Like many other cloth diapering mamas out there, I like to look for natural solutions to common issues that come up in our family. Iʼve tried to limit my sonʼs exposure to chemicals by feeding him organic food, using all-natural baby wash, trying to avoid antibiotics, and of course - using cloth diapers! On the spectrum of "granola crunchiness" I would say weʼre probably somewhere in the middle. We do a lot of things that some people think are weird (rain barrel, composting, etc), but I draw the line at going too far ("Family Cloth" anyone? No thanks, I like toilet paper just fine!). I never really got into a lot of the essential oils stuff simply because I didnʼt really have a pressing need to learn about them. Until my son struggled through a yeast infection last year and I did some research on natural cures. Tea tree oil kept popping up and I decided to give it a shot at our problem.
I was surprised to read that using tea tree oil antiseptically dates all the way back to traditional aboriginal folk medicine. Its widespread recognition as an antimicrobial agent came about through use in the Australian army. The history of tea tree oil is interesting and worth a little googling if you find yourself with time to kill on the internet. (Or you could watch puppies on a live webcam which is apparently a popular enough pastime to make it onto the NBC Nightly News. Who knew!)
Anyways, after reading about how effective tea tree oil could be in fighting our yeast scenario, I put it to the test and was pleased to find that it worked! It took a combination of things to kick the main yeast explosion to the curb (you can read about that here: http://www.theclothdiaperwhisperer.com/search/label/Yeast), but ever since then, if I see a hint of red dots, just a swipe of tea tree oil on a fingertip clears it right up!
Ever since that first exposure to this little wonder, I have found it to have several other very helpful uses that might be interesting to you all!
* Bye-bye triple antibiotic ointment! Little cuts, scrapes and abrasions could all benefit from a good wash with soap, followed by a few drops of tea tree oil!
* Acne blaster! I wish I had grown out of this embarrassment, but Iʼm pregnant again and this lovely little condition has revisited me. After washing my face, I put 2ish drops of tea tree oil in my palm, 1 drop of vitamin E oil, a few sprinkles of water (to make it more spreadable), then rub palms together and spread on face. In the morning I just splash a bit of water on my face to freshen up and donʼt need any moisturizer! (warning - thereʼs no SPF.) Iʼve also put a bit right on a particularly troublesome spot. Tea tree oil has a tingly, somewhat drying feel on the skin (sort of menthol-ish) and kills the bacteria causing the pore infection. A good scrub preceding the treatment helps clear gunk out of pores too.
* Baby bum freshener! When my son gets a little red in the nooks in crannies, I rub a drop or two into the cracks to freshen them up. It also makes his bum not smell so...like a bum...
* Diaper wash sanitizer! If you want to de-germ-ify your diaper wash but donʼt want to use bleach, a little bit of tea tree oil can be just the thing. Make sure you donʼt go overboard because it is still an oil, even though it has a "drier" feel than most oils. Just a few drops in a load will freshen it up nicely!
* Wipes solution funk fighter! If you make a big batch of wipes solution at a time, after a few days the container might start to smell musty, if you keep it closed up tight. This is especially true if you use a wipes warmer - funk likes to grow in that warm, moist environment! Adding a few drops of tea tree oil to your solution will keep things antifunk-ified and fresh!
There are many other household uses that could be listed for tea tree oil! These are the ones that I use most often. How have you used tea tree oil? Post a comment and let us know!
- by Stephanie Gossett