Tea. Its not just for drinking any more.
‘Tis the season to curl up with a nice cup of hot tea. You can drink it. Or soak your feet in it. Or use it to disinfect your sweaty yoga mat…
The brewed beverage is surprisingly versatile and has many different home uses, says tea expert Diana Rosen, author of “Meditations With Tea” (Citadel).
Rosen told AOL News that perhaps the weirdest use for tea is as a soothing foot soak.
She said tea — especially the type with a light scent to it — acts as a “natural deodorizer.” When used in a foot bath with warm water, in teabag or loose tea-leaf form, it can help curb stinky feet while also rejuvenating tired tootsies, especially after a long day of holiday shopping.
Instead of “tea for two,” it’s tea for toes — though Rosen noted that the tea from a foot soak obviously shouldn’t be sipped afterward.
Another alternative is using tea as a disinfectant.
“It can be used on a rag to clean the microwave, especially tea with a nice scent like vanilla, lemon or cinnamon,” Rosen said. “It helps get rid of odors in the kitchen stemming from the microwave and also works when disinfecting a cutting board that’s been used to chop onions or garlic. You could also just brew a pot of tea in the kitchen to get a pleasant aroma wafting through the air.”
Additionally, Rosen said tea can be used as a disinfectant to wipe down a sweaty yoga mat or hand weights after a workout.
However, because most teas tend to stain a bit, Rosen advised against using it to clean white countertops in the kitchen or bathroom. She said it’s best to stick to darker surfaces.
On the other hand, the staining power of tea — particularly black tea — could come in handy.
Rosen said tea can be used to dye fabrics, clothes, dolls and paper goods to make them look like antiques.
“Tea-staining is an old Hollywood trick. It really does make things look old,” she added.
By that logic, parents could use tea-staining as a way to save money on props and costumes for Christmas plays this year.
If your kids are playing a part in the manger re-enactment scene, Rosen said you could stain some old sheets with tea and make ancient-looking robes for the little actors. Then you’d just need to find some old, frayed rope to use as a belt and sandals to complete the biblical-era look.
Meanwhile, if you’re already being crafty and all, Rosen suggested the colorful tags found on most tea bags could also be used for art projects and holiday gift wrapping.
“You can make a collage out of them, add them to wrapping paper or use them as unique gift tags,” she said. “The teabags with funkier tags would be best for this.”
Now, if you’re feeling burned out from the hectic holiday season, teabags can be utilized as a cheap but revitalizing beauty tool.
Rosen suggested chilling a couple of inexpensive teabags in the refrigerator and using them to cover your eyelids for a quick and easy eye mask treatment.
“It’s great for perking up your eyes for holiday parties or after you’ve had too much to drink.”
Note to self: Throw some teabags in the fridge before New Year’s Eve.
If you’ve already experimented with tea in all of its quirky capacities, Rosen recommended adding tea to your list of cooking ingredients.