Adapted from Readers’ Digest; Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things and FoxNews.com
Consider it a late New Year’s Resolution: save money on household items by learning how tea can help! Betcha didn’t think of all of these nifty ways to use tea around the house.
- Tenderize tough meat: Even the toughest cuts of meat will melt in your mouth after you marinate them in regular black tea. Here’s how: Place 4 tablespoons black tea leaves in a pot of warm (not boiling) water and steep for 5 minutes. Strain to remove the leaves and stir in 1/2 cup brown sugar until it dissolves. Set aside. Season up to 3 pounds (1.5 kilograms) of meat with salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder, and place it in a Dutch oven. Pour the liquid over the seasoned meat and cook in a preheated 325°F (165°C) oven until the meat is fork tender, about 90 minutes.
- Clean wood furniture and floors: Freshly brewed tea is great for cleaning wood furniture and floors. Just boil a couple of tea bags in a quart (liter) of water and let it cool. Dip a soft cloth in the tea, wring out the excess, and use it to wipe away dirt and grime. Buff dry with a clean, soft cloth.
- Clean carpets and rugs: Clean up musty, dirty carpets by sprinkling dry, used green tea leaves on the carpet. Let them work their magic for about 10 minutes, then vacuum them up. Delicate Persian and Oriental rugs can also benefit from a sprinkling of tea leaves. In this case, sprinkle nearly dry, used whole tea leaves on the rugs, and gently sweep them away.
- Tackle the toilet: Rumor has it that used tea bags can magically remove stubborn stains in the bottom of the toilet bowl. Just leave them in the toilet for several hours, then brush the bowl and flush the toilet.
- Deodorize anything: Get rid of fishy smells by rinsing your hands with tea after eating or preparing fish (or other stinky foods) to eliminate odors. De-stink fridges—instead of baking soda (or maybe in addition), try used tea bags in the fridge to absorb odors. And cure cat litter odor—used tea leaves can help deodorize litter boxes when mixed into the litter. Dry, green tealeaves work best.
- Create “antique” fashions: Soak white lace or garments in a tea bath to create an antique beige, ecru or ivory look. Use 3 tea bags for every 2 cups of boiling water and steep for 20 minutes. Let it cool for a few minutes before soaking the material for 10 minutes or more. The longer it soaks, the darker the shade.
- Shine your mirrors: To make mirrors sparkle and shine, brew a pot of strong tea, let it cool, and then use it to clean the mirrors. Dampen a soft cloth in the tea and wipe it all over the surface of the mirrors. Then buff with a soft, dry cloth for a sparkly, streak-free shine.
- Control dust from fireplace ash: Keep dust from rising from the ashes when you clean out your fireplace. Before you begin cleaning, sprinkle wet tea leaves over the area. The tea will keep the ashes from spreading all over as you lift them out.
- Perfume a sachet: If you like to create sachets to keep drawers smelling fresh, try perfuming them with the fragrant aroma of your favorite herbal tea. Open used herbal tea bags and spread the wet tea on old newspaper to dry. Then use the dry tea as stuffing for the sachet.
- Tend to plants: Acid-loving plants like ferns, citrus trees and gardenias thrive when you add a little tea-spiked water to their soil once in a while. You can also use tea leaves to increase the nitrogen levels in the soil, creating a nice fertilizer.