Do tea bags get old?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question “Do tea bags get old?”, discuss can you drink tea from the old teabag, and what else you can do with the old teabags.

Do tea bags get old?

Yes, tea bags get old. As tea bags get older, they start to lose their flavor. Generally speaking, tea bags will retain top quality for 1-2 years if stored properly in a cool, dry place. The “best before” date is for optimal quality only. We can simply say that the more fermented and intact tea leaves, the longer they will resist getting old.

How do you know when teabags get old?

Teabags do not get old too early, but if you have not been using them for long, or if you didn’t see the expiration date before buying them, they can get old. Following are the things that can help you decide either they got old or not:

  • Expiration date

If you have not opened the box of teabags for a long time, carefully inspect that it has not passed the expiration date because many teas lose their specific aroma and taste when the best-by date is long gone.

  • The tea bag is broken

Make sure that the teabag is not broken or compromised in any way. If there is any hole in the teabag, discard the teabag immediately.

  • The teabag is having any sort of bugs

Carefully inspect if there is any bug present either inside or outside the teabag. Certain bugs can go inside the teabag packing without even creating a hoke in the packing. In any case, discard the tea bag along with any other teabags that were stored in the same box.

  • The original smell of tea is gone

The teabag should smell like the original tea bag that you purchased. Any deviation from the original smell can make you think twice before using that teabag. You should prefer to discard such tea bags as they are old and that is why they are giving a tangy or moldy smell.

  • The taste of tea

If the brewed tea from the teabag does not give you the original taste, then there is no point in brewing an unpalatable cup of tea. Because this truly indicates the old tea, and that is why its taste is not hitting the quite spot.

  • Any mold on the teabag

Carefully inspect if there is any mold present inside or on the teabags. For this, hold the teabag up to a light or a bright window, and see for the presence of a mold or mildew.

Other FAQs about Tea which you may be interested in.

How to boil water for tea without a kettle

Can tea cause gas?

How to boil water for tea

Can you make tea from the old teabag?

As discussed earlier, teabags don’t expire even after their best-by dates. The only purpose of the expiration date is to show the efficacy and safe use of teabags. So when the question arises, can you make tea from the old teabags? The answer is simply Yes. You will not get sick after consuming old tea, but if you are very conscious regarding your health, you can follow these tips to overcome the fear of getting sick:

  • To kill any potential bacteria, brew your tea at 175 Fahrenheit for at least 5 minutes.
  • Try to avoid storing brewed tea beyond 8 hours.
  • Place the brewed tea in the refrigerator unless it is consumed immediately.
  • Avoid sun-brewing or simply hot tap water to make tea because it will not kill the potential bacteria if they are present.

What else can you do with the old teabags?

If your tea bags are old or you have used them to brew tea, instead of just throwing them out, you can reuse them in several ways:

  • Take out the dried leaves from the tea bags and stir them with baking soda. Sprinkle the whole mixture on the carpet and let it sit over there for 20 minutes then vacuum clean the carpet. This will help you to refresh your carpets and you will easily get rid of any smell.
  • If there is some greasy, stuck on mass in the bottom of your pan, fill the pan with hot water and place a tea bag in it overnight. The tennis in the tea will help loosen the mess overnight and later on, you can easily scrub the pan.
  • You can also use old tea bags to polish wood surfaces. Just prepare a weak tea and apply it to the wood surface with a soft rag or microfiber to make your furniture shine.
  • Old tea bags can help you as a fire starter for your campfires. Mix the dried tea bag in melted wax and arrange it over parchment paper. When the wax dries, they are ready to use to burn brightly and light quickly.
  • Teabags can also provide you soothing relief from a bug bite or rash. Just apply a damp and cooled tea bag to the affected part. And this will help you in reducing inflammation and taking the edge off the itch. 


In this brief guide, we answered the question “Do tea bags get old?”, discussed can you drink tea from the old tea bag, and what else you can do with the old teabags.