Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor and nothing in this article should be taken as medical advice. Please talk to your doctor before using any of the herbs and/or remedies mentioned in this article.
If you are looking for ways to streamline the products you use for personal and home use, tea tree oil should be at the top of the list. Tea tree oil is an essential oil with powerful antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties. The oil is derived from steaming the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia plant. The resulting oil has a strong acrid odor and a color that ranges from pale yellow to clear.
Widely used in Australia for more than a century, tea tree oil has found its way into all sorts of household and cosmetic products sold in the U.S., including everything from acne medications to laundry detergent.
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Scientists have discovered that tea tree oil contains more than 100 different components. Its main active compounds include terpene hydrocarbons, alpha-terpineol, monoterpenes, and sesquiterpenes. The hydrocarbons can travel through the air and through the pores of the skin and mucous membranes, giving it the ability to kill germs and treat many skin conditions.
The versatile natural oil can be a valuable addition to your medicine cabinet and cleaning supplies. Before applying topically, tea tree oil usually needs to be diluted with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil. We have given directions when needed for how to do that.
Here are 15 uses for tea tree oil.
1. Treat Acne
The use of tea tree oil on the face can treat and help prevent acne break-outs. To make a gentle tea tree oil facial wash, mix five drops of the essential oil with two teaspoons of pure honey. Gently massage the mixture onto your face, avoiding the eye area. Let it sit for about a minute before rinsing with warm water.
2. Soothe Dry Skin Conditions
The oil’s anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties also are useful in treating other skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis. Mix five drops of tea tree oil and five drops of lavender oil with one teaspoon of coconut oil for a natural healing skin lotion.
3. Reduce Dry Scalp And Dandruff
Tea tree oil also can soothe and treat seborrheic dermatitis, a common scalp condition, and dandruff. It also is useful in treating the symptoms of contact dermatitis. Add about 10 drops of tea tree oil to eight ounces of shampoo to create your own dandruff shampoo.
Another option is to mix tea tree oil with aloe vera gel, coconut milk and lavender oil for a hair-enriching dandruff shampoo.
4. Heal Wounds And Burns
Tea tree oil helps reduce inflammation and aids in fighting infections associated with mild to moderate wounds, burns, sunburns, and insect bites. Clean the affected area well with water. Then add one to three drops of tea tree oil before covering with a clean bandage.
5. Remove Warts
Tea tree oil’s antiviral properties are also useful in treating and removing warts. Put a few drops of tea tree oil directly on the affected area once or twice daily for 30 days.
6. Fight Athlete’s Foot And Other Fungal Infections
Tea tree oil’s antifungal properties make it an excellent natural alternative to over-the-counter medications for athlete’s foot, candida, ringworm, jock itch, and toenail fungus. Using a cotton swab, dab three drops of undiluted tea tree oil directly on the affected area. Another option is to mix tea tree oil with oregano oil to fight fungal infections.
7. Kill Head Lice
Tea tree oil can be used to get rid of head lice and their eggs. Here is a recipe for head lice treatment using tea tree oil.
- Combine three tablespoons of coconut oil with one teaspoon tea tree oil.
- Apply the mixture to the entire the scalp and massage it in thoroughly.
- Comb through the hair with a fine-tooth comb before covering the head with a shower cap for two hours.
- Afterward, comb through the hair once more before rinsing hair completely.
- Next, mix two cups of apple cider vinegar with one cup of water in a spray bottle.
- Spray on hair until saturated.
- Now rinse the hair well and carefully comb through it again.
- Lastly, massage and leave in coconut oil as a conditioner.
- Repeat process every 5 to 10 days for a few weeks until all lice and eggs are killed.
8. Treat Scabies
The powerful essential oil also is a natural topical treatment for scabies. It relieves itching and helps heal the skin rash caused by the mites.
9. Fight Bad Breath
Used as a mouth rinse, tea tree oil can kill the bacteria that can cause bad breath. The oil’s antiseptic properties also make it useful in keeping the mouth free of bacteria after oral surgery.
You can make a homemade toothpaste by mixing a few drops of tea tree oil with coconut oil and baking soda. (Caution: According to the National Poison Center, tea tree oil can be harmful if swallowed. Be sure to spit it out fully after rinsing and do not allow children to use it as a mouthwash or toothpaste.)
10. Clean Household Surfaces
Tea tree oil also works well as an all-purpose spray cleaner in your home. In a spray bottle, mix together about seven drops of tea tree oil with water, white vinegar, and 5 to 10 drops of lemon essential oil. Spray on kitchen and bathroom counters and sinks, kitchen appliances, bathtubs, showers, shower curtains, and toilets. (Do not use this spray on granite or marble surfaces.)
Another idea is to use a mixture of tea tree oil, white vinegar, and water to spot clean carpets, outdoor furniture or athletic equipment.
11. Boost Laundry Detergent
Tea tree oil has antibacterial properties make it useful as an additive to your laundry detergent, especially when washing moldy or musty items. Add about add 10 drops of tea tree oil to your liquid laundry detergent. The tea tree solution also helps remove germs that may accumulate inside your washing machine.
12. Clean The Air
Place a few drops of tea tree oil in a diffuser to remove bacteria, mold, and viruses from the air inside your home. (Some sources report relief from coughing and congestion associated with the common cold with this method.)
13. Combat Foot Odor
To end embarrassing foot odor, massage a mixture of three drops tea tree oil with a half-teaspoon of coconut oil into your feet twice daily. If your shoes stink, mix about seven drops of tea tree oil in a spray bottle filled halfway with water. Spray liberally inside shoes as needed.
14. Make A Natural Deodorant
Kill the bacteria that can cause underarm odor with your own tea tree oil deodorant. Mix a few drops of tea tree oil with a paste made of coconut oil and baking soda and apply to the underarm area.
15. Repel Insects
Forget the chemicals found in most spray-on insect repellants by making your own with tea tree oil. Add several drops of tea tree oil to a half-filled spray bottle of water and spray onto skin to deter bugs.
Another option is to mix several drops of tea tree oil with a teaspoon of coconut oil. Rub the mixture into your skin. You can soothe and help heal bug bites by applying three drops of tea tree oil to the affected area with a cotton ball or swab. (Here’s another tip: Some people report success with dousing a tick with several drops of tea tree oil for easier removal.)
A few precautions and tips:
Do not consume tea tree oil; the uses in this article are for topical purposes only. Also, the undiluted oil is strong, so use only the recommended number of drops. If you use too much or have sensitive skin, you may experience a slight burning or stinging sensation. It’s a good idea to test tea tree oil out on a small patch of skin on your leg or arm before applying it to a more delicate area such as your face or underarms.
It’s a good idea to do a small skin patch test first on your arm or leg to make sure you don’t have an adverse reaction before using larger amounts or applying it to your face, chest, or neck.
You can purchase 100 percent pure essential tea tree oil online or at your health food store. Check the label for the words “Melaleuca alternifolia” and look for assurance that it is free from added chemicals, fillers or solvents. Store your tea tree oil in a glass container in dry, dark and cool conditions.
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