11 Household Uses for Tea Tree Oil

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Tea tree oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties and is used to treat a variety of ailments.

Tea tree oil refers to the essential oil distilled from Melaleuca alternifolia, an Australian tree. This powerful botanic oil has an abundance of beneficial properties; it is antiseptic, antifungal, antibiotic, antiviral and anti-inflammatory. Found in many natural skin- and body-care products, tea tree oil treats a variety of skin conditions from acne to athlete’s foot. It also adds a punch to homemade cleaners. Read on for 11 of our favorite uses for tea tree oil.

1. Mildew buster: Combine 1 cup white vinegar and 25 drops tea tree oil in a reusable spray bottle. Spritz on mold or mildew and let sit for 10 minutes. Wipe away with a damp sponge.

2. Simple soap: To make a basic antiseptic soap, combine 2 cups melted glycerin soap base and 2 tablespoons tea tree oil. Stir until blended, pour into soap molds and cool.

3. Acne fighter: Studies have shown that a 5 percent solution of tea tree oil works similarly to benzoyl peroxide but without the drying effects. Apply diluted tea tree oil—blend the oil either with water or skin-beneficial vitamin E oil—to blemishes daily.

4. Laundry booster: To heavily soiled laundry such as cloth diapers, add 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil to the wash. The powerful antifungal properties of tea tree oil will help prevent bacterial and fungal infections.

5. Earache eliminator: To make natural ear drops, place 2 drops diluted (use a carrier oil suchas almond or avocado oil) tea tree oil into infected ear.
Do not use this remedy if the ear drum is perforated or if fluid is leaking from the ear.

6. No more flakes: To help alleviate dandruff, add 1 to 2 drops of pure tea tree essential oil to a mild natural shampoo. Lather for about 5 minutes. Rinse and follow with conditioner, if desired.

7. Athlete’s foot fix: For a powerful athlete’s foot treatment, mix 2 teaspoons tea tree oil with 1/4 cup vegetable oil. Apply to infected area one to two times daily.

8. Sweet feet: Keep your tootsies smelling nice with this homemade foot powder. Mix 1⁄4 cup cornstarch, 1⁄4 cup baking soda, and 10 drops each lavender and tea tree oil for an effective homemade foot powder.

9. All-purpose power: In a reusable spray bottle, mix 15 drops tea tree oil with 1 quart warm water for a multipurpose cleaner. For a more powerful antiseptic spray for areas that need more attention—such as toilets—use 2 teaspoons tea tree oil with 2 cups water.

10. Wart be-gone: Because of its antifungal properties, tea tree oil can naturally treat warts. Place 1 drop of tea tree oil, diluted in water, on warts twice a day, keeping wart covered with a bandage. Continue for four weeks, changing bandage daily.

11. DIY deodorant: Use tea tree oil to make your own deodorant. Simply mix 1/3 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup cornstarch with 5 tablespoons melted coconut oil, then add 15 to 16 drops tea tree essential oil. Store in an airtight container. A little goes a long way.

Victoria Pitcher is Web Editor at Mother Earth Living. Find her on Google+.