This past fall I was inconveniently reminded that sickness wreaks havoc on a family. For two consecutive weekends, I spent my time on the couch fighting off the "germ of the week "I contracted while volunteering in my daughter's classroom. Snotty faces, goopy eyes and bottles of hand-sanitizer cluttered the kindergarten classroom. The teacher's advice: "Don't touch the crayons, pencils or glue sticks." Not possible. With darling faces turning to me for help on creative projects, I proceeded to get down and dirty (literally) as an educator.

Well, the virus spread from me to my daughter, to my son and then finally landed on my husband. We spent the entire month of October bed-ridden, feverish and bummed. After numerous doctor trips and a week's pay spent on supplements and immune boosters, I decided to head the germs off at the pass. In search of a last resort, I welcomed tea tree oil and its antiviral and antibacterial properties into my home with open arms.

After one sniff of this volatile essential oil, I knew it was the one for the job. Tea tree oil, derived from the foliage of the Australian Melaleuca tree, unleashes a potent smell. Its odor signifies the remarkable germ-fighting capabilities of this medicinal potion. It was time for me to ditch the bleach, the doctor bills and the expensive supplements and start cleaning with just…oil. Since then, my family's been healthy, despite the added stressors of holiday sweets and overeating.

If your family's health tops your priority list this winter, I suggest scraping cleaners, hand sanitizers, and bottles of Vitamin C and adopt one inexpensive alternative. See for yourself.

Tea tree oil possesses powerful antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. As a cleaner, tea tree oil eradicates the germs responsible for many illnesses. Surprisingly, tea tree oil kills methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA, the hospital superbug). How's that for potent protection this flu season? Use it to clean your house, paying special attention to handles, faucets, doorknobs and light switches, where germs tend to camp out.

Tea tree oil stops mold in its tracks. Use a mixture of water and 10 drops of oil to keep shower curtain and grout-line mold at bay. While you're at it, divert a squirt to toenail fungus and athlete's foot (I know, gross!). For more information about tee tree's efficacy for medical conditions visit Avre Natural Health.

A little goes a long way. For household cleaning, 5-10 drops of tea tree oil in a bath of soapy water or a spray bottle will do. The recommended dilution rate for most cleaning projects is under 5%, making tea tree oil last much longer than your favorite cleaners. Bring an end to buying toilet cleaner, countertop wipes and shower disinfectants. One small bottle of tea tree oil does it all. Care 2 Make a Difference outlines recipes for specific household uses.

It's non-toxic. Always nagging at your kids to clean up their mess? Well, now they actually can. Say goodbye to gnarly chemicals. Homemade tea tree cleaners are safely handled by kids. True, the oil is toxic if taken internally in large, undiluted doses. Yet, with parental supervision children can grab a sponge and go. Missed spots don't have a chance against germs. As an added bonus, the spillover on tiny hands works as automatic "hand-sani."

A Green alternative. Always wanted to go green but didn't think natural products could cut it? Using tea tree oil to free your house of germs lessens your family's exposure to toxic chemicals. Conventional cleaners incorporate petrochemicals, phosphates and nitrates. As these chemicals rinse down the drain they leach into your water table and effect water quality. Furthermore, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) affect indoor air quality and contribute to outdoor smog. By incorporating tea tree into your daily cleaning routine, you eliminate toxic backlash and automatically ramp up the quality of your surroundings. With the availability of clean air and water, you're guaranteed top-notch functioning of your family's immune systems.

So before germs invade your personal space this winter, take a lesson from me and destroy them by cleaning with tea tree oil. This action challenges the effectiveness of conventional cleaners and proves much lighter on your pocketbook than doctor bills and supplements.

Where to find it:

  • For quality inexpensive oil, buy Aura Cacia Tea Tree oil from Sears.
  • For an inexpensive variety that is ethically farmed visit 100% P.E.O.
  • Jedwards International sells bulk Tea tree oil here.

Remember!!! A little (only a few drops) goes a long way!!

This has been a guest post by Christina from Tetonia, ID
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