Tea Tree Essential Oil: Benefits and Uses

Tea tree plant for essential oil

Tea tree essential oil is a powerful home remedy to keep on hand. Tea tree oil contains the compound terpinen-4-ol, which kills certain bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Research suggests that tea tree oil can fight against all three categories of infectious organisms: bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Tea tree oil can treat everyday problems from acne to dandruff and can be used for minor injuries such as scrapes and blisters. 

Ways to Use Tea Tree Essential Oil 

  • Hand sanitizer Studies have shown that tea tree oil can kill common bacteria and viruses such as E. coli, S. pneumoniae, and H. influenzae. You can make your own sanitizing hand wash by adding 30 drops of tea tree essential oil to 3 ounces rubbing alcohol and 1 ounce of aloe vera gel. Add in other essential oils for scent and Vitamin E oil for an extra moisturizing effect! 
  • Insect repellent – A study revealed that tea tree oil had a greater ability to repel mosquitoes than DEET! You can use tea tree oil to repel mosquitoes by mixing a few drops with your favorite unscented lotion before heading outdoors. 
  • Natural deodorant – Because tea tree oil fights bacteria, it can help control the body odor caused by bacteria breaking down the acids contained in your sweat. Check out our recipe for DIY toxin-free deodorant
  • Antiseptic for minor cuts and scrapes – Tea tree oil can disinfect minor cuts and abrasions by killing S. aureus and other bacteria that can cause infection in open wounds. Always wash a cut thoroughly with plain soap and water before treating it. You can mix 1 drop of tea tree oil (it’s powerful!) with one teaspoon of coconut oil and apply to a minor wound before covering with a bandage. Research also shows that tea tree oil can help the healing process by reducing inflammation. 
  • Acne treatment – Several studies have shown that the bacterial-fighting properties in tea tree oil help reduce acne. One study even found that tea tree oil was as effective against acne as the common anti-acne medication benzoyl peroxide. DIY acne treatment is easy! Just mix 1 part tea tree oil with 9 parts water and apply with a cotton swab to problem areas twice a day. 
  • Nail fungus treatment – Tea tree oil can help control nail fungus and is a great natural alternative to commercial fungus medications. Just apply tea tree oil (you can mix with a little coconut oil if you want) to the affected nails and make sure to wash your hands afterward so that you don’t spread the fungus. 
  • Chemical-free household cleaning spray – Want to avoid toxins while still fighting household germs? Combine 20 drops of tea tree oil, 3/4 cup of water and a 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle. Shake well and spray directly onto surfaces, then wipe clean with a dry cloth.
  • Dandruff control – To reduce dandruff, mix a few drops of tea tree oil with your shampoo before washing your hair. 
  • Athlete’s foot treatment – Athlete’s foot is a contagious and uncomfortable fungal infection that can result in peeling and cracking skin, redness, and blisters. Thankfully, tea tree oil can help! Combine 1/4 cup arrowroot powder, 1/4 cup baking soda and 20–25 drops of tea tree oil. Stir to combine. Apply to clean, dry feet twice a day. Store in a covered container. 
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