Tea tree oil is an essential oil with many uses and benefits. Although the name is similar, the tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) is not the same plant that produces the leaves to make tea.
Indigenous Australians have inhaled the vapors of crushed tea tree leaves for centuries to treat coughs and colds. The intense vapor can be compared to menthol.
While some people are intoxicated by the natural smell of tea tree oil, some find the smell to be overpowering.
Neutralizing Tea Tree Oil Before Use
All essential oils should be diluted in some way. If applying the tea tree oil topically, it’s suggested to use a carrier oil.
Carrier oils can include olive oil, coconut oil, and almond oil. As the tea tree oil is diluted, its fragrance will be subdued. The recommended ratio for oils and their carriers is 10 drops of carrier oil for every one drop of essential oil.
If you find the scent is still too strong after mixing with a carrier oil, you should consider adding a different essential oil to the mix. Lavender and citrus oils can mask the smell of tea tree oil while oils such as eucalyptus and mint enhance and transform the oil’s earthy scent.
What if you plan to use tea tree oil in a way that wouldn’t benefit from additional oils? When using tea tree oil as a scalp treatment, you can dilute the oil in your shampoo or conditioner.
If treating athlete’s foot, you can mix the tea tree oil into a mild lotion. For topical use to treat acne, tea tree oil can be mixed with aloe vera gel.
Studies have shown that tea tree oil has antibacterial properties. This makes it a popular option for a household cleaner and disinfectant.
If you can’t find a cleaner containing tea tree oil at your local shop, rest assured that you can make your own version.
Combine 10 drops of tea tree oil, two cups of hot water, and half of a cup of vinegar in a spray bottle. Give the spray bottle a good shake to meld the ingredients together, and you’re ready to get cleaning.
While the tea tree oil may settle to the bottom of the bottle as the water cools, this homemade cleaner has a substantial shelf life.
Neutralizing Tea Tree Oil After Use
As you partake in the many uses of tea tree oil, the smell may begin to become overwhelming.
To remove the smell of tea tree oil from fabric, wash the garment first in a mild detergent. When the initial wash does not alleviate the smell, wash again with vinegar added to the cycle. You may want to add perfumed laundry softener or deodorizer at this point as well.
For fabric that is too large to be washed in a conventional washing machine, you can hand wash the fabric with vinegar diluted in water. For white fabrics that are bleach-safe, bleach could be used instead.
Never mix bleach and vinegar together. Mix bleach in a 1:10 ratio with water. Soak a rag or small towel in the solution and apply to the fabric. Scrub the fabric, ensuring even coverage of the area. Following this, take a clean, dry rag and soak up the cleaning solution.
If the smell is all-encompassing in your home, you’ll need to take a broader approach. Ventilate the area where the smell is most concentrated. This could include opening a window or leaving the door open.
When simple ventilation fails, you may need to consider purchasing an air purifier. Air-purifying machines cycle the air in your home with a fan and pass that air through a special filter. These filters absorb and lock in odor-causing chemicals.
When searching for ways to reduce the smell of tea tree oil in your home, you may consider using baking soda. Baking soda has been kept in the back of so many American fridges for this exact purpose: it absorbs odors.
Try placing small dishes of baking soda around your most tea tree oil-ridden area. Allow them to sit overnight.
Other materials that absorb odors similarly to baking soda include coffee grounds and activated charcoal. Activated charcoal is extremely porous, making it a superhero at absorbing odors.
The downside to activated charcoal is that it will stain surfaces. Place activated charcoal in sachets. Position the sachets around the affected area. Once the offensive odor has been removed, dispose of the sachets.
Coffee grounds are great absorbers of smells. This is why it’s recommended for coffee to be stored alone in an airtight container.
You can use fresh or used coffee grounds to absorb odors. If utilizing used coffee grounds, dry the grounds at a low temperature in your oven. Once dry, they will be good as new.
You can follow a similar method as the activated charcoal and place the coffee grounds in a pouch, or you can place them in a decorative bowl. Place the grounds near where the tea tree oil smell is the strongest. In no time, you’ll notice the smell dissipating.
While the grounds are working their magic to absorb the odor, they’ll also be lightly perfuming the room with their rich aroma.
Getting Rid of the Smell After Spilling Tea Tree Oil
Perhaps you were being a bit clumsy while making your own household cleaner with tea tree oil, or the bottle began leaking in the car on your way home from the grocery store. There are a few ways to clean up the tea tree oil and minimize the smell.
When excess tea tree oil is applied topically, rinse the area with warm water. If the smell persists on your skin, an alcohol or peroxide rinse is warranted.
Both chemicals will break down the tea tree oil and help remove it from your skin. When you prefer a more natural approach, apply tomato juice to the area.
If tea tree oil is spilled onto a surface, the first step in mitigating the smell is removing as much oil as possible. Using several dry, clean towels, pat the area until no more oil lifts from the region.
When spilled onto fabric, carpet, or upholstery, tea tree oil can seep through many layers. To absorb oil that has permeated through, place a clean towel on the area where the spill occurred.
Weigh the towel down with a large soup can or a heavy skillet. Allow to sit overnight. This will temporarily mask the smell, and in the morning, you’ll find the remnant oil is soaked up.
When you don’t want to sacrifice your towels, apply baking soda to the spill. Once the baking soda has absorbed the moisture from the oil, sweep it up and dispose of it.
Reapply baking soda to the area until all of the oil and its smell have been removed. A thorough cleaning of the area with mild detergent will remove any lingering fragrance.
Tea tree oil has a myriad of uses and benefits, but this doesn’t mean that you have to love the smell to take advantage of those benefits. Use the strategies above to remove the smell of tea tree oil and enjoy a happier, healthier life.