Friday, February 24, 2012


Apart from being an excellent addition to the compost heap, used tea leaves are pretty well useless (unless you're into swindling folks out of their money by reading their "futures" from them!).

Lovely China Rose Conguo tea

I have a very large collection of loose teas of all varieties - black teas, green teas, herbal teas and fake teas (yerba mate, rooibos, etc.). Some of them are very pretty, with brightly coloured flower petals and bits of dried fruit and rinds. Some of them taste terrible, too! But they sure look pretty in a pot-pourri jar.

Some of these are better seen than tasted!

I wondered - can one reuse used tea leaves in a practical way (apart from composting)?

Here's a sample of some of the prettier pre-boiling water teas I have. Notice the Earl Grey Special before....

Click for full-size image (applies to all photos on my blog)

...and after. Hmm. Less pretty, and a little faded. But perhaps it's still useful?

Earl Grey Special tea leaves - after use.

Regular readers of Green, Broke & Living in Kits will recall a previous post on homemade air fresheners. I'm not one for chemical-based plug-in stinky things from Glade or Johnson & Johnson (in my unprofessional opinion, you shouldn't expose your lungs to such volatile chemicals simply to cover up an unpleasant stink from elsewhere), and I'm always happy to try natural alternatives to freshen up our stuffy apartment. Recommended first steps: clean, and then open up all the windows. It's amazing how much of an difference fresh air and clean floors makes.

Pretty, but practically unscented. Until...

I found an old packet of pot-pourri sulking in the back of my sock and underwear drawer. It's quite lovely to look at, but a little flat in terms of fragrance.

This is at least 10 years old. Smells exactly as it always did!

I also found Fuzzy Peach scented oil stuffed away in some recess of my closet - my absolute favourite "Body Shop" scent (followed closely by Satsuma). A few drops here, a shake or two there, and my pretty-to-look-at pot-pourri is useful again.

David's Tea - Buttered Rum (mmmm!)

So here's what I'm thinking . . . a bowl full of used tea leaves (dried again), topped with a sprinkling of fresh tea leaves with the brightly coloured flower petals, and a few drops of naturally (or artificially) scented oil (or even those little trial-sized vials of perfume that keep turning up at the back of the drawer!) could in theory replace the traditional dried foliage of commercial pot-pourri.

David's Tea - Happy Kombucha (fruity & delicious!)

What do you think? Worth a try? What bathroom couldn't use a small bowl of nicely smelling stuff? With a few drops of all-natural essential oil, your WC might be the best smelling loo in the whole of your building . . . for practically free, and you don't need to worry about all those artificial VOC's screwing up your endocrine system either!

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