Tea tree oil has been used for centuries by aboriginal peoples in Australia, where its source, the small, brushy melaleuca tree, grows. It’s one of the few essential oils that you don’t have to dilute before applying to the skin. Here are some suggestions for using this invaluable oil.



Battle infection. Tea tree oil helps prevent and halt the spread of skin infection caused by bacteria, virus or fungus. Apply using a cotton swab, cotton ball or gauze one or more times daily. Tea tree oil has been shown not to damage or irritate healthy tissue, while eliminating harmful germs and existing infection.

Treat scalp problems. Use a few drops of tea tree oil to help relieve dandruff and dry scalp. Use before bed and shampoo out in the morning. The oil has a strong aroma that could clash with that of hair styling products and cologne. Also use tea tree oil to combat head lice. Rub a moderate amount into the hair and scalp and comb through to the ends. Repeat once or twice daily for at least a week.

Swish with it. Using a mouthwash of tea tree oil diluted in water can help remedy and prevent gum disease and plaque. Be careful not to swallow it. Small amounts are not considered toxic, though the stomach might rebel.

Apply to acne. Gently wiping the skin with a cotton ball soaked in straight or diluted tea tree oil can help calm inflammation, diminish infection and prevent new acne sores from developing. It won’t irritate troubled skin, while killing bacteria that aggravate skin eruptions. It can be used on the face, neck, chest and back. Mix a few drops with acne cleanser to boost its effectiveness.

Dab it on bug bites and stings. Itchy bites can be calmed with a few drops of tea tree oil applied as soon as possible. Use it to soothe mosquito and chigger bites, bee and wasp stings, to help prevent infection following bites and to inhibit bugs from biting again. Rub some on your legs, arms, back, chest, ankles or any other exposed skin. Apply tea tree oil to the face sparingly, and always avoid contact with the eyes.

Use tea tree oil around the house. Add a teaspoon to the laundry for towels or other fabrics prone to mildew. Spray a solution of tea tree oil and water on moldy surfaces in the bathroom. Also use the spray for immediate disinfectant action on surfaces in the sick room. Clean telephones and computer keyboards with it to inhibit the spread of colds and virus.