Before you toss out that used tea bag and get back to your cup of Earl Grey and a book, how about placing it in the sink with that waiting pile of dirty pans? Tea bags are great for cleaning, and if your kitchen sink is full of dirty dishes that you know are going to require more than a few squirts of dish soap, tea could be the trick.
According to Home Clean Expert, tea makes a great cleaning agent because of its high level of astringency that helps it cut through grease. That's thanks to its tannins, or naturally occurring compounds found in leaves, and are what contribute to the astringency of tea if the leaves are steeped for too long (via Wine Enthusiast). Back to those dirty dishes though…
DIY expert Bob Vila recommends soaking your dishes in hot water overnight with used tea bags to make that greasy gunk easier to remove. If you only have one or two troublesome dishes a couple tea bags will do, but if it's a full sink load you may need up to a dozen used tea bags.
Clean your windows and wood floors while you're at it
If you have some extra used tea bags sitting around and the dishes are done, then you might as well make good use of them, right? Those magical tannins in tea can do for your dirty windows what they did for those dirty dishes. Just rub a damp tea bag over any window, mirror, or pair of eyeglasses that are in need of cleaning, and wipe clean with a cloth or paper towel.
Black tea can also be a great way to clean your wooden floors, according to The Spruce. Let's face it, getting down on your hands and knees and rubbing a tiny tea bag into each floorboard would suck, so instead, boil a pot of water and add in five or six tea bags. Wait about 10 minutes, add the brew to your mop bucket, and get to mopping. The tea/mop water mixture will cut through any dirt buildup on your floors. Bob Vila recommends that the mop be damp rather than soaking wet and that the floors be buffed with a cloth afterwards for maximum shine.
Who knew a used tea bag could be so useful?