The British brought us tea, but they did not bring us their ritualistic tea drinking habits. After living in Scotland for a few months and being blessed with many English and Scottish friends during my travels, I have much experience with the ins and outs of tea. I find myself buying loads of it when I come home and then not drinking it because it’s not always something I do in the US. So, what’s a girl to do with, as the Scottish would say, HEAPS of extra tea?
#1 – Say Goodbye to Stinky Feet
My mom taught me this one. I really didn’t believe her at first as most of her medical knowledge comes from credible sources like Dr. Oz and WebMD, but it definitely works. Make your black tea on the stove in the largest pot you have with about 6 or 7 bags of tea. Pour it in a container (ideally a bucket) that will fit your big, stinky feet. Choose your sitting spot wisely as you will be spending 15-20 minutes with your feet submersed in the hot tea. Sit back, relax, and let the tea do its work! That yucky, dry feeling in your mouth that you get after drinking tea, the astringent property of tea called tannins, is actually what takes away the odors.
#2 – Dyeing and Staining
Though I began this art form in middle school, it has taken years of skillful practice to master the art of making something look “tea stained.” Tea staining fabric and paper has been around for centuries and its time you try it yourself! Make new things look old and classic in an innovative and easy way— teas come in all different colors, and now your paper and fabric can too. Just be careful your art doesn’t become more tea than paper – it loses a bit of artistic value that way.
#3 – Actually Clean Windows
Ever struggle to really get those streaks off your windows? Tea to the rescue again! Instead of filling your spray bottle with water or Windex, top it up with fresh brewed tea. Tea’s astringent properties clear up greasy fingerprints and streaks in no time.
#4 – Pack-up Those Under-eye Bags
Place two warm tea bags over the eyes to reduce puffiness and lighten dark circles. You’ve seen it in movies and now it’s your turn. Though it is not scientifically proven, I’ve tried it and it does seem to help. And let’s face it; they look way cooler than cucumber slices!
#5 – Help Your Leafy Friends
Not always so kind to your indoor plants? Pop a few used tea bags in the bottom of your potted plants. It will help the plant retain water and provide it with some desperately needed extra nutrients. But, it will still die if you don’t water it.
#6 – Save a Nail
It’s happened again. You look down to see your nail has ripped in that awkward spot. It’s gone too far in to ignore and not far enough to cut off. Cut a piece of the tea bag mesh off and adhere it to your nail with clear nail polish. This makeshift splint will keep your nail intact while causing many people to ask you what in the world happened to your finger! It looks peculiar but it never fails.
#7 – Soothe Red Hot Skin
Have you lost another battle with the sun’s rays and have the battle scars to prove it? Wet a tea bag and rub it across the affected area of skin. Though it won’t take away the burning sensation, it will provide much needed temporary relief. No aloe required!
Have another funky, inventive use for tea? Let me know in the comments below.