Tea tree oil, distilled from leaves of the Australian paperbark tree, is known for its antiseptic properties. According to the , several clinical studies have found the essential oil to be antimicrobial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory. Its medicinal and household applications don't stop there: from clearing up a sinus infection to removing mold, this natural extract packs a powerful punch.
Combat dandruff by adding about 10 drops of the oil to a bottle of 8 oz. shampoo. The oil is a natural way to refresh your scalp and fight infections, fungus, and bacteria, according to .
Boost your laundry routine by mi 3 drops of oil with your laundry detergent. The simple solution removes bad odors caused by microbial accumulation in your washing machine, according to .
Place a few drops in an oil diffuser to naturally deodorize and disinfectant air. Blogger Brittany of does this to remove "bacteria, viruses, mold and other germs" from her home's atmosphere. Additionally, tea tree oil aromatherapy can supplement treatment for cancer patients by , according to a review published in .
Add 10 drops to 2 cups of hot water, plus a half cup of white vinegar, for a general disinfectant cleaning spray. A word of caution: Don't use this solution on granite or marble—the acidic vinegar can eat away at the stone.
Get the recipe at .
Place a couple of drops in a bowl of steaming hot water and drape a towel over your head as you lean over the bowl. Breathe in the vapors for 5 to 10 minutes.
Make your own antibacterial spray using tea tree and eucalyptus oils, witch hazel and water.
Check out for a recipe.
This tip doesn't have a lot of science to back it up, but some people swear by dousing disease-carrying ticks with a few drops of tea tree oil—the idea is that the saturation causes ticks to back out of the skin for easier removal.
Dab a drop on trouble spots (make sure skin's clean first!) to clear them up. When "used in conjunction with glycolic acid, which is an exfoliant, tea tree oil helps destroy the bacteria that can cause acne flare-ups," California aesthetician Brenda Harper told .
Mix an all-natural bathroom cleanser (blogger Jill of 's recipe is a dead-on dupe for one popular brand name) using 10-15 drops of tea tree oil, water, vinegar, baking soda and castile soap. Bonus: Tea tree oil is a natural mold fighter!
Applying pure tea tree oil to infected areas twice a day for six months can cure fungal toenail infection. The report that 60 percent patients saw an improvement in "nail appearance and symptoms" after six months of treatment. Eighteen percent were cured completely.
When head lice is going around your kid's school, this solution is your best friend. Mix up a batch with 20 drops of tea tree oil and this recipe from .
Apply a thin coat of 100 percent tea tree oil to the affected parts of your feet two to three times a day. Repeat this process for a couple of weeks after symptoms have cleared up to eradicate the fungus completely.