Much like with coconut oil, I swear by Tea Tree Oil. I always make sure I have some at home, as I use it for so many things. It’s first and foremost a powerful antibacterial and so, most of its uses are based on that. By itself or combined with other essential and carrier oils, tea tree oil kills bacteria and fungus, while also having a powerful solvent quality that also makes it useful while cleaning around the home. It’s really inexpensive, especially since it packs a punch in just a few drops. Here are just 10 uses and benefits of tea tree oil and some links to some of my favorite products!
1. Bug repellant/insect bite treatment
As with many other uses you’ll find in this post, all you need is TTO! You can mix a few drops in your body lotion, mix it into some coconut oil and apply the mix to exposed skin, or mix 5 drops of TTO per ounce of water in a spray bottle. Shake and spritz yourself with it as often as you like while out! You can add any other aromatic essential oils if you don’t want to just smell like TTO. My favorites are lavender, peppermint, or orange.
2. First aid (antiseptic)
If you cut yourself in the kitchen and realize you don’t have alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, not to worry! If you keep TTO at home, you can just wash the cut thoroughly and then apply TTO. You can apply a drop directly, or dilute it a bit with some coconut oil (1/2 tsp CO: 1 drop TTO), which also has antibacterial properties to help your injury heal better and faster! It’s like nature’s Neosporin! I usually apply TTO directly and -sometimes- put a band-aid on it. It even helps stop the bleeding!
3. Acne spot treatment /acne prevention
Because of its antibacterial properties, TTO is great at drying out pimples and preventing them. However, remember TTO is very strong and abrasive so it needs to be diluted and used sparingly. To treat pimples, mix a few drops of tea tree oil and rosewater or witch hazel (witch hazel doesn’t work for me, it dries me out too much so I use semi-diluted TTO or lavender) at a 3:1 ratio (3 parts carrier, 1 part TTO), then apply with a cotton swab to pimples.
As prevention, mix 5 drops of tea tree oil per 2 oz of almond oil and use that as your moisturizer. You can also mix 5 drops of TTO into 2 oz. of rosewater in a spritzer and spray that after washing your face and applying moisturizer and/or makeup. **NOTE: Do one or the other! If you use both methods, you risk overdrying your skin!**
4. Fungus (athlete’s foot, ringworm, nail fungus, dandruff) and scabies treatment
Once again, tea tree oil’s antiseptic quality comes to the rescue! Athlete’s foot, jock itch, and ringworm are all basically the same thing; a fungus. There’s no cute way to talk about this… Luckily, our friend TTO is able to dispel all and any fungi in its path. Treating skin-related fungal infections is as easy as mixing about 10 drops of TTO into 1-2 oz. of coconut oil (depending on your sensitivity) and applying it to the area (groin, between toes, armpits, torso, etc…) 2-3 times per day. You can also go all-out and add apple cider vinegar (1 Tbsp), lavender oil (5 drops), and oregano oil (10 drops) for an extra-strength ointment that can also help rid you of scabies!
Toenail fungus is even easier to treat! simply lift the toenail a bit (make sure the space between the nail and nailbed is clean if it’s separated) and apply one drop of TTO every morning and every night. Continue for as many weeks it takes for the infected/separated part of the nail to grow out.
Even yeast infections have been known to clear up using tea tree oil, as candida is, you guessed it, a fungus. Tea Tree Therapy makes suppositories even! You could also make your own by mixing 20 drops of tea tree oil in 2 Tbsp coconut oil. Put the mix in the freezer and then scoop the solidified oil into 10 small balls and let them freeze solid before putting them in a clean container to keep in the freezer. Apply 1 each night for 10 nights.
Dandruff is another fungus-related ailment. If you don’t want to use things like Head & Shoulders and such, you can mix a few drops of TTO to your daily shampoo of choice (10-15 drops per 8 oz.). Or, if you follow the cave(wo)man/natural hair routine, you can just add those 5 drops of TTO to the baking soda and do the rest as usual.
