Derived from the Australian tea tree, tea tree oil is easy to find in stores, and is often marketed as a natural remedy for a slew of minor health conditions. Because of its antifungal properties, tea tree oil can also be used to get rid of black mold that may be lurking around the house. Removing black mold is important, because large quantities can lead to respiratory issues.
What Is Tea Tree Oil?
Tea tree oil is distilled from the leaves of the tea tree, which is native to Australia's southeastern coast, where it grows in swampy areas. It has a strong, pine-like smell. Aboriginal people in Australia have long used tea tree oil as an antiseptic. Thanks to its ability to kill bacteria and fungi, some people use tea tree oil as a natural alternative treatment for acne, athlete's foot, nail fungus, dandruff and lice. It is also found in body care products like shampoos and lotions.
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While tea tree oil is generally safe to handle, people who are sensitive to it can develop a condition known as contact dermatitis, a skin rash, if they get the oil on their skin. And while it is considered safe to use topically, tea tree oil should never be ingested.
Tea Tree Oil for Mold
According to Country Living magazine, tea tree oil is not only effective at removing black mold, but it can also prevent mold spores from reemerging. To make a tea tree oil solution for mold, combine oil with water in a spray bottle at a ratio of 1 teaspoon of oil per 1 cup of water. Shake the spray bottle well and thoroughly soak the mold you are trying to remove. Let it dry for an hour before wiping it away.
With this method, tea tree oil can be used to clean all the sneaky areas where black mold tends to grow, like around kitchen and bathroom faucets and sink drains. You can also add a few drops of tea tree oil to vinegar and treat the mold that way. And, tea tree oil can also be used to remove the mold and mildew that can grow inside washing machines. All you need to do is add a couple of teaspoons of tea tree oil to the washing machine and run it empty on a cleaning cycle.
Other Tea Tree Oil Uses
In addition to fighting mold, adding a few drops of tea tree oil to your laundry detergent is a natural way to freshen up sweaty clothes or clothing that has developed a musty smell. It is also a good idea to launder pet bedding and toys this way to get rid of odors. However, note that tea tree oil is poisonous to cats and dogs and should never be applied directly to a pet's skin.
Spraying a solution of water and tea tree oil around doors and window frames can also help keep ants and other pests from entering your home, though you'll want to make sure there's no risk of a child or pet ingesting the solution. A drop or two of tea tree oil can also be used to clean toothbrushes and kitchen sponges that may harbor bacteria.
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