Melaleuca alternifolia aka tea tree is a small, native tree found in Queensland and New South Wales. It has been used traditionally for thousands of years by Australian Indigenous populations for its antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and fungicidal benefits. The leaves of the tree were crushed to extract the oil, which was then inhaled to help with coughs and colds, or applied topically to the skin for healing.
Fast forward to today, we can find tea tree essential oil products in almost every health food store, supermarket and chemist as the use of essential oils is becoming more and more popular.
Here are 8 easy ways to use tea tree essential oil to reap its amazing benefits in the home, on wounds and acne, to help fight germs, and more!
1) Hand Sanitiser
How often have your hands become way too dry when using hand sanitiser? Try this all-natural, DIY hand sanitiser recipe that is gentle on your hands, but still tough on germs. Thanks to tea tree’s antibacterial and antiseptic properties, it makes the perfect ingredient for a hand sanitiser. Plus, it smells amazing!
- 20 drops pure tea tree essential oil
- 1 tbsp. witch hazel
- 200ml aloe vera gel
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and transfer into a pump bottle or an old, empty hand sanitiser bottle. Enjoy as needed!
Although fungal nail infections are quite common and usually not dangerous, they can be unsightly. Studies show the benefits of applying tea tree oil to fungal nails, due to its antifungal properties! Dilute 2 drops of tea tree essential oil in a small bowl of melted coconut or olive oil. Mix well and apply to affected nails. Within a few months, you should see a significant improvement in the quality of your nails. You can even apply this mixture in-between your toes after showering to prevent Athlete’s Foot!
3) Bug Bite Reliever
Tea tree essential oil can provide relief from bug bite reactions. Its anti-inflammatory properties can help to reduce the itching, redness and swelling associated with bites from bugs. Dip a cotton ball into a mixture of tea tree essential oil (1 drop) and water (20mL) and apply onto the affected area twice daily until symptoms resolve.
We’re becoming more and more aware of the benefits of switching over to a natural, non-chemical based deodorant. Tea tree’s fresh smell combined with its odour-fighting antibacterial properties make it a great ingredient in a deodorant formula!
- 1/3 cup baking soda
- ½ cup corn starch
- 5 tbsp. coconut oil
- 16 drops tea tree essential oil (feel free to add any other essential oils you like for a refreshing smell; we recommend lavender or peppermint)
- Mix baking soda and corn starch in a small bowl until combined
- Heat coconut oil until liquefied, then add tea tree (and any other essential oils) and mix well
- Combine oils with the baking soda/starch mix, and store in an airtight container
- To use: scoop a small amount out of the jar with your fingertips and rub into the armpits
5) Acne Buster
Tea tree oil contains active compounds called tepinen-4-ol, alpha-terpineol and alpha-pinene. Research has shown that topical application of tea tree oil can be highly effective in treating acne, as these compounds were found to be active against not just one, but three types of acne-causing bacteria! Tea tree (and all essential oils for that matter) is very strong, so we do not recommend applying it directly onto the skin. When washing your face, add a drop of tea tree essential oil into your hands along with your cleanser or exfoliator to reap its acne-fighting, antibacterial benefits!
6) Wound Antiseptic
Tea tree oil can inhibit a broad spectrum of bacteria. It can also cleanse the skin and protect any abrasions/cuts. The next time you or your little ones get a scratch or scrape, thoroughly wash the area with soapy water, dry and then add a mixture of 1 drop of tea tree essential oil in a small amount of coconut or olive oil. Cover with a bandage, and repeat this process once or twice daily until a scab has formed.
7) All-Purpose Cleaner
Tea tree essential oil smells good, it has antibacterial properties and it can sanitise surfaces…why wouldn’t we clean our homes with it? Making your own all-purpose cleaner with tea tree essential oil will eliminate any traces of chemicals that you wouldn’t want your family members coming into contact with.
All you need to do is combine 20 drops of tea tree essential oil with ¾ cup of water and ½ cup of apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle. Shake well before spraying onto surfaces, and wipe clean with a dry cloth. You can use this spray on kitchen benches, toilet seats, showers and more!
8) Anti-Dandruff Scalp Treatment
Did you know that dandruff is related to a type of yeast called Pityrosporum ovale? Tea tree’s antifungal properties have activity against this yeast, and may be useful in the treatment of dandruff. A study was conducted on 126 people suffering from dandruff – the use of a tea tree based shampoo improved the appearance of dandruff, and also reduced scalp itchiness and greasiness. The next time you’re in the shower, add a drop of tea tree essential oil into the palm of your hand along with your shampoo, then massage well into your scalp to help reduce dandruff, scalp itchiness and scalp greasiness!
Not all essential oils are suitable for everyone – patch test essential oils before use and discontinue if sensitivity occurs. Avoid eye area. If pregnant or have any pre-existing medical conditions, please consult your doctor before use. Do not ingest essential oils. Keep out of reach of children and pets.
- Hechtman, L. (2012), Clinical Naturopathic Medicine, Chapter: The Dermatological System, pp.631-688, Churchill Livingstone, Elsevier
- Satchell, A.C., Saurajen, A., Barnetson, R.S. (2002), Treatment of dandruff with 5% tea tree oil shampoo, Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 47(6): 852-855
- Sinha, P. et.al. (2014), New Perspectives on Anti Acne Plant Drugs: Contribution to Modern Therapeutics, Biomed Research General, DOI: 10.1155/2014/301304
- Spritzler, F. (2017), 14 Everyday Uses for Tea tree Oil, Healthline, <https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/tea-tree-oil#section1>