13 Tips on How to Use Tea Tree Oil

The tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) has been used by the aborigines of Australia for thousands of years to treat ailments such as cuts, burns and infections. It’s not the same plant that’s used to make black and green tea. The name was likely first coined by Captain Cook, who drank an infusion made with tea tree leaves.

Tea tree oil began to be marketed widely in the 1920s. Since then, research has found it has many health benefits.

As a precaution, make sure you never ingest or swallow tea tree oil. The oil can be toxic. It can also irritate skin or cause sensitivity to the sun, so always test a small amount of any solution or product containing tea tree oil on your skin before starting a regular treatment.

For all the preparations suggested below, use a glass container because tea tree oil may erode plastic.

1. Bug Repellant

You can easily avoid the insecticides in commercial bug repellants by making your own. Combine 2½ teaspoons (12 milliliters) of tea tree oil with one cup (250 milliliters) of water in a spray bottle. A few drops of clove or citronella oil can be added for extra repelling power. Use the spray directly on your skin or clothing.

Citronella and tea tree oils also go well in a diffuser to repel air-borne mosquitos.

2. Natural Cleaner

To make an effective all-purpose cleaner, combine 2 teaspoons (10 milliliters) of tea tree oil with one cup (250 milliliters) of water. You can also add a few drops of lemon, lavender, eucalyptus, or other oil for fragrance. Use the cleaner on surfaces to control mold and bacteria.

3. Dental Care

Tea tree oil has antibacterial properties that can combat bad breath and tooth decay. Keeper of the Home has a great natural toothpaste recipe with tea tree oil. Just make sure you never swallow the toothpaste and rinse well after brushing so you do not ingest any of the oil.

4. Acne Therapy

An Australian study found that a 5 percent tea tree oil gel was as effective against acne as a 5 percent benzoyl peroxide lotion. The tea tree preparation was slower acting, but caused significantly less dryness, scaling, redness and itching in the surrounding skin than the benzoyl peroxide.

A 5 percent solution you can make at home is about 2½ teaspoons (12 milliliters) of tea tree oil in one cup (250 milliliters) of water. You can apply it directly to your skin or soak a cotton ball for use.

5. Laundry Detergent Booster

Tea tree oil can help eliminate bad odors in your clothes as well as bacteria that may be lurking in your washing machine. Simply add a few drops of oil to each load of laundry in addition to your regular natural detergent.

6. Hair Care

A 2002 study concluded that a four-week treatment with a shampoo containing 5 percent tea tree oil effectively and safely controlled Pityrosporum ovale, the yeast that causes dandruff. You can have the same benefits with your regular shampoo by mixing it with a couple drops of tea tree oil in the palm of your hand each time you wash your hair.

Mixing tea tree oil into your shampoo can also help with headlice. Lather the oil and shampoo mixture into your hair and let it sit 10 minutes. Wash your hair and repeat twice daily for the best control. You can also rinse your combs with the all-purpose cleaner listed above to remove any lingering critters, as well as washing your clothes and bedding with added tea tree oil.

7. Wart Removal

Tea tree oil has been found to have antiviral properties that act against the human papilloma virus, which causes warts. To treat a wart, directly apply one drop of tea tree oil. Cover the treated wart with a band aid. Repeat twice daily until the wart is gone, approximately 2 to 4 weeks. If you find applying the oil directly is too harsh for your skin, you can dilute it with water or apply a smaller amount on a cotton ball.

8. Toenail Infections

A tea tree oil foot bath can be an excellent way to deal with an infected toenail. Try putting 20 drops of tea tree oil in a small basin of warm water. Soak your feet for at least 15 minutes two or three times per day. Once you’re done, you can also apply a couple drops of oil directly to the infected area.

9. Healing Cuts, Abrasions and Burns

Many studies have shown that tea tree oil can improve wound healing compared to conventional methods. One study found a daily application of a 3 percent solution of tea tree oil in water was effective. This would be a mixture of 1½ teaspoons (7 milliliters) of tea tree oil per one cup (250 milliliters) of water.

10. Athlete’s Foot Treatment

Tea tree oil has been shown to fight the fungus Trichophyton, which causes many types of skin infection, like athlete’s foot and jock itch. One study showed that a 50 percent solution of tea tree oil was able to kill the fungus entirely after four weeks of treatment.

You can make a 50 percent solution at home by combining 5 drops of tea tree oil with 5 drops of a carrier oil, such as almond oil. Drop these onto a cotton ball and apply to your skin, or simply mix them in the palm of your hand and apply. It’s recommended to apply twice daily until the fungal infection has cleared up.

11. Yeast Infection Control

Yeast infections are caused by a fungus called Candida albicans. Tea tree oil’s fungicidal properties can help treat yeast infections. Tea tree oil vaginal suppositories for this purpose are available at natural foods stores or online.

Lavender oil has also been shown to combat Candida, so mixing a few drops of tea tree oil with lavender oil in some water makes an effective preparation you can apply to affected areas.

12. Psoriasis and Eczema

The anti-inflammatory properties of tea tree oil can help treat skin outbreaks. To make your own skin lotion, combine one teaspoon (5 milliliters) of coconut or olive oil with five drops of tea tree oil.

13. Coughs and Congestion

Inhaling tea tree oil may clear throat congestion and sooth a cough. Try adding a few drops of tea tree oil to a large bowl of hot water. Cover your head with a towel and hover over the bowl to inhale the steam. You can also add a few drops to enjoy in a bath.



Melania P
Melania P1 years ago

Nice article, thank you.

Son Y.
Son Y.1 years ago

bracing! :)

Jerome S
Jerome S1 years ago


Jerome S
Jerome S1 years ago


Jim V
Jim V1 years ago

thanks for sharing.

Jim V
Jim V1 years ago

thanks for sharing.

Carl R
Carl R1 years ago


Aldana W
Aldana W1 years ago

Thanks for the info.

iskrica k
iskrica knezevic1 years ago

thank you!

Chevy R.
Chevy R.1 years ago

Good to know.