How to Dilute Tea Tree Oil?

How to dilute tea tree oil? This is one of the most asked questions amongst newbie aromatherapists. Tea trees’ wonderful antifungal, antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory constituents make them useful for many issues.

Historically, it has been used for skin disorders such as acne, dermatitis, cold sores, dandruff, hair care, and even lice infestations. It’s an accessible and easily obtained oil with many constituents, but it can be a little mystifying how to use it safely. In addition, using undiluted tea trees can lead to skin sensitization.

The maximum dilution is 3% and should always be diluted into a carrier oil. In this article, we’ll look at the many ways to use tea tree oil and how to dilute it safely.

What is Tea Tree Oil?

The oil is distilled from the leaves of the Melaleuca Alternifolia tree, which is native to the low-lying wetlands of the Northern New South Wales region of Australia. 

Indigenous peoples of Australia used the tree in their traditional natural medicines and remedies. Specifically using the leaves and branches mostly brewed and steeped in hot water. For many health and skincare uses.

Thankfully, the hard work has already been done for us. So we are left with a small bottle of mighty oil full of antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antimicrobial, and anti-bacterial natural chemicals.

Diluting Essential Oils

Dilution of essential oils is important when making your recipes for cosmetics/skin treatments, etc.

Using essential oils can lead to skin irritation, and undiluted tea tree essential oil is associated with skin sensitization.

The maximum dilution of tea tree oil is 3%.

Dilution is always easier in metric than imperial because it is a base 10 system.

100ml of oil means that 3% of your solution could be tea tree oil. 

97% carrier oil and 3% tea tree essential oil, although usually, to be extra safe and because of pure laziness on our part, we will say use 100ml of carrier oil and then add your essential oils on top.

Maximum dilution means that…you can safely add less essential oil, but it would not be safe to add more.

The best practice for aromatherapy is to add carrier oils, and at VINEVIDA, we have a wide range for you to choose from.

Also Read: Is Tea Tree Oil Good For Hair?

Thinking About the Bath, or Using it in the Shower?

Remember that oils and water don’t mix. If you draw a bath and put in drops of essential oils - the oils will sit on top of the water and absorb into your skin neat without diluting. This can cause skin sensitivity and be hazardous depending on your oils. Instead, make your 3% dilution for the bath, including carrier oil, and add it to warm water.

Note: Carrier oils make the bath very slippery, so be careful how you get in and out. Always wipe down the bath with washing up liquid or detergent to make it safe for the next person. (If safety isn’t enough of a motivator, perhaps the scum line next time you bathe might be. Carrier oils attract dirt like nobody’s business and are like concrete to try and shift. 

Leave them festering at your peril.

Also Read: What is Tea Tree Oil Good For?

How Much To Use?

For adults, the maximum dilution for Tea tree oil is 3%. 

So, in 30ml of the carrier (whichever medium is used as a base to mix the essential oil with, i.e., oils, creams, or conditioners), you only have 1 drop of essential oil. 

In 60ml of a carrier, 2 drops of essential oil, and so on.  

Some of the recipes below use more drops in water and vodka to dilute the oils further, which can be used multiple times a day.

The only hard and fast rule for adults is 1 drop of essential oil per 30ml carrier. 

When diluting for children or babies, the rules are very different.

For children above six, the rule is 1 drop of essential oil per 60ml of the carrier.

Using essential oils is not advised for babies under six months.

Also Read: Does Tea Tree Oil Help Acne?

Why Dilute Oils? 

Dilution of essential oils is essential (we know, we’re hilarious!) when making your recipes for cosmetics/skin treatments, etc.

ALWAYS dilute oils in alcohol or carrier oils - if you mix essential oils with water, you create an emulsion that will not mix. 

For example, if you draw a bath and put in drops of essential oils - the oils will sit on top of the water and absorb into your skin neat; without diluting, this can lead to skin sensitivity.

What to Use Tea Tree Oil for?

Below you will find a list of ailments or conditions or areas that Tea tree oil can help to support the natural immune function of the body or just to support functioning well-being and even sometimes cleaning if you fancy giving that a go too. Also, recipes use correct dilutions at the very bottom of this article (please stick around).

