Can tea bags go bad

In this brief guide, we will address the query, “can tea bags go bad?” We will also discuss what is the shelf life of this product and how you need to store it.

Can tea bags go bad?

Yes, tea bags can go bad. Although tea bags exhibit a large shelf life, they will go bad eventually, it will take about 6 to 12 months for them to lose their quality. However, they will not exhibit typical signs of spoilage if kept away from humidity.

The best-by date label on the package will inform you about when the quality will start to decay, it should not be mistaken with an expiration date. 

How long do tea bags last?

Tea bags are considered a non-perishable product, but if proper storage is not attended to, the common signs of spoilage will appear. Tea bags can be kept at room temperature without any trouble, if stored correctly, they can maintain their quality for up to 24 months.

Keep in mind that this period can be different for each type of tea. If we are talking about the ones made with dehydrated leaves, they will last longer than teas that have ingredients like herbs and fruits. When more ingredients are added, it is more likely that contamination occurs.

The thing about teas of herbs is that they are submitted to a process of sun-drying, this method is not appropriate to kill most of the agents responsible for spoilage. So, it is natural that herbal teas spoil quicker.  

How to store tea bags?

Proper storage is needed to enlarge the shelf life of tea bags. The importance of taking care of the place where you store your tea bags is essential to avoid them becoming moldy. The guidelines you need to attend to store this product correctly are

  • Use an airtight container to store them. When doing so, the tea bags will be protected from diverse agents that can accelerate spoilage, like humidity, heat, or oxygen. Helping them to keep their freshness and quality.
  • Choose a space that is cool, dark, and dry. Keeping tea bags away from direct sunlight, humidity, and heat will help you to maintain tea bags in perfect condition.
  • Use the freezer to save your tea bags. This way, the degradation process can be stopped without affecting their quality and flavor. However, take this as the last choice, it has been proven that condensation can occur and mess up the quality of your tea.

As you can tell, it is not hard to store your tea bags properly, and this can help you to keep their quality for a long time.

Can tea bags be frozen?

Yes, tea bags can be frozen. Keeping your tea in the freezer will provide a fresh sensation and enlarge its shelf life. Nevertheless, freezing might not be the best choice, because condensation can occur which will affect the overall quality of the tea bags.

Certain recommendations can help you to protect tea bags from freezing, make sure you attend to all of them.

  • First, store them in a watertight container. This container will help you to reduce the effects of condensation. Make sure you do not pack them tightly, a little air should remain in the container.
  • Avoid heat and direct light. Both of these elements can cause severe damage to the quality of your tea bags. 
  • Avoid freezing big batches of tea bags. It is better to portion your tea bags in different containers to avoid them losing their freshness.
  • Teabags cannot be re-frozen. If this is not attended to, more moisture will be absorbed which will affect the quality of the tea bags.  
  • Use the teabags within 12 months. Past this time, the quality will be severely damaged.

What signs indicate when tea bags have gone bad?

Different signs can help you determine when your tea bags have gone bad, such as

  • Off smell. If you detect a pungent smell coming from the bags, you need to throw them away ASAP. 
  • Mold growth. Mold growing on the bags is a clear sign that they should not be used anymore. Mold can cause severe damage to your overall health, if you want to read more about it, click here.
  • Odd flavor. If none of the past signs were detected, the flavor of the tea will help you notice when tea bags are no longer suitable for your consumption.

Can you use tea bags past their best-by date?

As discussed before, the best-by date does not indicate when tea bags should not be consumed but when the quality of the product is at its peak. So, if you do not spot any of the above listed signs, you can consume your tea bags without any trouble.

Other FAQs about Tea that you may be interested in.

How much tea is in one tea bag?

How much caffeine in chamomile tea?

How many types of tea are there?

How long to leave the tea bag in water?


In this brief guide, we have addressed the query, “can tea bags go bad?” We have also discussed other queries related to the subject at hand. 

Hope you found this blog useful. If you have any questions, please let us know.