Tea Tree Oil Uses: 13 Extraordinary Ideas

Cure what ails you with these inspired uses for tea tree oil.

From Kitchen Cabinet Cures (Reader's Digest Assocation Books)
Also published in Reader's Digest Magazine October 2013
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    Use tea tree oil to clear acne

    If you're looking to get rid of pimples, a 5 percent solution of tea tree oil works just as well as the top drugstore acne remedy, benzoyl peroxide, according to Australian researchers studying their native resource. Dilute a few drops of tea tree oil with 20 to 40 drops of witch hazel, and apply to skin once or twice a day with a cotton swab. Be careful to not overuse it: while gentler than benzoyl peroxide, tea tree oil can dry out your skin, triggering your body to overproduce its own oils and make your acne worse. If you apply it to your face, stay out of the sun—tea tree oil can make you more sensitive to UV rays.

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    Use tea tree oil to remove makeup

    For normal to dry skin, try mixing 1/4 cup canola oil with 10 drops of tea tree oil in a 4-ounce sterilized glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake until blended. Store in a cool, dark place. To use, saturate a cotton ball with the oil and sweep over your face to remove makeup. Rinse well with warm water and follow with a toner.

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    Use tea tree oil to soften dry cuticles

    The essential oils in this rich, softening blend help to counter cracked and ragged cuticles. Tea tree oil is a proven fungus fighter, while lavender is anti-inflammatory and healing. You can find avocado and jojoba oil in health food stores, or you can substitute olive oil for either or both.

    • 1 tablespoon jojoba oil
    • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
    • 10 drops tea tree essential oil
    • 10 drops lavender essential oil

    Pour the jojoba and avocado oils into a small, dark-colored glass bottle, which will help preserve the oil. Then, add tea tree and lavender essential oils, screw on cap, and shake to combine. Before using the cuticle oil, shake the bottle well, then massage a few drops into your nails and cuticles daily to soften your cuticles and prevent them from splitting.

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    Use tea tree oil to soothe sores

    Using a cotton swab, dab a single drop of tea tree oil, which is an antiseptic, directly on the sore. Avoid areas near your eyes and mouth.

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    Use tea tree oil to fight foot odor

    The herbs and essential oils in this aromatic blend help to reduce sweatiness, fight odor, and leave feet fresh and clean. Rosemary and ginger stimulate circulation, and sage discourages perspiration:

    • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
    • 1 tablespoon dried sage
    • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, finely grated, or 1 teaspoon dried powered ginger
    • 4 cups water, plus extra as needed
    • 1 tablespoon baking soda
    • 1 tablespoon Epsom salts
    • 10 drops tea tree essential oil
    • Small ice cubes or crushed ice

    Place rosemary, sage, and ginger in a large saucepan with water. Bring to a boil. remove from heat, cover, and steep for 10 minutes then strain. Add baking soda, Epsom salts, and tea tree oil. Mix well. Pour into a foot spa or shallowe basin big enough for both feet. Top with extra water and add ice. Soak feet for 15 minutes; pat dry. Follow with a dusting of fragrant foot powder.

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    Use tea tree oil to eliminate toenail fungus

    In a study, participants applying 100 percent pure tea tree oil to nail fungus for a minimum of three months did as well at killing it as did those using prescription antifungal cream; 60 percent of both groups completely or partially eradicated their symptoms. Once or twice a day—every day—apply a drop or two of 100 percent pure tea tree oil to the discolored nail. Be careful not to apply tea tree to the skin, because undiluted tea tree oil may be irritating.

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    Use tea tree oil to relieve athlete's foot

    One study found that tea tree oil was as effective as an over-the-counter remedy for athlete's foot for relieving burning, itching, inflammation, and scaling. Add a few drops to a tablespoon of witch hazel and apply to the affected area with a cotton swab three times a day. It can cause dermatitis (skin inflammation) in some people, so use sparingly the first time and don't use further if a rash develops.

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    Use tea tree oil to treat the chicken pox

    Blend a few drops of tea tree essential oil with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and use a cotton swab to apply the oil to sores two or three times a day.

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    Use tea tree oil to reduce cold sores

    Apply tea tree essential oil directly on the cold sore three or four times a day. However, tea tree oil is toxic, so avoid getting it in your mouth.

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    Use tea tree oil to banish jock itch

    Rub a thin layer of the oil onto your skin twice a day—but dilute it first: Mix 10 drops into 2 tablespoons olive oil or witch hazel.

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    Use tea tree oil to relieve psoriasis

    Rub a few drops of tea tree oil, diluted in a little olive oil, into your psoriasis patches several times a day. The Australian remedy is useful for relieving itch and softening plaques, especially if you have a mild case.

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    Use tea tree oil to treat yeast infections

    Studies have found that tea tree oil disrupts the membranes of yeast cells, and lavender kills Candida in a test tube. Mix them together and yeast doesn't have a chance. Tea tree oil is toxic when swallowed, so don't use this to treat oral infections.

    • 5 drops tea tree essential oil
    • 5 drops lavender essential oil
    • Distilled water

    Mix the tea tree and lavender oils with a few drops of distilled water. Using a cotton swab, dab the blend on the affected parts of the body.

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    Use tea tree oil to zap boils

    Tea tree oil is highly effective against staph infections, even those that are antibiotic-resistant. Just dab a little on the boil several times a day.

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    Your Comments

    • davea0511

      I can not believe it recommended diluting with canola oil to dilute it. Use an oil that your ancestors were likely to use. Olive oil is good if you’re of european ancestry. Those from more of the tropics will do well with those as well as with coconut oil.

    • Heather

      Don’t forget that it’s great for Rosacea too. I have had tremendous success eliminating my facial redness and bumps using a 25% dilution of TTO and jojoba oil.

    • Marie Lorenzo

      Too bad tea tree oil is very expensive here in the Philippines.

      • Siesta_Bear

        Have you tried buying online?