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Do Tea Bags Go Bad

do tea bags go bad

I like to have tea daily and my pantry has a lot of old tea bags that sometimes make me wonder if I should use them or not. Being skeptical about this is not wrong and I think we should have complete assurance before using any edible things. 

On finding the answers, technically speaking, No, tea bags don’t go bad if they are stored properly, and kept away from water and moisture. If your tea bag has crossed its expiration date then it doesn’t necessarily mean that it has gone bad because the manufacturers need to put an expiration date on their products to be sold in shops. But yes, remember that it should be kept properly and it doesn’t smell bad. In this article, I am sharing expiration details along with some other important information about tea bags, so be there till the end. 

5 Warning Signs That Tea Bags Go Bad

So, as I mentioned earlier, tea bags go bad if they are not kept properly. Now if they do then what are the warning signs that they have gone bad? Well, these are some common warning signs that you should consider to clear your confusion.  

1. No scent or flavour

It is the most common way to detect if the tea bags are still suitable for use or not. If your tea bag doesn’t have a refreshing aroma like a normal tea bag then most probably it has gone bad. In that case, you won’t get tea, it will make flavourless brown water without any aroma. It has become old enough to throw it away. 

2. Presence of mold

Now it is a bit silly to mention this obvious point, but it is very important to know that once you see mold in your tea bag, you remove the whole rather than remove the mold part and use the leftover. Even if there is a tiny spot, you should throw it out and don’t use it as it can make you sick with severe problems. 

3. The pungent odor from the bag

When the tea bag has gone bad its smell changes, when they are in its edible stage, they smell refreshing, and gradually over time, due to oxidation and other chemical reactions, it becomes pungent. 

4. Change in texture

When tea bags are fresh they have a shiny outer appearance and they become dull when they have gone bad. 

5. Tea leaves inside it become stiff

If tea leaves inside the tea bags are stiff then it is indicating that it has gone bad. It usually depends on the quality and the material used in the tea bag. (reference 1)

How To Store Tea Bags

Storing tea grounds properly is necessary to prevent them from spoilage and here are some common and effective ways to do so:- 

1. Prevent them from water contact 

It is very important to store tea grounds properly to prevent them from spoiling and the most effective way is to prevent water and moisture from going inside them. If the water got inside the container then it must be having mold in it and it is advisable to throw it out immediately as it may cause food poisoning and other harmful health issues. 

2. Use an airtight container or vacuum seal

Storing tea grounds in an airtight container or vacuum seal is a good idea as it prevents its contact with the outer surrounding and oxidation will not occur soon, so the tea grounds remain the same for a longer period. 

3. Avoid refrigerator

The refrigerator is one of the dampest places that has a lot of moisture and due to its humidity, your tea grounds moisture may evaporate and you will have stale tea. 

4. Use them within their shelf life 

You should use them within their shelf life to have the best experience as no matter how tight the seal is, eventually tea grounds go bad if you don’t use them.

What Are Our Shelf Life Tea Grounds

Tea grounds are basically good to use for two years and thereafter their quality starts deteriorating as tea leaves are obtained from the camellia sinensis plant, they will start losing their flavor over time, and eventually, they will reach the stage where they won’t be suitable for use. Tea rarely spoils, over time it loses its flavor and at last it reaches the stage where it loses all its flavor and you will just get brown water after adding tea leaves to boiling water. (Reference 2)

Can Using Expired Tea Grounds Make You sick?

Expired tea grounds can make you sick when there is a presence of bacteria or fungus. If you are using tea grounds that were not sealed in an airtight jar then yes it can make you sick, sometimes it may cause diseases that lead to water loss, and eventually, you can be hospitalised. 

But if you are using tea leaves that are out of their printed date then you need not worry about it as long as it was stored properly in dry conditions. It won’t make you sick or cause any other serious harm.


Q1. Can you freeze tea bags to keep them fresh?
Ans. Yes, you can freeze tea bags to keep them fresh but be sure that you have sealed the tea in a watertight container to avoid its contact with moisture. 

Q2. What kind of tea bags keeps mice away?
Ans. Tea bags that have peppermint inside them keep mice away. 


Our mission is to provide accurate and researched insights to our readers. Thus, we wish to share the references of the studies conducted on the subject matter for detailed read for our readers to refer:

  1. Uva Wellassa University Quality of material used in tea bags  
  2. Hindawi, Journal of Chemistry Evaluating Freshness Loss of Green Tea

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