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Tea: Dessert Topping or Floor Cleaner? by Linda Villano

Saturday, April 26th 2014 @ 3:37 PM

How many SNL Fans remember the infomercial spoof where Dan Akroyd and Gilda Radner, playing husband & wife, argue over a new product called New Shimmer?  Here’s a re-cap. Settle in for a good laugh.    https://screen.yahoo.com/shimmer-floor-wax-000000185.html

Every time I learn about a new application for tea leaves I chuckle. This skit, without fail, pops into my mind. The greatest difference between New Shimmer & Tea, however, is that Camellia Sinensis truly is one of the most versatile natural products in existence.

We consume tea in beverage form & have been doing so for 5000 years.

We eat tea in culinary recipes both sweet & savory. In some cultures this has been done for thousands of years as well.

A quick Google search will list countless DIY sites, blogs and articles where tea features front & center.  Instructions can easily be found for making things like Face & Body Creams, Skin Toners, Masks, Bath Soaks, Hair Rinses, Dyes, Household Cleaners (including Floor Cleaners), and Deodorizers…all with Tea.

This phenomenon is not just for the DIY-ers, major manufacturers have hopped on board the Tea Train. Let’s take a stroll down the aisles of the Supermarket, Pharmacy and Department Store. Below are just a few of the incredible array of commercial products that incorporate tea as an ingredient.



Dental Floss:



Breath Mints:

Lip Balm:


Green Tea & Mint



Nail Care:

Face Cream:

 Tea leaves are formidable deodorizers so it should be no surprise to find Tea in Foot Powder:

Directions: Apply to feet, socks, shoes as needed.

Ingredients: Himalayan salt, Aluminum-free sodium bicarbonate , apple cider vinegar, ginger, green tea powder extract, clove oil, cinnamon oil, oregano oil

And in Deodorant & Antiperspirant:



Hand Sanitizer:

Baby Wipes:


Cosmetics & Full Body Care:

Origins has an entire line dedicated to White Tea. St. Ives makes an entire line of cleaners and creams with Green Tea as does J.R. Watkins:


Burt’s Bees, Bulgari, Biore and too many others to list are all riding the Tea Train.

Hair Products:

In the Pharmacy we’ll find Diet Aids:

And Supplements:


Air Fresheners:


Tea is even found in Household Cleaners!

Dish Soap:


Laundry Detergent:

OK, maybe this one is a reach.  Although Tea is not listed with the ingredients (see below), there is clear intent to convince the consumer that Tea is playing some leading role in the Laundry Room:

“Ingredients:  purified water, non-hazardous biodegradable surfactants, non-hazardous biodegradable salts, 100% pure essential oils. No artificial fragrances, additives or dyes.  Color and consistency may vary. Renewable natural ingredients.”

Floor Cleaner:

Although not specifically intended for floor cleansing alone, here is a good example of a product that might also be a great dessert topping.


J. R. Watkins Natural All Purpose Cleaner Aloe and Green Tea description reads: “Put this cleaner to the test on a variety of surfaces: Appliances, sinks, countertops, stainless steel fixtures, floors, walls, seal granite, tile. Refreshing aloe and green tea fragrance rid your home of dirt and grime without the harsh toxins found in all other purpose cleaners. J.R. Watkins Natural All Purpose Cleaner quickly removes grease and grime from most surfaces in your home. You’ll find hundreds of uses for this great streak-free, earth-friendly cleaner. Free of Harsh toxins.”

We mustn’t overlook our furry family members.  Tea has found its way into a surprising number of Pet Products….and not just food.

The following three items list Tea or Tea Extract as an ingredient:





Four out of five dentists extoll the benefits of flossing.  Our four-legged companions can benefit from the same activity & TropiClean Fresh Breath TriFloss Rope Ball with Liquid Floss (mouthwash?)  promises results with the inclusion of Green Tea Extract.


After all that toying around a bath will be needed but wipe those paws before heading back indoors!  Tea infused Wipes & Shampoo/Conditioner can be found at Petco stores.

We know about the odor-absorbing power of dry tea leaves & have certainly heard about people adding the leaves to Kitty Litter.  Well, folks who aren’t sipping much tea at home can benefit by using:

Now that most aspects of the homestead are covered, let’s step outside, shall we? For those not yet in the know, Tea is great for the garden. Don’t toss those spent leaves in the trash.  Add them to the compost bin; mix them into the soil where roses & tomatoes in particular are planted. Tea leaves can even be blended in with mulch.  While out there in the garden, don’t forget the sunscreen!


Tea can also be used as a natural dye for clothing & linens and dried, spent leaves can be used as pillow stuffing (as is done in Taiwan).  We certainly could go on & on & on. The applications for Tea are seemingly infinite.  So wouldn’t you agree? Tea is both a floor cleaner AND a dessert topping!

~ Linda Villano, SerendipiTea


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© All content and images are copyright of author.
LINDA VILLANO co-founded SerendipiTea.com in 1995 with Tomislav Podreka. With a passion for all things Tea, she oversees all aspects of the business; including client consulting, concept and design, staff training, sourcing and product development (recipe creations). Having grown up in a family of restaurateurs and chefs, she considers her role as a purveyor of premium teas & tisanes a natural continuation of her family’s culinary tradition.   Linda is a published illustrator and writer. Her illustrations appear in Tomislav Podreka’s book, SerendipiTea: a guide to the varieties, origins and rituals of tea, and she writes articles about tea for trade publications.

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