After making a milky oolong, fragrant jasmine pearl, or malty black pearl tea, I frequently cringe at having to toss out the abundance of large tea leaves that have unfurled during the brewing process. So recently, I set out to find alternative uses for brewed leaves and found five great ways to recycle, save money, and prove further that tea is the most versatile substance on earth.
- Window Cleaner – Spread the leaves in a thin layer and put them out in the sun for several hours, or put them in a food dehydrator on low for 20 minutes. Wrap a 1/4-1/2 cup of leaves in some cheese cloth. Tie the top securely so that you have a small sachet of dry leaves. Moisten the sachet and start to lightly scrub. It smells good and is a light abrasive that removes dirt and doesn’t scratch delicate surfaces. I found that it was particularly good at cleaning dog slobber off my front windows. Oolong works the best.
- Refrigerator Deodorizer – Put a sachet of dry leaves mixed with baking soda in the fridge. It absorbs foul smells and gives off a pleasant aroma. Black dragon pearl tea work best for this application.
- Shoe Potpourri – Place a sachet of dry leaves in shoes that are particularly smelly while they are sitting in your closet. It will make your closet smell much better. Any large-leaf tea with a pleasant aroma will do the job.
- Bath Tonic – Drop several sachets of dry leaves in a warm bath and let them stand for a few minutes before getting in the water. They smell fantastic and make the skin feel soft and silky. A mixture of green jasmine pearl and oolong tea does a fantastic job.
- Room Spray – Fill a spray bottle half full of witch hazel. Add several drops of vegetable glycerine and grape seed oil. Witch hazel, vegetable glycerine, and grape seed oil can all be found at most health food stores and even at some pharmacies. Place a 1/8 cup of used leaves in the bottle. Fill the bottle to the top with spring water. Shake frequently and let stand for at least 24 hours. The longer it sits, the stronger it smells. I like to use green jasmine pearl because of its light, floral smell.
Using natural products to clean and deodorize a house instead of harsh chemicals is economical and healthy. I found that used tea leaves don’t have to be thrown out. They have many applications that work well and produce a pleasant aroma throughout the home.