Essential Oils: Meet Tea Tree

I first began using essential oils more than a decade ago, when my oldest was a wee little boy. Becoming a parent changes you.

I started thinking about my little one crawling across floors and licking coffee tables covered in toxic household cleaners. I knew there had to be a different way. . . a better way. That’s where essential oils came in, and tea tree was one of the first oils I purchased.

Melaleuca essential oil is widely known as tea tree oil. There can be some confusion because there is a company named Melaleuca that sells supplements and cleaning products, but today I want to share with you the wonderful uses of melaleuca alternifolia.

Legend has it that Australian soldiers were issued tea tree essential oil in their medical packs during World War II. There is, of course, no hard evidence to support this, but it speaks to the importance and power of this essential oil. Tea tree essential oil is steam distilled from the leaves of the plant. It is versatile and generally considered very gentle.

Here are some of my favorite ways to use tea tree essential oil!


Some people really dislike the smell of tea tree essential oil. To me, it means “clean” so I don’t mind it. The smell can be described as medicinal, woody, or herbaceous.

Immune Support

Tea tree essential oil is great for immune support. This blend is fantastic for promoting clear breathing. I like to put a towel as a “tent” over my head and breathe in very carefully. When finished, pour the water into the diffuser!


Topically, tea tree essential oil is great for skin health. It is cleansing and reuvenating, and is great to soothe and protect occasional skin irritations.

Over the years, one of my favorite uses for tea tree (aside from a drop in the toilet before I hit it with a scrub brush) is this hand cleanser. We use it when a sink is unavailable, or in public places such as the children’s museum. This hand cleanser can also be used across the sinuses to protect against seasonal threats.

To further support skin health, add a drop of tea tree to your lotion to apply after shaving. You can also use it after showering on fingernails and toenails to purify  them and keep nails looking healthy.

Lastly, tea tree can be used topically around the ear (never inside the ear) to reduce occasional ear pressure.


Tea tree has a very “clean” smell to me. A drop in the toilet bowl is great for getting rid of bathroom smells. You can also make this all purpose cleaner with tea tree essential oil.


Tea tree essential oil doesn’t have a great flavor, but it can be supportive to your immune system. One drop each of tea tree, lemon, oregano, and a protective blend in a veggie capsule, topped off with a carrier oil like olive oil, can be great for immune support. Please make sure to add a carrier oil to your homemade capsules to reduce the risk of mucous membrane irritation in your digestive system. I would also recommend eating a food with some healthy fat in it to further dilute the oils.

Tea tree essential oil also can be used as a mouth rinse. Pair it with peppermint for minty-fresh breath! Add a splash of vodka to an empty mouthwash bottle, then add 5 drops each tea tree and peppermint essential oils. Swirl to dissolve the oils in the alcohol. Add 1 tbsp Real Salt, 1/4 c xylitol, and fill with water. Use it as you would your regular mouth wash!

All in all, melaleuca essential oil is a very versatile oil, and is considered very gentle. It can be used with children as young as 6 months, with dilution of course (1 drop in 1 Tbsp for children under 2). As far as I know, melaleuca has few contraindications, and is a great asset to any budding aromatherpist’s stash!

What is your favorite use for tea tree essential oil?

Which oils do I recommend?

Essential oil safety and purity is vital when you are using essential oils to support your family’s lifestyle. I only use doTERRA’s essential oils because I believe in the safety, consistency, and purity of their oils.

You can purchase them here, or contact me to learn more or to receive a free sample.

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