By Lowell & Kaye Christie, F47246
When we write a tips column, we like to test each idea before including it. This one was no exception. And although researching the topic was fun, the testing process was even better. In this column we’ll provide inventive ways to use tea. We did our testing with “lightly used” tea bags, and assumed that the quality of the tea wasn’t an issue. This was certainly proved by the successes we had.
1. Get too much sun?
Ouch! Some folks can be out in the sun all day and never get sunburned. At least we’ve heard about those types of people. However, most of us need a little first aid. If your sunburn is limited to your nose and cheeks, gently pat your overexposed skin with a used cool, wet tea bag. If your sunburn is more extensive, brew up a pot of strong tea. After it cools, dip a napkin or paper towel into the tea and drape it over the burn. We won’t claim that the tea treatment is based on science, but it does cool the sting.
2. Take (some) of the itch away
Yes, we agree that it’s best to avoid getting stung or bit by an insect, but should it happen, try this. You often can soothe the pain of a bee sting or the itch of a mosquito bite by covering it with a cold, wet tea bag. Rumor has it that the rash resulting from a close association with poison ivy or poison oak also will respond to tea, but make sure that it’s a strong brew. Dip a cotton ball into the tea, dab it on the rash, and let it air-dry. Repeat this treatment as needed until the itch eases.
3. Soothe a sore throat
Your mother was right “” sip tea laced with a spoonful of honey or lemon juice. Go sweet or sour to suit your mood and your taste. Both help ease the soreness.
4. Relieve a stomachache
This tip probably goes back to your grandmother’s day. When your belly is feeling bad, treat it with tea and toast. The tannin in the tea can help ease diarrhea, and its liquid replaces fluids lost by the body.
5. Soothe tired eyes
When your eyes sting after a long day of driving, give them a rest under tea bags soaked in cool water. Relax for at least 15 minutes, and yes, it’s permissible to go to sleep. We don’t recommend this with mint tea, because it stings the eyes. But regular tea is soothing, and the tannin helps tighten up bags under the eyes.
6. Cool the heat of a burn
Should you scald your hand or arm on the stove or grill, apply a wet tea bag directly to the burn (assuming that it’s a small one), and keep it there for 20 to 30 minutes. If you don’t have time to sit around, soak a napkin with the tea, place it on the burn, and wrap it loosely with either plastic wrap or a stretchable wrap.
7. Highlight brown hair
We read in several sources that rinsing your brown hair with strong tea is supposed to produce golden highlights. Even better is the way tea can color graying hair at the temples. All it took was a paper towel and leftover tea. It’s a perfect match; can you believe it? Even better, the gray doesn’t begin showing through for quite a while, at which time you can “dye” it brown again.
8. Soak your feet
RVing and hiking seem to go together, but sometimes you pay a price “” particularly when it’s hot. So boil several tea bags in a quart of water for 10 to 15 minutes. Dilute the tea with cool water until it reaches a comfortable temperature for your feet; peel off your shoes and socks; and soak your feet for a good half-hour before rinsing and drying them. The tea also acts as a foot deodorizer.
9. Energize your house plants
Even when we’re traveling, it’s nice to take along an indoor plant or two. And since we didn’t want to waste all the tea left over from our testing, we include this tip. Most house plants thrive when watered with tea, whether it’s the tannin in the tea or simply the loving attention given to the plant. Water your houseplants weekly with leftover cool, weak tea, and don’t forget to speak kindly to them.
10. Tea packets
Sounds fancy, but packets of black tea work well to keep the refrigerator smelling fresh, whether the coach is in motion or resting at home. We’ve also heard that scented tea packets lend a pleasant aroma to closets and clothes drawers. Similar packets also might be tossed under the driver’s seat when you’re moving. It has a calming effect on you, if not on the traffic.
11. Ready-made carpet fresheners
Loose tea tossed on the motorhome carpeting and left there for 15 minutes or so freshens the carpet even as it scents the air. Choose a tea “flavor” that suits you “” fruity, cinnamon, mint, or chamomile “” then vacuum it up when you’re happy with the scent it’s added to the motorhome.
12. Mirrors that sparkle and shine
Brew up a batch of strong tea, let it cool, and then use it to clean your mirrors. Buff the mirror dry with a soft cloth for a great streak-free shine.
13. It’s time to relax
As long as you have the tea in your RV, just think how relaxing a cup can be after a long day of traveling. So, make yourself comfortable, put your feet up, inhale the aroma, and enjoy some tea.