I learnt a trick from the mil on how to deodorize the oven in the cheapest, fastest and efficient way.
She used to put a halved used (squeezed) lemon into the oven and turn on oven at low heat for about 15 minutes to deodorize the oven after baking fish. Now she has switched from lemon to used tea leaves. And the aroma of the tea leaves are much stronger than lemon.
1. After brewing Chinese tea, keep the used tea leaves on a heat-proof plate.
2. After baking fish or any food with a strong and pungent smell, deodorize the oven with the used tea leaves.
3. While the oven is still hot, place the tea leaves on the heat-proof plate into the oven. Lower temperature to about 20C and warm the tea leaves for about 15 minutes.
4. Turn off the heat. Let the tea leaves remain in the oven for a few days.
When the oven door is opened, you’ll get a very fresh tea aroma from the oven!
So don’t junk away your tea leaves after brewing them. Besides de-stinking your oven, used tea leaves can also be used for:
1. Use as Incense: Use a Japanese tea leaf burner or on an old skillet with a low heat setting to roast the tea leaves and get them smoking slightly. The smoke has a pleasant aroma and is effective in absorbing bad odors in the house.
2. Soothe sunburned skin: Wrap used, damp tea leaves in a cloth and press or gently rub on sunburned skin. The tannic acid in tea has a cooling effect and helps repair the skin.
3. Clean windows and mirrors: Wrap used, damp tea leaves in a cloth and wipe glass surfaces clean; use this instead of chemical glass cleaner. Buff the glass after the treatment with a soft cloth to remove the thin film of tea.
4. Prevent rust in cast-iron kitchenware: Rub your cast-iron pans, pots or teapots with used tea leaves. The antioxidants in tea react with iron and form a protective film that prevents the formation of rust.
5. Keep your cupboards dry: Tea leaves are very effective in absorbing excess moisture. If you place dried used tea leaves in an open bowl and keep it in a damp cupboard, the leaves help to reduce the dampness. Make sure to replace/dry the leaves from time to time.
6. Deodorize your refrigerator: Tea leaves are extremely efficient in absorbing odors Put used tea leaves in a bag and place it in your refrigerator to get rid of bad odors.
7. Improve your compost: Used tea leaves are a great addition to any compost. They create a very rich soil and help to improve the smell of partially working compost piles.
8. Deodorize your cutting boards and kitchen utensils: Rub used tea leaves on cutting boards and knives after using them for onions or other strongly smelling foods. The tea leaves deodorize them and help to sterilize them through the antibacterial properties of camellia sinensis.
9. Enjoy a relaxing tea bath: stuff a small gauze bag with used tea leaves and put into the bathtub. The tea helps to sterilize your skin and acts as a tonic. You could also create an exotic bubble bath by adding some nice soap and baking soda to your bath and let the leaves float freely (it actually looks kinda like in a fancy commercial if you have tons of used leaves from our Rose Oolong left over…).
10. Use as fertilizer: Tea leaves are full of minerals and brewing extracts only a small percentage of these rich resources. Place used tea leaves around acid-loving plants (tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, etc. love it, so do rhododendrons, azaleas and many more) or dig into the soil around the roots.
11. Make a tea pillow: Stuff used tea leaves into a pillowcase. Granted, you’ll have to save the leaves of your tea for a little while until you have enough to fill a pillowcase, but the Chinese belief that tea-stuffed pillows soothe headaches, relieve insomnia and reduce blood pressure. The aroma of the tea leaves also acts as a natural sleep enhancer.
My mil has a pillow stuffed with tea leaves that she collected over the years!
12. Wipe your baby’s bottom: Wrap used, damp tea leaves in a soft cloth and soak in tea. The leaves are antibacterial and help to sterilize your baby’s bottom eliminating odours at the same time.
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