If you have spent any time at all in the all-natural living space, you’ve definitely heard about tea tree oil and its many uses.
Formally called Melaleuca alternifoliais, it is an essential oil that is extracted from a native Australian plant. Although it has been around for ages, in the last several years—with the increasing widespread popularity of essential oils in general— tea tree oil has really taken off in popularity for a wide range of household uses and topical remedies.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular uses of this incredibly versatile essential oil.
Household Uses for Tea Tree Oil
Because it is widely reported to have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, tea tree oil is frequently used as an effective all-purpose household cleanser. Simply pour 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil into a glass spray bottle, and fill the rest with water. It’s safe to use on most hard surfaces, but I’d suggest always testing a small area first if you’re not sure.
When you’re using natural cleaning products in your bathroom, kitchen, and elsewhere around the house, add a few drops of tea tree oil both to enhance the disinfectant properties and to add a touch of natural scent.
If you’re interested in learning more about tea tree oil, be sure to read our list of 25 uses for tea tree oil.
Tea tree oil also acts as a nice laundry freshener, either by adding a few drops into the washing machine, or by scenting your wool dryer balls with a few drops. If your kids have a bad tendency to leave wet towels all bunched up on the floor until they have a mildew smell (that’s not just my kids, right??) wash the towels with hot water, ½ cup baking soda, and 10 drops of tea tree oil. Then add 1 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle. Dry on the hottest setting, or outside in direct sunlight.
Instead of using a chemical laden carpet freshener, mix ½ cup of baking soda with 20 drops of tea tree oil. Place in a shaker container (such as a large, recycled spice container) and allow to rest for 24 hours. Then you just sprinkle the freshener lightly over your carpet, let it sit for about 15 minutes, and then vacuum as usual. Not only will this help remove lingering odors in your carpet, but it also can help reduce dust mites, fleas, and other bacteria.
Topical Uses for Tea Tree Oil
First, know this: tea tree oil should never be ingested, not by humans, and not by pets.
With that understood, topical use of tea tree oil is widely recognized to be effective in many different ways.
One of the most popular topical uses of tea tree oil is for the treatment of acne. Mix 2 – 3 drops of tea tree oil with 20 – 40 drops of witch hazel and apply to the acne-prone areas (face, upper back, chest) with a cotton swab twice a day. This treatment has been shown to be as effective as treatment with 5% benzoyl peroxide, but much less harsh.
Because of its antiseptic properties, tea tree oil also works well to soothe sores and rashes, and has even been found to effectively treat warts. There are four different ways you can use it here:
- Apply a drop of tea tree oil undiluted to a small affected area twice a day (i.e. a cold sore, skin tag, wart, etc.)
- If you need to cover a larger area, such as a skin rash, dilute the tea tree oil in an herbal tea, such as chamomile, and spray it on your skin.
- Add five drops of tea tree oil to your bath, up to twice a day for a week.
- Add tea tree oil to lotion or cream. Use no more than 5 percent, which means for 8 oz. of lotion you can add 2 1/2 tsp. of tea tree oil.
Tea tree oil is antifungal, and as a result, is super-popular for treating toenail fungus and athlete’s foot. Apply a few drops directly to the toenails or affected area of the foot daily. Toenail fungus is not a quick-fix problem; you’ll have to stay at it for 3 – 6 months, but you will see results!
Heaven forbid your kiddos come home from school with a notice of a head lice outbreak in the classroom, but it happens. Preventatively, you can add a few drops of tea tree oil to their shampoo. If the little buggers are already there, you can treat them as well by applying a few drops of tea tree oil directly to the scalp and along the hairline before going to bed and allowing the application to stay on overnight. In the morning, comb hair to remove the dead lice, and wash with shampoo (with the added tea tree oil). Repeat 2 – 3 times in a week.
Speaking of creepy crawlies, a drop of oil on a tick embedded in your skin will often make him back out, and a few drops in your pet’s crate or bed helps keep the fleas away.
While you cannot ingest tea tree oil, you can use it orally without swallowing! Some homemade toothpaste recipes call for the essential oil to be combined with baking soda to create a paste. Specifically, you can combine 6 tablespoons baking soda with 20 drops of tea tree oil and 20 drops of peppermint essential oil and just enough water to make a paste. It can be stored in a small baby food jar for a few days.
You can also swish a few drops of tea tree oil with water in your mouth and have an effective mouthwash.
Earaches are another issue known to be helped by tea tree oil. You mix 1 drop of tea tree oil with 1 tsp. olive oil, and using a clean medicine dropper, place a few drops of mixture into the ear, and then remove by tilting the head.
Finally, though this isn’t technically topical, tea tree oil can help relieve chest congestion or other breathing conditions when a few drops are added to a humidifier.
Send me your questions!
If you have any questions about how I use tea tree oil, or where you can purchase some to get started, just contact me here ((link to contact)) and I’ll be more than happy to connect with you for more information!
Interested in learning more about tea tree oil? Don’t miss our comprehensive list of 25 uses for tea tree oil.