photo of tea bags on eyes
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De-Puff Your Eyes

If a bad night’s sleep shows on your face in the form of puffy eyes, a couple of caffeinated tea bags may help. Soak them in warm water just as if you were going to make a cup of tea, then put them in the refrigerator for a few minutes to chill them. One bag over each eye for 5 minutes can ease puffiness and make the blood vessels near your eyes smaller.

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photo of poison ivy
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Help With Skin Conditions

If you’ve stumbled upon some type of poison vine and are dealing with an itchy, painful rash, a bath steeped in black tea may help ease inflammation and soothe your skin. And research shows that wet dressings made with black tea can work well in treating other skin conditions that can cause an itchy rash, like facial dermatitis.

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photo of scraped knee
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Treat Minor Injuries

Black tea dressings can also help ease pain and help ease swelling caused by small scrapes or bruises. Open the tea bag, steam the tea and let it cool, then press it onto the injured area for a few minutes.

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photo of bug bite
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Take the Sting Out of Bug Bites

A tea bag can work on the pain and itchiness that come after a bug bites you. Just wet the bag, wring it out, and leave it on the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes.

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photo of tooth pain
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Ease Tooth Pain

If you have a toothache, a warm peppermint tea bag may offer some comfort if you hold it against your tooth and gum. And the acid in the tea can help with blood clotting. So biting on a tea bag may help control bleeding after you have a tooth pulled.

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photo of breastfeeding
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Ease Soreness From Breastfeeding

Tea bags can serve as a compress to help nursing mothers ease sore nipples. Research shows that wetting a tea bag with warm water, squeezing out the excess, then applying it to the area for 15 minutes, four times a day, may boost blood flow and help you heal quicker.

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photo of blackheads on nose
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Unclog Your Pores

A scrub made from green tea leaves can deep-clean oily skin and help get rid of blackheads. Tear open a tea bag and mix 1 teaspoon of leaves with a little water until you have a paste. Gently scrub the paste over the area for 2 to 3 minutes, then rinse with lukewarm water. Then dry your face and use moisturizer.

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photo of dyed fabric
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Dye Fabrics

For centuries, plants have been used to bring color to clothes and textiles, and tea leaves are no exception. Tea bags can be used as a natural dye to create new looks and designs, particularly for materials made of cotton. Take the tea out of the bag and heat it with just enough water to cover it. After about an hour, when the leaves look faded, strain out the leaves. What's left over is the dye.

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photo of man caring for plants
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Perk Up Plants

Plants need nitrogen for healthy growth -- it’s a basic building block of their DNA. And tea leaves have lots of it. Studies show that used tea leaves mixed in with soil can help shoots and roots grow faster and boost chemical production in plants.

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photo of compost bin
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Toss Into Compost

Because they’re good for plant growth, tea leaves make great contributions to the compost pile. And throwing in your bags can help prevent unnecessary waste. But many tea bags have a small amount of a plastic called polypropylene. That can’t be broken down. So look for ones that don’t have plastic in them.

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 09/28/2020 Reviewed by Neha Pathak, MD on September 28, 2020

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Healthy Women: “How to Get Rid of Puffy Eyes.”

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center: “Home Remedy to Rid Blackheads.”

Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing: “Does Application of Tea Bags To Sore Nipples While Breastfeeding Provide Effective Relief?”

Penn Medicine: “The Hidden Health Benefits of Tea.”

Mayo Clinic: “Dermatitis.”

Journal of Dermatological Treatment: “Black Tea Dressings -- A Rapidly Effective Treatment For Facial Dermatitis.”

Johns Hopkins: “Insect Stings.”

Garden Organic: “Are You Composting Your Tea Bags?”

National Center for Biotechnical Information: “Trascriptome and Metabolite Analysis Identifies Nitrogen Utilization Genes In Tea Plant (Camellia Sinensis).”

California Foundation for Agriculture: “Plant Nutrients -- Nitrogen.”

North Carolina State University: “Backyard Composting of Yard, Garden, and Food Discards.”

Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry: “Recycling of organic wastes as organic fertilizers for boosting the growth of Bengal Gram.”

Fairview Foundation: “After A Tooth Extraction: Caring For Your Mouth.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Toothache Management and Treatment.”

International Journal of Engineering, Innovation and Research: “Dyeing of Cotton With Tea as a Natural Dye.”

North Dakota State University: "Using Plants as Natural Dyes."

Reviewed by Neha Pathak, MD on September 28, 2020

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.