Yet, there’s more that the humble cup of tea does – besides its many health-boosting antioxidant and nourishing properties, tea is also great for use around the house, on your body and in the kitchen. So the next time you’re thinking of tossing that tea bag, don’t!
IN THE HOME
Deodoriser – fishy smells clinging to your chopping board? Just place a layer of used tea leaves on the board for a few minutes. The leaves will gently strip off any cloying smells. Fridge not smelling good either? Place a bag of dried tea leaves into it for the same effect. In your wardrobe or car, putting some drops of your favourite oil fragrance onto an herbal tea bag will leave a sweet fragrance in the air.
Rust preventer – tannin in tea sticks to steel surfaces, creating a protective film that prevents rust from forming. So when cleaning up after cooking, remember to rub your pots and pans with old tea leaves.
Mirror cleaner – Cold black tea has astringent qualities that are super for stripping dirt off household mirrors. Either dunk a washcloth in black tea or use a tea bag to wipe over mirror then buff to a sparkling dry finish.
ON YOUR BODY
Natural hair colour agent – brew some really strong black tea and mix with rosemary and sage. Leave overnight. Next day, strain and pour a few cupfuls onto your greying, just-washed hair. The thearubigin that formed in the tea during the oxidising process binds to proteins in your hair, creating a semi-permanent dye. Repeat as needed.
Conditioner – put a spark of shine to dry, damaged hair by pouring a litre of cooled freshly brewed green or black tea onto your just-washed hair as a final rinse.
Skin rejuvenator – a slightly warm used tea bag placed on tired eyes for five to 15 minutes will reduce puffiness and hydrate the skin around your eyes.
IN THE KITCHEN
Food enhancer – washing fish in tea helps eliminate bacteria especially if you’re eating your fish raw. Cooking pork in tea meanwhile helps reduce the fat and cholesterol levels in the meat.
Meat tenderiser – place four tablespoons of black tea leaves in three cups of warm water and steep for five minutes. After straining, place the meat in the tea solution before proceeding to cook. You’ll find the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender when it’s cooked.
Flavour agent – if you like smoking your cheeses and meats, try adding some tea leaves to the wood or leaf mixture for a quaint tea-infused flavour. Or add to water when boiling eggs for an interesting colour and flavour.