AS FAR as essential oils go, lavender has to be one of our favourites. It is not only fragrant and refreshing but also has a number of uses around the home.
Lavender oil is readily accessible, and relatively affordable compared to other essential oils. You can get it in most large supermarkets in 100ml bottles, which last for ages as the oil is diluted for use.
Now, while lavender can be used as a cleaner, we find we use it most to freshen things up. Lavender is a great deodoriser, antiviral, antibacterial and antiseptic. As with all essential oils, please heed the safety warnings, such as not using them when pregnant and keeping them out of reach of children.
If swallowed or there is any allergic reaction, seek immediate medical attention. It is also best to use 100% oils instead of the water soluble ones, they simply work better. We love cleaning with lavender oil, so here are some of our hints.
KITCHEN/BATHROOM CLEANER: Lavender oil makes a great kitchen and bathroom cleaner for any household. Place six drops of lavender oil in a spray bottle filled with white vinegar, and you're ready to go. This is particularly good for cleaning benchtops and bathroom and kitchen basins due to its disinfectant properties.
DISHWASHING LIQUID: You can make your own lavender-scented dish liquid by adding about 10 drops of lavender oil to a bottle of unscented dish liquid. Ensure it is unscented, as the scented bottles can mix with the lavender for a bit of a strange smell. Also, make sure not to use more than 10 drops of oil, and feel free to adjust to suit your own preferences in terms of strength.
REPELLENT: Lavender contains properties that are effective in repelling insects. Place 3-5 drops of oil on cotton balls and leave in areas of infestation by insects such as ants, moths and cockroaches. It's even safe enough to put in your pantry. Remember, the lavender oil won't kill the insects, but it will keep them away.
FRESH SCENTED CLOTHES AND LINEN: You can scent your clothes and linen by putting 10 drops of lavender oil on a small piece of cloth and placing it in your drawers and cupboards. Also try putting the lavender-scented cloth in with clothes in the dryer. They will come out smelling gorgeous. This also works for freshening up cupboards, such as the one under your sink, which can get some funky smells.
LAVENDER ROOM SPRAY: Lavender air freshener is the best for getting your entire home smelling sweetly of lavender. Just put 10 drops of lavender oil in a spray bottle with water and a teaspoon of vodka (or methylated spirits). It will absolutely make your house smell clean and fresh, even if that isn't quite the truth. Plus, it repels bugs too which is always a bonus.
Jody Allen is the founder of Stay At Home Mum: stayathomemum.com.au
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