I’m sharing a simple recipe today for a DIY tea tree oil household spray that I’ve been using the past week or so. It inhibits the growth of mildew and molds, so if you’re interested in learning simple ways to use fewer chemicals and still have good cleaning results, read on.
The recipe I’m using is from the book Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World by Kelly Coyne & Erik Knutzen, but there are variations of this spray easily found on Pinterest and other websites. I’m trying to focus on Coyne & Knutzen’s recipes as continuing education for our urban yardstead this month and hope to share the ones I like as I find time to try them in the weeks ahead. So let’s jump in!
What is Tea Tree?
Tea tree, also called Melaleuca, has powerful antiseptic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory properties for both treating wounds and killing household grime like mold and mildew. It comes from Australia’s native plant Melaleuca alternifolia and has been used for at least 100 years for a variety of purposes documented in numerous studies to date.
While Tea Tree oil can be a useful addition to your first aid kit, I’m going to focus purely on its use as a household product ingredient today. The recipe below is for an easy mildew and mold prevention spray for bathroom shower walls, but hopefully later posts will give me the chance to check out some of its other uses, including an anti-microbial addition to homemade laundry detergent, homemade insect repellent, homemade natural deodorant, and face wash to help acne. *Note that nothing I’m listing is for internal use, as tea tree oil is toxic when ingested.
The recipe the Coyne & Knutzen book offered is a bit different than what I ended up using with good results. The book suggests 1 tablespoon of tea tree oil for every cup of water you use. I used about 1 teaspoon for the whole bottle and chose to mix it with vinegar, mostly because I’m stingy and essential oils are expensive. Vinegar offers its own natural cleaning benefits as well.
If you already have mildew in your shower, you’ll need to use good old fashioned elbow grease with an abrasive agent to scrub it off prior to using this spray. After you’ve cleaned well, the spray should be helpful in preventing re-growth if you douse the shower walls with it regularly. It’s become part of my routine to spray the walls and floor each day.
Materials you will need:
Tea Tree Oil (any brand is fine, but make sure the ingredients listed include only 100% Melaleuca alternifolia essential oil).
Simple spray bottle
- Fill your water bottle half way with water and the remaining half with white vinegar.
- Add 1 tsp of tea tree oil
Shake before each use and spray generously on shower walls or anywhere prone to mildew or mold.
Let me know if you try it and what you think.