Tea tree oil is extracted from the leaves of the Melaleuca Tree which is indigenous to Australia. The Aborigines are believed to have used the leaves for centuries, perhaps even longer. They crushed the leaves and inhaled the oil to treat coughs, applied crushed leaves to wounds and made infusions of leaves to treat skin conditions and sore throats. There are so many uses for it you should definitely keep tea tree oil in your home.
Tea tree oil is naturally antimicrobial. The development of antibiotics caused interest in this remarkable oil to wane a bit after WWII but, in the 1970’s, interest again was sparked because of consumer desire to use more natural products. Its versatility is the reason I am such a fan of tea tree oil. Here are some of the uses for it.
- Diluted, tea tree oil is a great treatment for acne. Just massage it gently into the skin with a cotton cloth. It can also be used for rashes and red skin.
- Use it as a remedy for chicken pox sores and spot. Put a little tea tree oil on a cotton swab or cotton ball and apply it to the sores/spots a couple of times a day.
- Tea tree oil can get rid of head lice. Add 20 drops of the oil to a couple of tablespoons of shampoo and massage the mixture into the scalp and on the hair. Leave it on for about 20 minutes then wash it out. Do this daily until the eggs are no longer visible on the hair.
- Use it as a dandruff shampoo by adding a few drops to your shampoo and washing as usual.
- Ease sinus infections by adding about 5 drops of tea tree oil to steaming water. Cover your head with a towel and breathe in the steam for about 10 minutes each day you have symptoms.
- Diminish foot odor with tea tree oil. Mix several drops of the oil with warm water and soak your feet for about 15 minutes daily. Dry your feet thoroughly after soaking.
- Treat athlete’s foot by mixing 1/2 cup of baking soda, 1/2 cup arrowroot powder, and 20 drops of tea tree oil. Use a fork to get rid of any lumps. Put the dry mixture in a shaker and apply it to clean, dry feet a couple of times a day.
- Treat nail fungus with tea tree oil. Mix 4 or 5 drops tea tree oil with a tablespoon of melted coconut oil. Rub on affected nails twice a day. Store the mixture in an airtight container out of direct sunlight. Wash hands after applying to avoid spreading the fungus.
- Deodorize the garbage bin and diaper pail with tea tree oil. I honestly don’t know how many people actually even have diaper pails any more but this was a life-saver when I had two little ones in cloth diapers at the same time! Mix 1 cup of baking soda with 1/2 teaspoon tea tree oil. Use a fork to get out any lumps. Put the mixture in an old shaker bottle and simply shake into the bin or pail when you put in a fresh bag.
- If your washing machine smells less than fresh just sprinkle about 10 drops of tea tree oil inside and run the machine on the hot cycle. I had boys, two ponies, dogs, rabbits, chickens, and sheep. With the saddle blankets, dog beds, and really dirty clothes that were washed in my machine this was a “must do” for me!
- Clothes that have a musty, mildew smell can be freshened with tea tree oil. Cut up an old cotton t-shirt into pieces the size of a dryer sheet size and put a few drops of tea tree oil on a piece. Toss it in the dryer with the laundered clothing to get rid of the mildew smell.
- Michigan, where I live, has more than its share of biting insects. We joke that we have mosquitoes the size of fighter jets and horse flies twice that big. Wherever you live you probably have some bugs that bite! To relieve the sting and itch of insect bites just mix a few drops of tea tree oil with coconut oil and apply it to the bite.
- Make a simple household cleaner by combining two teaspoons of tea tree oil with 2 cups of water. Pour into a spray bottle and use anywhere you want to disinfect. Rinse any surface that will have food in contact after using the cleaner.
- Add several drops to Epsom salt and add to bath water. This really boosts the muscle relaxing quality of the bath.
- Freshen up your mattress by combining 30 drops of tea tree oil with 1/2 cup of baking soda. Get out any lumps with a fork and put the mix in a shaker bottle. Shake on the mattress and let sit for 20 – 30 minutes then vacuum off.
Many people use tea tree oil internally or undiluted to the skin. Some people do have a reaction to tea tree oil so I cannot advise using it in these ways.