Ahh, lavender! It is absolutely one of my favorite flowers and essential oils. I became addicted to lavender 15 years ago during our first Summer Study Abroad Program in Provence. I love it so much that I even started my own sustainable lavender farm! This purple, peaceful flower is most associated with relaxation, sleep support, and yummy smelling soaps and candles, but lavender essential oil can do more than add a soothing, floral note to your bed-time bath blend.
Lavender Lavandula angustifolia (Mill.) (also called French lavender or true lavender) is a fantastic essential oil for green cleaning! It’s especially ideal for those who prefer a light, floral scent to the medicinal aroma that accompanies other well-known green cleaning essential oils like eucalyptus or rosemary. (Note that you can also use Lavandin Lavandula intermedia (Emeric ex Loisel.) for green cleaning, but it has different constituents and actions. I’ll blog about lavandin soon!)
If you love in floral scents, relaxation, and the idea of a sparkling clean home without the use of all those chemical nasties, here are more reasons you’ll love green cleaning with lavender essential oil:
Cleans and Deodorizes Carpets
Lavender L. angustifolia has tremendous antibacterial and deodorizing properties, even against bacteria within the Streptococcus species. This makes it a fantastic essential oil for cleaning naturally. Area rugs and carpets are breeding grounds for odors and bacteria, so I like to try this little trick for fresh and clean carpets without an expensive call to the rug doctors:
Add 8 drops of lavender oil to ½-cup baking soda. Sprinkle over the carpet, wait a few minutes, and then vacuum.
Adds a Fresh, Soothing Scent to Laundry
Lavender essential oil’s deodorizing capabilities can also work wonders on your laundry. Why buy detergent or fabric softener with synthetic fragrances when pure essential oil can disinfect as well as deodorize your laundry?
Put 4 drops directly into the steamer of your iron with the water for a fresh scent while ironing. Add a few drops to the washing machine or dryer when doing laundry. For dryers, add a few drops of the oil to a dry cloth and place it into the dryer along with the wet laundry.
As mentioned, lavender is an effective antibacterial, so it is perfect for making a natural homemade cleaner for your counter tops, tables, and other surfaces. Try this lavender green cleaning recipe:
Lavender Surface Cleaner Spray
Lavender Lavandula angustifolia oil: 3 drops
Bergamot Citrus aurantium var. bergamia oil: 2 drops
White vinegar: 2 cups
Directions: Add white vinegar to a clean spray bottle and add essential oil. Shake well before each use. This cleaner will last indefinitely.
Keeps Moths Away From Your Clothes
Drop some lavender essential oil onto cotton balls and place in drawers, closets or cupboards to deodorize, repel moths, and keep your home smelling fresh.
In my last blog on green cleaning with essential oils, I listed lavender as one of my favorite essential oils for repelling insects. The tip above is ideal if you’re struggling to keep the moths away from your closets and drawers, but you hate the smell of mothballs and conventional pesticides.
Sweetens and Deodorizes the Air in Your Home
It is no secret that the indoor air quality in the U.S. is not the best. Newer houses, built for energy efficiency, don’t let fresh air in and the chemicals out. Not only do we have off-gassing from almost everything in our homes, we also bring chemicals into our homes in the form of air fresheners. Unlike synthetic air fresheners, green cleaning recipes with essential oils don’t simply cover up odors, but they can actually disinfect the air and make it smell fantastic. Try this blend for a soothing, summery aroma around your home:
Sweet Summertime Air Freshener
Lavender Lavandula angustifolia: 15 drops
Orange Citrus sinensis: 10 drops
Lemon Citrus limonum: 10 drops
Grapefruit Citrus paradisi: 10 drops
Lime Citrus aurantifolia: 6 drops
Nutmeg Myristica fragrans: 3 drops
Distilled water: 2 ounces
Alcohol or grain: 2 ounces [Note: Alcohol is optional. If not using alcohol, shake vigorously before each use.]
Directions: Blend all the essential oils and add to the alcohol. Shake well then add the distilled water and put in a spray bottle. Shake well before using. Note: Many citrus oils such as grapefruit and lime are photosensitive oils. This is an aromatic blend meant to be diffused into the air around you and is not intended for topical or internal use.
It’s so easy to fall in love with lavender! But don’t worry if it’s not your cup of tea… there are many other great smelling (and effective!) essential oils that are wonderful for natural cleaning. You can find the perfect essential oil for you in the first blog post of this series: Green Cleaning Swaps: How to Trade Toxic Cleaners for Natural Essential Oils in Your Home.
Or you can always download our free Green Spring Cleaning eBook for even more green cleaning tips and tricks:
How do you use lavender essential oil in your home? I’d love to hear in the comments!
This blog post was written for and first published on the American College of Healthcare Sciences blog on July 2, 2014. Reproduced here on my farm blog with permission.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I am the co-owner of Sherwood Lavender Farm and the CIO of American College of Healthcare Sciences. I sometimes review books and products on this site. I will identify if I have been provided these items for free in exchange for my review, or if I have paid for them. However, in either case, all opinions are my own. This blog may contain affiliate links - using these links costs you nothing but generates a small commission to help defray the costs of running this blog. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine.
Bardeau F. 1976. Use of Essential Aromatic Oils to Purify and Deoderise the Air. Chir Dent Fr 46 (319):53.
Topics: free recipes, Aromatherapy and Essential Oils, green cleaning