Commercial household cleaners contain chemicals—thousands of them—and some are toxic. Pounds of the stuff remain on hard surfaces, are absorbed by soft ones, and fill the ambient air after cleaning.
When you breathe or touch something with which these chemicals have come into contact, they go right into your bloodstream.
Many natural cleansers exist that will have the same effect as the chemicals without threatening your family’s health. In addition, natural antibacterials are becoming more critical as humans battle with “superbugs” and antibiotic resistance.
Few are as successful as tea tree oil at killing germs as there are many novel uses for this extract of the Australian melaleuca tree.
Melaleuca oil extracted from trees’ leaves has antibiotic, antiviral, and antifungal properties (1). Following are ways to use it around your home, replacing potentially toxic chemicals.
How to Use Tea Tree Oil Around the Home
It’s incredibly versatile!
A 2010 study compared tea tree oil’s effectiveness on 5 common household bacteria against commercial disinfectants Listerine, Quad 10, and an unnamed industrial cleaner. Researchers found that tea tree oil “had the best bacterial action”. (2)
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To use: add 12-24 drops of tea tree oil to every 16 ounces of water and spray or mop any surface in your home that requires disinfecting.
2. All-purpose Cleaner
While Melaleuca is an oil, it’s not greasy so it’s a great all-around cleaner to kill mold and any germs that may be lurking. Coupled with vinegar, it’ll cut through grime, kill germs, and deodorize. The addition of borax provides a gentle abrasive to remove dirt. Combine 3-4 drops of tea tree oil to 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 1 tablespoon of borax. Add to 12 ounces of water in a spray bottle and fill with water. Shake to mix. You can use this cleaner on any hard surface as you would a commercial all-purpose cleaner.