Colic/Stomach Cramps

Colic, much like stomach cramps, can happen for many reasons. Especially frustrating when it happens in babies and small children - it is defined as “Periods of prolonged crying for no obvious reason in a healthy infant.” This doesn’t help the parents, though, right? So we suggest massage for children and babies with unsettled periods. Massage is skin-to-skin contact in its easiest form. It connects us, comforts, soothes, and hopefully brings relief to the baby and carer. 

We must get things moving for the infant if it's trapped by wind or food isn't being digested properly. This is common in newborns and very young children (or the very elderly) as they can’t move about much. Never fear.  For children over six months, you can use a very weak dilution of tea tree oil in carrier oil (see how to dilute). 

However, only use plain carrier oil for babies under six months.

Massage around the abdomen in a clockwork motion around (not inside) the bully button will get things moving; what we need to focus on is getting the pelvis involved in the movement so as the massage moves outwards towards the sides of the body very gently using both hands on either side of the infant, tilt and lift up the pelvis and buttocks slightly and place back down gently. Repeat this move around ten times and finish with more abdominal massage.

If this is causing distress or the child cries when you touch their stomach - it is perhaps time to give your family Doctor a call, just to be certain it’s nothing other than colic.

Colds, Coughs, and Respiratory Illness

Tea tree oil contains the chemical component 1,8 cineole. It is a fantastic antimicrobial constituent found in the oil proven to help with respiratory problems and support normal immune function when battling colds, coughs, and other respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis.  

When a virus has taken your house hostage, diffusers are your best friend. Don’t buy one if you can’t afford it! If your house has radiators, just make one. Take the compress recipe below and place the damp oily towel on a hot radiator to disperse the oil vapors into the room (Safety! Not on electrical heaters; keep the damp towel away from power points!) 

Steam vaporizing is another way to do it without breaking the bank. A bowl of hot water, a towel, and some tea tree oil are all you need (see below for dilutions). Make yourself a tent where you can inhale the vapors, and it will get straight into your lungs and sinuses to start clearing the excess mucus that’s making you feel a little green around the gills. 

Gasping is another easy method. The oil can be “gasped” directly from the bottle, which is a quick inhalation of the oil to get the constituents of the oil directly into your bronchial tubes and down to your lungs as quickly as possible. (Safety! Be careful not to get the oil on your lips or nose.)

Mouth Ulcers/Canker Sores

Mouth ulcers, known as canker sores, are sore patches, lumps, or bumps that may appear on the mouth, lips, or tongue. They can appear for various reasons, such as an accidental bite or irritation from acidic foods - for instance, pineapples. Tea Tree oil components will help to disinfect the mouth and reduce inflammation or swelling when used as a mouthwash. (Safety! Do not swallow)

Circulatory Stimulant

Massaging tea tree oil (diluted) in areas affected by illness or injury will increase blood supply and circulation to that area. This will support and encourage the body’s normal immune function after trauma or illness.


Dandruff is dead skin found on the scalp - it can be caused by many factors and conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, to name just two. Tea Tree oil can assist in clearing up the dead skin cells or “flakes” by stimulating the sebum glands on the head to produce more oil to rehydrate the flaky skin. This will also use antibacterial and anti-inflammatory constituents to effectively clean the hair and scalp, keeping away germs and preventing infection of irritated skin.

Also Read: Does Tea Tree Oil Help With Dandruff?

Herpes Simplex (Cold sores, Chickenpox, Shingles, Genital Warts)

The types of Herpes Simplex infections are all caused by the same virus. The infections can take different forms, and the symptoms associated with the virus can be helped by the constituents of a Tea Tree oil preparation massaged into the affected areas (given the right dilutions).

Candida Infections/Thrush

Candida infections are caused by fungus. Depending on where it is on the body (vagina, penis, skin, or mouth), symptoms of the infection can benefit from being treated with Tea Tree’s natural anti-fungal chemistry.

Athletes Foot

Athletes Foot is another fungal infection that solely (see what we did there?) affects feet, but if left untreated, it can spread to toenails and become a fungal nail infection too. The antifungal constituents of Tea Tree oil, as well as its different methods of application to affected areas, mean we can target the areas of infection with foot baths, topical ointments, and rubs to get rid of the infection. Furthermore, the Tea Tree oil can be added to the rinse cycle of a wash to sterilize socks (and shoes). It’s very important to sterilize the socks, particularly when you have athlete's foot because you will just keep re-infecting your feet if you wear the same set of socks.    

