean your carpets and rugs, leaving them refreshingly scented

4. Clean Glass

Tea makes a wonderful natural glass cleaner. The tannic acid in tea acts as a cleaning agent to dissolve dirt and grease. Brew some strong tea and spray them onto your windows, mirrors, table tops or any other glass surfaces. You will literally see the dirt, grime and muck melt away. The bonus is that it is non-toxic and smells great.

5. Shine Wood

Tea can be used to polish wood as well. Your floors, doors, stairs, banister, furniture can be buffed to a gleam with freshly brewed tea.

The tannin in the tea will polish the wood in your house from your floors and doors to your furniture
The tannin in the tea will polish the wood in your house from your floors and doors to your furniture

6. Degrease Plates

After a particularly fatty meal, some people enjoy a nice cup of tea because the brew helps to wash down the grease and makes you feel less bloated. Tea can do the same for your dishes as it does your tummy. Soak greasy pots, pans and plates in warm water with a few used tea bags and let the tannin in the tea do its work. The tea will loosen any food stuck and break down the grease making doing the dishes less of a chore.

7. Remove Rust

A used tea bag can remove and prevent rust. Use it to wipe down your cast-iron pots and pans. It is effective and perfectly safe.

Acid-loving plants like roses and ferns will flourish when watered with weakened tea
Acid-loving plants like roses and ferns will flourish when watered with weakened tea

8. Deter Pest

Tea may be a favourite drink with billions but mice, it seems, do not fancy the smell of tea. Tuck used tea bags into rodent-prone areas to deter them. To repel other household pests like spiders and ants, soak tea bags in peppermint essential oil. Bugs hate peppermint.

9. Protect Plants

Tea can protect your plants from fungal infection. Re-brew used tea bags for a weaker tea and use it to water your plants.

10. Promote Plant Growth

You can also use used tea leaves to fertilise the soil. Acid-loving plants like ferns and roses also enjoy a spot of tea. Water them with weakened tea and watch them flourish. The tea can also revive ailing plants.

In you, on you, in the house and around your garden – tea is a wonderfully useful companion with so many benefits. It makes you want to raise a toast and drink to this miracle brew. Drink up and don’t forget to save those used tea leaves and tea bags.

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