10 Creative Uses for Tea Towels Around Your Home

Put your tea towels to work with these clever ideas, from wrapping gifts to stabilizing a cutting board.

<p>Courtesy of Garmentory </p>

Courtesy of Garmentory

If you're like us, you likely have an abundance of kitchen linens—dish towels at the ready to dry hands, aprons to keep your clothes clean while cooking, oven mitts to keep your hands safe, and tea towels to wipe down plates, counters, and everything in between. The wonderful thing about tea towels, in particular, is that they come in myriad patterns, colors, and motifs, adding a touch of whimsy to our kitchens. If you have too many tea towels to count, just know that you can use them for all sorts of things besides drying household items. Ahead, we rounded up some of the most common, expert-approved uses for tea towels, from providing stability under your cutting boards to lining your bread baskets.

Meet Our Expert

  • Jade Piper, operations manager, BetterCleans, a cleaning company based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

  • Bree Steele, interior designer and trade accounts manager, RJ Living, a housewares and furniture store with design services in Melbourne, Australia

  • Lauren Saltman, professional organizer and owner at Living. Simplified. LLC, a home-organizing service based in New England

Related: The Best Dish Towels to Use in the Kitchen

Gift Wrap

<p>byanikona / 500px / Getty Images</p>

byanikona / 500px / Getty Images

Borrow from the popular Japanese practice of furoshiki (wrapping gifts in traditional cloths) and use pretty tea towels to present your hostess, holiday, or birthday gifts. "It's like presenting the host with two gifts in one," says Lauren Saltman, professional organizer and owner of Living. Simplified. LLC. "You can wrap a bottle of wine, beautiful candles, a lovely book, or other gift you are presenting."

Related: 6 Sustainable-Yet-Beautiful Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping Ideas

Glass Protector

Tea towels are just light and soft enough to act as protection when moving drinking glasses, jars, or bottles. "If you’re planning on traveling or shipping some delicate jars or bottles, wrapping them up with soft and absorbent towels can really help cushion and protect your fragile items during transit," says Jade Piper, operations manager at BetterCleans. "They’ll keep everything secure and in one piece. Even works with homemade preserves or fancy wine bottles that you don’t want to get damaged."

Herb Drying

<p>Getty Images</p>

Getty Images

While harvesting and storing herbs from your garden, use tea towels to help absorb moisture so they don't spoil—you can use this as part of your routine to dry out your herbs for future use. "To preserve their flavor and fragrance, lay them on a clean tea towel and let them dry in a well-ventilated area," says Piper. "The tea towel helps soak up any excess moisture. After a while, you can remove the dried herbs and store them for future use in your favorite dishes."

Related: How to Dry Fresh Herbs to Use in Your Cooking All Year Long

Bread Basket Liner

<p>Lennart Weibull</p>

Lennart Weibull

Elevate your bread basket—instead of using paper napkins to line the basket, pop a tea towel in there instead. "Tea towels look lovely when you use them as liners for your bread basket," says Bree Steele, interior designer and trade accounts manager at RJ Living. "If you choose to do this, you’re giving a layer of insulation to keep the bread warm, but you’re also adding an elevated touch to the table."

Jar Opener

Ever need help opening a really stubborn jar? A tea towel can easily help with that, providing just the right amount of grip needed to get it open. "The next time you find yourself struggling with a stubborn jar lid, grab a tea towel and fold it a few times to create a thick, cushioned grip," says Piper. "Then, wrap the towel around the lid and twist. The extra friction and padding should make it much easier to open the jar without putting too much strain on your hands."

Draft Stopper

Have you noticed a pesky draft coming from a window or door? Use a tea towel to stop it quickly. Roll it up tightly and place it along the bottom of the drafty door or window, suggests Piper.

Cutting Board Stabilizer

<p>WestEnd61 / Getty Images</p>

WestEnd61 / Getty Images

Cutting boards slipping underneath you can be a true safety hazard, but using a tea towel underneath can provide just the right amount of grip to keep it from sliding. "When chopping on your cutting board, lay a slightly damp tea towel underneath to prevent the cutting board from moving," says Saltman.

Salad Strainer Substitute

If you don't have a salad spinner or strainer, you can use a tea towel to dry your washed lettuce. "You can do this by getting a clean tea towel, putting your salads inside and wrapping them up, and spinning the tea towel around (do this outside!)," says Steele. "The force will let all of the liquid out, leaving you with dry veggies."

Upcycle for Craft Projects

<p>Svetlana Vysokos / Getty Images</p>

Svetlana Vysokos / Getty Images

Once your tea towels have been thoroughly worn out, resist the urge to toss them—you can upcycle them into your craft projects instead. "If you collect your old tea towels, when you have enough one day, you can put them aside to sew together a series of new patchwork tea towels or even bags," says Steele. "Don’t be afraid to get creative with it!"

Related: 17 Eco-Friendly Craft Projects Using Stuff You’d Otherwise Toss

Curtain Tieback

Get creative with your home decor, and utilize pretty, matching tea towels as curtain tiebacks. "Fold it in half lengthwise, wrap it around the curtain panel, and tie in a knot or bow," says Piper.

Read the original article on Martha Stewart.