Head Lice Infestation and Prevention

Head Lice live exclusively on the human scalp and feed solely from human blood. A live infestation of head lice, otherwise known as “nits” (the eggs), can be identified by an itchy scalp and small brown or white (empty) eggs on the shaft of the hair. You can also see the louse moving amongst the hair. They are wingless parasites, so they can only be caught by head-to-head contact with an infected person. Very common in children (and parents of small children). The components of Tea Tree oil are a great natural insect repellent. Especially useful when combed through as a conditioning treatment during an infestation, removing and killing the lice.

Daily hair spray will deter the lice from moving back in to prevent head lice or nits from recurring.

Also Read: Does Tea Tree Oil Kill Lice?

Oily Skin/Acne

The antibacterial constituents of Tea Tree oil can help in the treatment of acne. A daily face wash containing the oil will wash away excess sebum and eliminate bacteria from the open pores and blemishes.

Also Read: Can You Put Tea Tree Oil On Your Face?

Tea Tree Oil and Emotional Healing

Tea Tree oil is an essential oil that not only provides relief of physical symptoms of disease or illness; it is especially beneficial to those of us prone to anxiety, specifically health anxiety when we constantly fear becoming unwell.  

It is helpful when in situations where you may feel as if it could be “unclean” or you might be “at risk” of illness or negative energy. The oil helps us set an emotional barrier or boundary to enhance feelings of being in control of situations. For instance, this is excellent for nurses, carers, or anyone working in a healthcare setting.

Tea Tree Oil for Cleaning

As Tea Tree oil is chock full of antibacterial, antifungal, and antibacterial chemicals, the oil is fantastic for cleaning. It can be used in dilutions for cleaning a whole raft of things, from spraying in the air to rid the air of spores and viruses to adding to washing machines for a final rinse to clothes - and especially clothes affected by fungal infection (see the section on athletes foot).  

The number of essential oils - in this case, Tea tree oil used in any solutions, creams, or oils need to stick to a certain equation or run the risk of skin irritation or, more seriously, toxicity.

Essential oils, by nature, are very strong, and a little goes a long way. As with any time you are mixing anything, it’s always best to be safe than sorry. Like cooking, more of anything can be added later. Start small; add more if you are unhappy with the mix.

Also Read: Best Carrier Oils for Healing Properties of Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree Oil and Safety

Tea tree oil is safe to use. However, please do not use ANY essential oils during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.

Tea Tree oil is generally regarded as a safe oil.

Tea Tree Oil is nontoxic when diluted and used correctly.

Should the oil be accidentally swallowed, drink milk to dilute it, and seek medical advice if you feel unwell. 

In case of skin irritation or rash, wash the area well and seek medical advice if feeling unwell.

Avoid contact with mucous membranes and eyes; in case of contact, rinse the area well and seek medical attention if feeling unwell.

Methods of Use - Recipes 


A sterile wash made with 500ml of boiled, cooled water and 5 drops of tea tree oil make a wash that can be used for all areas of the body (including sensitive ones) as it has been diluted and will be used in small doses. 

    • 500ml of Cooled Boiled Water
    • 10ml of Vodka (alcohol)
    • 5 drops of Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)

Method of Use: Wipe it across the area to clean with a clean flannel or small towel twice a day on your; Face, chest, back - anywhere you want to clean (even the more sensitive areas) 

Safety: Not suitable for use in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.

Facial Toner

Facial toner as part of a skincare routine that will help with acne.  

    • 120ml Cooled Boiled Water
    • 10ml Vodka (alcohol)
    • 4 drops of Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)

Method of use: Apply twice daily in a sweeping motion across the face, chest, or back with a clean cotton pad to remove the last bits of dirt to ensure pores/follicles remain clean. 

Safety: Not suitable for use in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.

Cream and Lotions

Creams and lotions are a great base for essential oils. For example, any unscented plain lotion will blend with Tea tree oil and, when used as part of a skincare routine, will keep the skin moisturized and help your skin be free from germs.   

    • 30 ml of Unfragranced Cream or Lotion. 
    • 1 drop of Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)

Method of use: After cleansing with face wash and toner, apply this lotion twice daily, in small amounts using a circular upward motion (go with your circulation, not against it)

Safety: Not suitable for the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. Do not use mucous membranes (inside nose, mouth, or genitals).

