Way back when we first started this blog in May of this year, we asked our Facebook friends what type of things they and you would want us to include in the blog. It’s one of those things: we work in the tea business and so we talk tea all day and sometimes forget that we probably end up learning about a lot of cool things that would be useful or fun for our customers, friends and family.
Part of the feedback we got was that lots of people are interested in the health benefits of green tea but also interested in other ways to get more green tea into their diets besides, you know…drinking it. “No problem” says the Seven Sisters team; ways to drink and eat more green tea are everywhere. But here’s the funny thing…if you’re not using tea infusers, strainers or other crafty ways of drinking loose leaf tea, you’re probably ending up with a lot of used tea bags around. We know that you know that we know that you know you can compost them, but did you know about all of these other clever green tea uses?
1. Cleaning your wood floors and furniture. Have you ever rubbed raw walnut onto scratched floors or furniture to make the scratches go away? Apparently the same tannic properties that walnut skins and green tea have in common make tea an ideal furniture polish. Use strong, room temperature tea and be sure to not oversoak any wood surfaces. Of course you should test on a small, less visible area to ensure you are getting a desirable result.
2. Beautiful natural dyes. I used to have the most interestedly patterned t shirt. It looked like it had been tie-dyed, but instead it was actually tea-dyed. At first I loved how it looked, but when I found out it was a “tea shirt” I loved it even more. There is no exacting formula for how to use tea as a dye, of course, because all teas have their own unique properties. If you’re up for some experimentation, the possibili-teas are endless!
3. Clean carpets. Got kids? Got pets? Then you’ve got a need for a safe carpet cleaner and deodorizer! You need to make sure you’ve dried out your tea leaves for this one – use the sun or spread them on a baking sheet at the lowest setting your oven has. Once they’re dry, you can sprinkle them over musty carpet, or carpet with fresher spills and use the tea the same way you’d use a commercial carpet deodorizer. Leave it on for at least 10 to 30 minutes, then vacuum it up. Bad smell gone, new smell amazing!
4. Postpone a cat-litter change. Look, I’m not saying don’t change the litter box. In fact, I’m saying DO change the litter box. (If you’re one of my kids, I’ve asked you a thousand times to change the litter box!) But if you need to postpone a full changing of the guard, as it were, mix some dry green tea leaves in with Felix’s usual litter for a quickie refresh.
5. Super luxurious skin care! Save up about a half a pound or so of dried green tea leaves and then have a beautifying, restorative green tea bath. (You can thank me for this one later!)
6. Acne-be-gone! Speaking of skin care: while I have not personally tried this one, my cousin’s neighbour (for real!) swears by a twice-daily green tea face wash to control her acne. Her acne has always been a challenge and she says that this is by far the most effective natural treatment she has tried.
7. Hair conditioner. While we’re in the beauty aisle, be sure to try a green tea hair rinse, especially in dry wintery months. A great deal of our household heat comes from burning wood in the winter. It smells wonderful and provides a glorious, dry heat during those winter months. BUT…too much of a good thing and my hair was getting dried right out last winter. A bit of Googling and I learned that a rinse of strong green tea, left in until it dries and then rinsed out with water does the trick just fine. Plus hey – more tea!
8. Cure smellyfoot. Your tall vintage boots are a hot look. Your smelly feet? Not so much. But you’re not alone AND there is help! A soothing foot bath in a strong green tea brew and those feet will be good as new.
How many times you choose to infuse your leaves is up to you. Personally, it depends which tea I’m drinking. Some days I’ll go grandpa style for a half day while I’m focused on work. Sometimes I’ll only want to infuse once because I love the bright, fresh flavour of a single brew of certain teas. No matter how you like to do things, there are always plenty of ways to add more enjoyment of tea to every day. Have fun!
What are your favourite unusual or surprising other uses for tea? Drop us a note in the comments below!