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Tea Tree Oil: Effective Alternative to Hazardous Household Cleaners?

By Marie Oser, Managing Editor
May 18, 2012
File under: eco-friendly cleaning solutions, Essential Oils, Health Concerns, Natural Products


Cleaning the house can certainly be a chore, but it shouldn’t expose you to health risks and foul the earth.

The issues associated with toxic chemicals found in household cleaning products that line store shelves across America are a concern to health conscious consumers.

A recent Product Report from the Organic Consumer’s Association stated that the chemicals in many cleaners that foam, bleach and disinfect to make our dishes, bathtubs and countertops gleaming and germ-free, also contribute to indoor air pollution.

Fragrances added to many cleaners may cause acute reactions such as respiratory symptoms, allergy and asthma, headaches, sneezing and eye irritation.

Oftentimes common household cleaners contain substances that are poisonous if ingested and/or harmful if inhaled or touched and many are among the most toxic products of any found in the home.

The Environmental Working Group has released its 2012 EWG Hall of Shame, reviewing more than 2,000 products and 200 brands and exposing the fine print on everyday household cleaners.

The broad range of detergents, softeners, bleaching agents, scouring cleansers, polishes and glass and bathroom cleaners we rely on to keep our homes clean and sweet-smelling don’t have to contain toxins and irritants to get the job done.

Packaged Facts, a leading provider of market research in consumer goods and services estimates retail sales of green cleaners grew 229 percent between 2005 and 2009, more than doubling their footprint in dollar terms and more than tripling their share of the total household cleaner market.

New and innovative products enter the market every day and one of my favorite new finds is a new line of green household cleaners that turn cleaning into an aromatherapy experience.

EarthScents Natural Cleaning manufactures safe and effective cleaning products that are 100 percent natural and scented with essential oils.

EarthScents was created by Steve and Patricia Hess and came into being following a series of reactions to common, chemical-based household cleaners. VIDEO

Designed from the ground up for consumers who are allergy prone or sensitive to chemical cleaners, EarthScents has particular appeal for anyone who is concerned about harsh chemicals entering their home.

Instead of synthetic fragrances, EarthScents contains essential oils, which not only elevate your mood; they may actually have antimicrobial properties.

EarthScents Terra Firma All Purpose Cleaner is antifungal and contains tea tree oil. Distilled from a plant native to Australia, tea tree oil has been shown to have broad-spectrum in vitro antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral activity.

Researchers at the University of Western Australia investigated the antimicrobial activity of tea tree oil.  Of the more than 100 components, terpinen-4-ol, present at a minimum of 30 percent was found to be responsible for most of the antimicrobial activity.[1]

In short, it kills germs, just what we want from our cleaning products, but without the awful side effects.

EarthScents Terra Tough Scrub is a sanitizing and mildly abrasive cleanser with the characteristic aromatherapy bonus that can be used anywhere you would use regular cleanser.

Safe enough for the baby’s room and strong enough to scour tubs and toilets, this green cleaner is no lightweight.

Marie Oser is a best-selling author, writer/producer and host of VegTV, Follow Marie on Twitter:

[1]Hammer, K.A., Carson, C.F., Riley, T.V. 2003, ‘Antifungal activity of the components of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil’, Journal of Applied Microbiology, 95, 4, pp. 853-860.


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An alternative approach to health, wellness and disease prevention. Marie Oser and her team of bloggers bring you creative natural solutions to issues affecting our health and wellbeing.

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