Household Uses for Those Humble Tea Leaves
Many things we dispose of every day can have other uses – such as old tea leaves. Following are traditional tips for using old tea leaves in every day household chores. These tips have lasted for generations…
- As a deodorizer. Used tea leaves make good odor-removers for refrigerators and wardrobes. First dry the leaves thoroughly and then wrap them in a gauze bag. The leaves can be dry-roasted in a fry pan to revive their deodorizing function, but be careful not to burn them. If you wrap the leaves in a decorative cloth, you will have an attractive display item.
- As a fertilizer. Squeeze out all the water from old tea leaves and bury them in the soil next to the roots of plants and bushes. They are great for indoor plants, too. After some time you will notice the leaves looking brighter.
- For a finger bowl. After handling fish, you can clean your hands by rubbing them with used tea leaves to remove fishy smells. In the same way, after eating crab or prawns, rinse your hands in a bowl of tea. Tea leaves will also remove grease from your hands after handling meat.
- For diaper rash and bedsores. After the first serving, pour more hot water on the tea leaves and then pour this into another container to let it cool to the baby’s body temperature. Dip a piece of soft gauze in the tea, squeeze it lightly, and wipe the affected areas. This method is also effective against bedsores.
- For treating cuts. Chew the used tea leaves a little to soften them, and then apply to minor cuts such as those sustained working in the kitchen. This will stop the bleeding, and the tannin acts as a disinfectant.
- For morning sickness. For many pregnant women, nibbling on steeped leaves, especially those with a high content of vitamin C, such as quality sencha, can relieve morning sickness.
- As bath salts. Used tea leaves wrapped in gauze and placed in the bath emit a rich aroma that will help soothe your body and mind. Tea leaves are also said to improve the complexion, but please be aware that tea will stain towels.
- For athlete’s foot and hemorrhoids. Apply soft tea leaves to those parts of your feet affected with athlete’s food, or apply a gauze soaked in strong bancha tea leaves, changing it several times a day. If the infection is still at an early stage, this is an effective remedy because of the antiseptic quality of tannin. Inflammation between the fingers, caused when the hands are immersed in water for a long time, seems to heal quickly if the fingers are soaked in bancha for about 10 minutes and then dried gently. In mild cases of hemorrhoids, washing with lukewarm bancha is said to relief from itchiness.
- For producing dyes. Just as you can produce dyes from herbs, you can make a pale-green dye by adding powdered green tea to water and boiling it to reduce the liquid.
- For stuffing pillows. Pillows stuffed with used tea leaves that have been thoroughly dried in the sun are said to prevent hot flushes and improve blood circulation.
- As first aid after a tooth extraction. Tannin has an antiseptic effect, so rinsing your mouth with strong bancha will help to stop the bleeding after a tooth has been extracted.