Face Mask

Face masks are wonderful at soothing and deep cleaning the skin; use them once a week as part of your skincare routine. Especially helpful for soothing irritated skin and deep cleaning the pores.

    • 120ml Aloe Vera Gel (true aloe)
    • 3 drops of Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)

Method of use: Once a week, apply this mask using fingertips, and lay a thin layer of the gel onto your skin, avoiding the delicate eye area. Leave for ten minutes and wipe away using the above facial wash recipe.  

Safety: Not suitable to use in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. Do not use mucous membranes (inside nose, mouth, or genitals). 

Facial Scrub

Facial scrubs used regularly are great at keeping skin clear of excess debris to avoid blockages in pores/follicles, which, if they include Tea tree oil, will help prevent acne breakouts from occurring. The honey in this recipe is also a natural moisturizer to keep the top layer of skin nourished while buffing away dead skin cells.

    • 40g or ⅓ of a cup of Sea Salt (Sodium chloride) 
    • 5 drops of Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia
    • 3 Tablespoons of Raw Honey 

Method of use: Once a week, mix the ingredients until you are left with a lumpy paste. Apply in soft circular upward motions avoiding your eye area. Wash off with warm water, follow with toner and lotion (as above)

Safety: Not suitable for the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. Do not use mucous membranes (inside nose, mouth, or genitals).

Massage oils 

Carrier oils dilute essential oils to massage them into the skin. All massage essential oils must be diluted with carrier oil. Any unfragranced oil can be used as a carrier, i.e., grapeseed, coconut oil. In this case, we use grapeseed. 

Method of use: This massage oil is especially lovely when warmed slightly and used as a soothing facial massage oil. It can also be used for body massage in all areas (please see safety).

Safety: Not suitable for use during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. Do not use mucous membranes (penis, vagina, inside of nose, mouth, and eyes).

Steam Vaporizer

Steam vaporizing essential oils is the easiest to help with coughs, colds, respiratory problems, and acne. 

    • 200ml of Water
    • 2 drops of Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)

Method of use: In a large bowl, which holds at least 200ml of water, put 2 drops of tea tree oil and 200ml of hot (not scalding) water on a level surface. Lean over the bowl and cover your head and bowl, making a “tent.” Breathe in the vapors for as long as you can. 

If using for acne, don’t wipe your skin until you have finished vaporizing, and then wipe over with a clean cotton pad to remove dirt and excess oil that your pores have secreted. When done weekly, this gives a fantastic deep clean facial to deep clean pores.  

Safety:  Not suitable for use during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. Not suitable for use during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. 


A compress can either be hot or cold; use it as a circulatory stimulant (hot, bring blood to the area you are compressing), colds (reduces inflammation in the area). 

    • 500ml Water
    • 5 drops of Tea Tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)

Method of use: In a large bowl, fill it with either hot (enough to hold your hand in) or cold water, approx 500ml. Then add 5 drops of tea tree oil. Next, soak a small towel or flannel (if you are over 30, you’ll know what these are) in the mixture - thoroughly wring out the oily water and place on the area you want to heat up or cool down. 

Alternating hot and cold compresses can be used in the same treatment. For example, if you want to draw out the toxins in a pustule (or any infected wound), place a hot compress on the area to open up the pores/follicles. After five minutes, change to a cold compress to rest the pores/follicles. Then use a hot one again. This creates a suction action and is very efficient at drawing out toxins. 

The damp towel for a compress can also be used as a makeshift vaporizer; damp the towel as per instructions and place it on a hot radiator to disperse the vapors around a room. 

Safety: Not suitable for use during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy, Do not use on mucous membranes (penis, vagina, inside of nose, mouth, and eyes). Also, do not place wet towels on electrical heaters or near power points.

Neat Tea Tree Oil

Using neat Tea tree oil is not recommended to help with acne. It can cause skin sensitivity.

So let's Conclude, How to DiluteTea Tree Oil?

As long as you stick to the rule of 1 drop of Tea tree essential oil per 30ml of the carrier for adults - we are sure you’ll do great things and enjoy making your products to help a whole host of things.

Give the recipes a try, and if you like them or if they do wonders for you, please let us know; we’d love to hear from you!

Also Read: Tea Tree Oil for Beard

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