Mixing 2 oz. of CO with 15-20 drops of TTO can serve as an overnight treatment. Just apply mix directly to the scalp, massage it in and leave in a shower cap. Shampoo as usual in the morning. Try that a couple of times per week besides adding TTO to your shampoo.
5. Psoriasis and eczema treatment
Psoriasis and eczema are both very uncomfortable autoimmune skin conditions. Besides following an anti-inflammatory diet, using a natural treatment with tea tree oil will help soothe flare-ups and keep them at bay.
If on a tight budget, a simple CO+TTO blend will do the work. (Ratio: 5 drops TTO per Tbsp of CO). But if you can invest in more ingredients, try out the following blend and apply it morning and night (or whenever you feel like you need it!):
1 Tbsp rosehip seed oil
1 Tbsp coconut (or almond) oil
10 drops tea tree oil
10 drops lavender
5 drops oregano oil
6. Lice repellent
When Junior’s school announces a lice outbreak, the first instinct is to panic. But don’t! Lice are easy to keep away with tea tree oil. Just sprinkle a few drops of TTO directly on Junior’s scalp and he should be safe from invasion. If someone is infested, try mixing 10 drops of TTO per Tbsp of coconut oil and apply to scalp. Cover with a shower cap and leave overnight. The next day, comb the hair out and hopefully, the dead lice will come off. If this doesn’t work it’s because, unfortunately, lice have become resistant over the years thanks to the use of strong pesticides.
7. Cold sores
Cold sores are painful and just awful to have. They are caused by the Herpes virus and flare-ups usually take place after/during times of physical and/or emotional stress; after a fever (hence the names “cold sore” or “fever blister”), after/during final exams, preparing for an interview, trip, or even worse, a date.
Cold sores take a long time to heal, usually 7-14 days. I can’t promise this will be faster, but it’s less messy than the creams, easier to hide (it’s clear and absorbs immediately), cheaper, and it does a great job of minimizing the itch and burning sensations associated with the darned things.
It’s simple, just apply a drop directly at the first sign of a cold sore and apply it throughout the day. Be careful not to lick it or otherwise ingest it, as tea tree oil can be highly toxic and make you sick. For added benefit, make a 1:1 oregano oil and TTO blend, which will keep the affected area moisturized and accelerate healing while bringing down inflammation and containing/reducing the infection.
Tea tree oil home uses
Tea tree oil can also be used for things around the house, like cleaning and… well, mostly cleaning and disinfecting, but it’s great at it!
8. Removing sticker residue/glue
When I found this out, I couldn’t believe it! Have you ever taken a sticker/label off a jar or other glass surface only to find that it is now covered in goop that won’t come off but will collect every bit of lint, dust, hair, etc? Well, if you mix a few drops of tea tree oil with a sprinkling of baking soda, you can use this scrubby mix to completely remove all the residue! Simply remove as much of the label as you can, so as only the gum is left on the surface, then apply the mix in circular motions and you’ll see and feel the glue coming off and leaving a nice, clean, shiny surface behind!
I’ve never used it on other surfaces, but as long as it’s not something that scratches easily, it should work on any non-porous or semi-porous surface without damaging it.
The above baking soda/tea tree oil combination is my go-to when there’s something that requires deep cleaning.
Scum/mold removal: Combine water and baking soda to make a paste and add 20 drops per cup of the mix. Apply in between bathroom tiles or dirty, scummy, moldy surfaces and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Scrub away with a brush and rinse.
Tough stains in clothes: I like to make a paste with baking soda, a few drops of tea tree oil and a Tbsp of detergent to spot-treat garments with tough stains like grass, wine, blood, red dirt, and even some grease stains.
Just adding 20 drops of TTO per 8 oz. of water to a spray bottle will make a powerful disinfectant spray you can use to clean bathroom and kitchen surfaces. Or any other ones!! Let it sit for harder-to-remove messes before scrubbing/wiping it off.
You can also mix 5-10 drops of TTO to warm water do dip a cleaning towel and disinfect surfaces that way.
These aren’t even all the uses for tea tree oil! I’ll be adding more as I remember them, discover them, or as you, the readers, suggest them! What do you use tea tree oil for??