What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Tea Tree Oil

I first learned about tea tree oil way back when our kids were little.  We had a bought of the flu go through the house and the recommendation to  help control the bacteria was tea tree oil added to the wash.  Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) oil has been a staple in our medicine cabinet ever since.  It has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties making it a very versatile product plus a little goes a long way.  I buy mine at the health food store for about $11 per 1 fluid oz (30 ml).  Don't let that size fool you because a little goes a long way.  Here's some of the ways I use tea tree oil around our home:

  • as a beauty aid - Tea tree oil is wonderful for getting rid of blackheads as well as bacterial and fungal infections around the nasal flares.  Seriously, those little almost pimples around your nasal flares are actually a fungal infection according to my dermatologist.  I put a couple of drops on a cotton swab then apply where needed.  Usually only one or two treatments are required to clear the problem.  Athlete's foot can be cured by soaking your feet in warm water with two or three drops of tea tree oil and it also gets rid of the more common foot fungus, oncomycosis.  
  • as a mouth wash - Tea tree oil is a must have when it comes to good oral hygiene.  It doesn't taste all that pleasant but it works and works well!  Rinse daily with a warm solution made from a half cup of water and two drops of tea tree oil to keep your mouth healthy and happy.  If you have a plaque build-up, you will notice it falling off within the first couple of weeks of using this rinse.  If you use steroidal inhalers that can cause thrush, this is a must use rinse.  I have an impacted tooth that for other medical reasons cannot be removed at this time.  It became infected once requiring antibiotics something I detest taking.  I switched to using tea tree oil rinses and have not had a problem since.
  • as a purifying room blend -  A drop of tea tree oil added to grapefruit oil and 10 drops of lemon oil then placed into a diffuser makes a wonderful room purifier, killing off harmful bacteria without harming your lungs.
  • in the wash - If a gastrointestinal illness is going through the house, I add about 5 drops of tea tree oil into my HE extra capacity washer.  Tea tree oil will kill off any bacteria that escapes the laundry soap and cold water washes.  
  • tea tree oil spray - I mix 3 to 4 drops of tea tree oil in a litre of water then pour into a spray bottle.  This is an effective spray that kills fungus and bacteria on hard surfaces.  It is particularly useful on surfaces that will not tolerate a 50% ethanol solution that wipes 99% of all biologicals (eg. virus, fungus, bacteria).  It works nicely for germ control in vehicles as well.  
  • in the dish water - If there is an illness going through our household, I add a drop or two of tea tree oil to the water for any hand washing.  It doesn't make the dishes oily feeling even though it is an oil but it does kill germs pronto.  Now, soap will kill about 95% of all germs anyway but the tea tree oil just gets the rest.