You might have heard that tea tree oil can be good for oily skin, but did you know that it can also be used as a highly effective cleaner or mixed with other ingredients to relieve certain types of pain? As it turns out, tea tree oil is impressively versatile (though it should only ever be used topically and never ingested). Here are twelve of the most exciting uses for this common essential oil.
1. Diminishing dandruff
If your scalp is itchy and flaky from a chronic case of dandruff, applying any product with 5% tea tree oil as an ingredient can help to treat your condition within just four weeks. You can even add tea tree oil to your favorite shampoo. However, make sure you thoroughly wash your hair, taking at least 3-4 minutes to massage the solution into your scalp.
2. Making an all-purpose cleaner
If you mix water with one or two teaspoons of 100% tea tree oil solution, you can create a handy all-purpose cleaner that will effectively remove grime from most surfaces. Meanwhile, mixing tea tree oil with some apple cider vinegar creates an excellent mold remover that is far safer than most of the toxic cleaners on the market.
3. Treating Athlete’s foot
The athlete’s foot causes irritating symptoms such as itching, scaly skin and burning sensations. Applying tea tree oil solution of 25% or greater can help to treat the symptoms and may even get rid of the infection within a few weeks. Consequently, tea tree oil can be an excellent alternative for people who are allergic to commonly prescribed treatments for athlete’s foot.
4. Getting rid of lice
Adding just a couple of drops of 100% tea tree oil to your shampoo might be able to help treat a case of lice. Interestingly, studies also suggest that combining tea tree oil with lavender is especially powerful, killing both lice and their eggs, so it is beneficial to combine these two essential oils if possible.
5. Treating acne
While severe acne may need stronger medication, milder cases can benefit from daily application of 5% tea tree oil solution. In fact, research suggest its effects are comparable to those of benzoyl peroxide, helping cysts and zits to heal more quickly and preventing new ones from forming. However, tea tree oil causes less redness and irritation on the areas of application so may plausibly be considered a superior treatment.
6. Protecting cuts
If you have a small cut or graze, tea tree oil should work as an antiseptic (cleaning the wound and preventing infection in the area). Some people also report that tea tree oil can reduce the risk of infection in boils or around insect bites.
7. Treating fungal infections of the nails
If you have a fungal infection around a nail, twice daily application of 100% tea tree oil solution may get rid of the troubling symptoms and help your nail return to its normal appearance. Recent studies suggest tea tree oil is just as effective as commonly prescribed treatments (such as clotrimazole).
8. Calming nickel allergies
Some people are allergic to nickel commonly found in costume jewelry, leading to irritation and redness of the skin. However, applying 100% tea tree oil to the site of the allergic reaction seems to reduce the major symptoms. There is also some compelling evidence that diluted tea tree oil can prevent redness and irritation in people who might otherwise have had an allergic reaction to nickel.
9. Treating eyelid infections
Blepharitis (i.e. infections of the eyelid) can cause pain, blurred vision and swelling, but tree oil might be able to relieve these sources of discomfort. Some work on the efficacy of tea tree oil also suggests that it can cure such infections, but the relevant research is still in its infancy.
10. Improving breathing
If you’re suffering from asthma symptoms or are struggling with the respiratory symptoms of a common infection like the cold or flu, try adding a few drops to a humidifier. It is commonly reported that this trick makes it easier to breathe, reducing both wheezing and congestion.
11. Freshening carpets and laundry
You can freshen old carpets with a couple of drops of tea tree oil, so it makes sense that tea tree oil can also make laundry smell wonderful. If you add a few drops to your washing machine, your clothes will be particularly fresh and clean at the end of the cycle.
12. Relieving earache
Finally, anecdotal evidence suggests it is also worth trying some tea tree oil if you develop the key signs of an earache. Simply mix a single drop of tea tree oil with a teaspoon of olive oil, then gently drop the liquid into your ear. After a minute or so, tilt your head in the opposite direction to remove the mixture.