Since they hit the market in 1904, tea bags have made it easy to relax with a good cuppa. People with a box of tea bags in the cupboard may not realize that they also have many health and beauty remedies right at their fingertips. Tea contains compounds that offer various health benefits and tea bags can be a budget-friendly addition to a beauty routine. People who want to reduce the number of chemicals in their home may also want to add tea bags to their cleaning and gardening supplies.

Soothe Sunburn

When it comes to sunburn, prevention is better than a cure, but when you forget to reapply, tea bags are one way to soothe the pain. The tannic acid and theobromines (alkaloids) in the tea help draw heat from the burn, and other compounds are believed to help repair skin damage. To use, just massage wet tea bags over the affected area. Alternatively, soak in a tea bag-infused bath to soothe sunburn in large areas or hard to reach places.

Take heat from sunburns Joel Carillet / Getty Images


Help Bruising and Small Cuts

Tannins and caffeine in tea bags may help shrink blood vessels. Bruises are caused by ruptures in capillaries, the smallest blood vessels in the body. Placing a wet tea bag on a bruise may shrink these blood vessels under the skin and help bruised skin heal faster. The same technique can be used on minor cuts to help blood clot more quickly, to stop bleeding.

Heal minor cuts DragonImages / Getty Images


Maintain Mouth Health

Dentists recommend applying a tea bag to gums after tooth extractions. The tannins encourage blood to clot and blood vessels to constrict. The bag also acts as a dressing, absorbing blood and protecting the wound. Finally, tea bags are mildly antiseptic, so they can help stop infections. To use, soak a black tea bag in boiling water, allow it to cool and apply it directly the affected area.

Recommended by dentists milanvirijevic / Getty Images


Ease Eye Conditions

The anti-inflammatory properties in tea make tea bags a popular remedy for bags under the eyes. Just steep two bags, squeeze out the excess liquid and wait for the bags to cool (or place them in the fridge for a while for a soothing cold compress). Apply the bags to closed eyes and leave them on for 15 to 30 minutes. Tea bags are also recommended for conjunctivitis and styes. Use them in the same way to help ease the pain of these conditions.

Help reduce puffiness omgimages / Getty Images


Treat Rashes and Bites

The astringent properties of tea can help ease the itch of minor rashes and insect bites. Squeeze the excess liquid from a used tea bag and put in the fridge to cool. Once the tea bag is cold, hold it directly on the bite until the sting fades. If using on a rash, just rub it across itchy skin. Studies show that drinking oolong or green tea can help dry skin conditions including eczema.

Ease itchy skin HeikeKampe / Getty Images


Brighten Hair

Regular tea rinses can help promote hair growth, soothe dandruff, balance oil levels, and prevent split ends. The antioxidants and vitamins in tea can also hydrate hair and keep it shiny. To experience these benefits, rinse your hair with tea after a regular shampoo. Many types of tea have benefits for the hair, including black, rooibos, and various herbal teas. White tea is especially rich in the antioxidants that can help protect hair from sun damage.

Add shine to hair PeopleImages / Getty Images


Soothe Feet

Add steeped tea bags to a bucket or basin to make a soothing foot bath. The antioxidants help soften and nourish the skin and reduce foot odor. As a bonus, a foot soak can help ease the pain associated with standing all day. Place tea bags that have been steeped and the dried in smelly shoes, where they can absorb and reduce odors, too.

Soften skin Casarsa / Getty Images


Clean Your Floors

Tea can serve as a chemical-free carpet deodorizer. Dry a steeped tea bag and tear it open to access the leaves. Mix them with a handful of baking soda and sprinkle the mixture onto smelly parts of the carpet. Leave for around 20 minutes, then vacuum thoroughly. Black tea can also polish wooden floors and furniture. Soak a soft cloth in a cool tea solution, wring out the excess water, and wipe the cloth over the wood.

Freshen carpets urbazon / Getty Images


Clean Pots and Windows

Tannins in tea can help loosen grease baked onto pans. Place tea bags in the bottom of a dirty pan, add boiling water, and let it soak overnight. The next morning, the mess should wash off easily. Wiping cast iron cookware with a damp, steeped black tea bag can also keep rust at bay. A strong black tea solution can even be used on windows and mirrors for a streak-free finish. Just wipe a cool, strong black tea solution over the glass and buff afterward with a dry cloth.

Make cleaning dishes easy s-cphoto / Getty Images


In the Garden

Tea bags have a lot of nitrogen, which makes them a great fertilizer. Add steeped tea bags to a compost pile or tear them open and add the leaves directly to soil to keep plants healthy. Roses are especially happy to have tea leaves as part of their food. A weak tea made from old tea bags can also be sprayed on plants to help repel pests. Households troubled by rodents can place peppermint tea bags to cupboards to help keep mice away.

Roses love tea leaves RapidEye / Getty Images


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