Seeking advice on using tea tree oil for mold / mildew
I moved into a new apartment a few months ago and the shelves above the closet smell bad. I can't get rid of the odor even though I've wiped it down thoroughly with soap & water, aired it out for a week, and then left a cookie tray covered with baking soda in there to absorb any remaining odor for at least 2 months. A friend who smelled it as well feels that it might be caused by mold, so I decided to treat it as if it is mold, to see if it helps. Of course I wouldn't do this unless I felt that there are no negative consequences, so I've done some online research about natural, safe mold treatments and it seems that spraying the area with tea tree oil & water is probably the most effective and also pretty safe.
I just want to verify with you all that it is in fact safe, and any reasonable precautions I can take to ensure that it doesn't harm us. I don't use essential oils very often except adding lavender to my deodorant spray, and I've heard warnings about various essential oils as far as using them properly to ensure safety. What precautions should we take around tea tree oil?
We have no pets or children, it's just my partner and me in the apartment. Neither of us have any significant health issues that make us especially sensitive to any essential oils that I know of.
Also, the recipes I've found for the mold spray all say to simply mix cold water with tea tree oil by shaking them together in a spray bottle. This doesn't make sense to me because I know oil and water don't mix easily; wouldn't they separate and then it wouldn't be the proper proportion? I would assume this would be too watery, since the oil will float to the surface and the sprayer mechanism draws from the bottom of the bottle. I have a vague memory of reading about a process by which you heat (perhaps to a boil) water and essential oil so that they stay mixed. Is this not necessary for my purposes, or are the recipes I found just ignorant of this issue?