07 October 2010

Some Interesting Uses for Old Tea

I was surfing the tea blogs and came upon a post by a Chinese blogger that talks about ten healthy uses for used tea

Some of the uses are new to me.  For the list in its entirety, check out “Jerry’s Blue Water Blog.”  It’s not stated what tea should be used, but I’m guessing it’s oolong since the blog writer has written several posts about oolong before.  The blog author works as a scientist or researcher, but it’s not stated as to if the items on his list has undergone any scientific evaluation.

1)  Make tea eggs.  There’s a recipe for these in one of my earlier posts.  Yum.

2)  Make tea pillows.  No thanks.  To the author’s credit, though, he doesn’t talk about a reduction in blood pressure, but mentions that sleeping on tea leaves improves mental clarity.

3)  Mosquito repellent.  Take dried tea leaves and burn them at night to ward off the insects.  I’ve tried this on Dong Ding before and it didn’t work for me.  I believe that smoke does help ward off insects, but unlike Citronella oil, I don’t think the natural oils found in tea are an effective repellant.  Dong Ding has some crazy thirsty mosquitoes.

4)  Plant food/fertilizer.  I haven’t tried this before, but I have heard of people using spent tea leaves as a nutritious mulch for plants. 

5)  Foot deodorizer/anti-fungal solution.  I’ve never tried this before, either.

6)  Eliminate bad breath.  The post’s instructions say to frequently place used, wet tea leaves into one’s mouth and to keep it there for a bit.  One could also rinse with a strong brew of used tea with the same effect, so says the author. 

7)  Special hair conditioner.  Washing with a strong brew of used tea leaves (after first using shampoo) can make hair look full, rich, soft and dark. 

8)  As a gentle cleaner for silk and nylon.  The author says that tea is not harsh on delicate fabrics.  I don’t know what properties in tea would make clothes cleaner than just using water, but I don’t find that washing with tea would be harmful, either.  Unless one uses roasted oolong leaves to wash a light-colored silk garment, in which case, the garment will no longer be light-colored. 

9)  As a multi-purpose cleanser for household items like furniture, glass, mirrors, etc. 

10)  As an odor remover, particularly for stinky utensils.  I think this can work.  I’ve randomly washed dishes together with tea bowls and messed around with scrubbing tea leaves on metal utensils and it does seem to have some effect on that stinky, fishy metallic smell that some utensils can get, as well as some effect on strong garlic smells.  Lemon juice or orange peel seem to work better, though.

Interesting list.  I have heard of many more uses, both abstract and reasonable.  Tea is quite a wondrous plant.


  1. I finally made my tea pillow, after collecting and drying spent leaves for quite some time. Maybe I didn't crush them well enough, but I have to say, though, buckwheat is more comfortable.

  2. Hey Will, nice work. I agree that the buckwheat is more comfortable, way more so in my opinion. Let me know how your tea pillow turns out over time. Maybe there's some way to mix tea leaves with poly-fill/buckwheat/memory foam to produce a more comfortable experience?!? At the end of the day, I'm still not quite sure what health effects spent tea would have, and I dread the stale aromas and mold issues that I've seen before.