Can tea bags go bad? (+5 Ways to use expired tea bags)

In this article, we will answer the question “Can tea bags go bad?”, and how to store them safely to prevent spoilage along with the ways to use expired tea bags.

Can tea bags go bad? 

Yes, tea bags can go bad but it is rare unless stored improperly. The shelf-life of tea depends on the type of tea. Green tea, due to higher moisture content, is highly prone to spoilage but black tea is less susceptible because of the low moisture levels. While the white tea tastes better with passing time.

How to store tea bags safely?

Always store your tea bags in a cool place and do not let the moisture anywhere near them. A humidity level that is greater than 65% and 50% will lead to fungal growth and staling of tea bags, respectively.

If you are storing your tea bags in the pantry, keep away from the spice containers to prevent the tea bags from absorbing other flavors while losing its own flavor in the process.

Store the tea bags in an airtight container.

Is freezing tea bags a good choice?

Freezing or refrigerating tea bags is not recommended due to the high humidity levels. Moisture is going to degrade the quality of your tea bags and make them dry out quickly lose their flavor and aroma.

If necessary, always use in freezer bags and squeeze out all air from the bag.

What happens if I drink expired tea bags?

No, drinking expired tea will not make you sick unless it was spoiled. Under proper storage conditions, expired tea will just lose its flavor and aroma and you might want to throw it out for quality reasons.

But to be on the safe side, brew your expired tea with water that is at least 175°C hot. Doing this will kill any potential bacteria in the teabag. If you are not going to consume immediately after brewing, store it in the refrigerator, no more than 8 hours.

How to tell if the tea goes bad?

Let your senses guide you in this case.

  1. You can tell by the appearance if there are any clear signs of mold growth or the tea looks clumpy.
  2. Sniff it. If the tea has a stale and sour smell, discard the tea.
  3. Look for the signs of any insect. If you see something moving in the tea bag or if the tea bag has tiny holes in it, throw it out,

How long are tea bags good after the ‘Best by’ date?

The expiration date is not to be confused with the ‘Use by’ or ‘Best by’ dates. Best by date only indicates that the tea bags will brew to their full potential till the best by date. After that date, the quality degradation will be a lot quicker. Black tea bags will be good for 2-3 years past their expiration date if you store them properly. Green and herbal tea bags will be good to use for a year or two after the ‘Best by’ date.

How to use expired tea bags?

There are plenty of ways to use expired tea bags if you don’t want to brew tea from them for quality purposes.

Use tea bags as a deodorizer 

Teabags work as an excellent deodorizer. You can use dried teabags mixed with baking soda to get rid of stinky carpets. Just spread it out on the carpet and vacuum clean it. If you cut garlic or onion and want to get rid of the stench, dip your hands in brewed tea and wash your hands with soap. Use it in your restroom to get rid of an unpleasant smell.

Make tea a part of the skincare regime

Make tea a part of your skincare regime. Brew the tea bags and add them to liquify the dry masks or fill in a spray bottle and use it as a face mist. The powerful antioxidants in tea help rejuvenate your skin and prevent wrinkling.

Use tea as a cleaner

Use brewed tea as a cleaner. Add some detergent and hot water and use it to clean the greasy areas in your kitchen.

Enjoy a relaxing bath

Toss the tea bags in your bathtub. It is even better If the tea bags were flavored like jasmine or chamomile. The subtle aroma will help your muscles calm down and the powerful anti-oxidants will hydrate your skin.

Use it as a compost

Bury your tea bags in the soil for plants that require an acidic environment to flourish. Tea provides tannic acid and a lot of nutrients to make the soil fertile.


In this article, we answered the question “Can tea bags go bad?”, and how to store them safely to prevent spoilage along with the ways to use expired tea bags.


Sana Ameer

Hello, I'm Sana Ameer. I'm a student of Food Science and Technology at UVAS. I like to bake and I aspire to become a Food blogger.

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