Make your entire abode smell like summer by cleaning with lavender oil.
Lavender blooms during the sun-drenched days of high summer, entwining its scent with the season. Why not clean your house with lavender-scented cleaning products, and have a house that smells like summer all year long? As a bonus, you’ll reap the rewards of aromatherapy as you clean.
Lavender is more than just a delightful, summery scent. The essential oil of this fragrant plant has disinfectant properties, and its cleaning powers have long been known. Even before the antimicrobial properties of lavender were discovered, it was used for cleaning purposes. The word lavender itself comes from lavare, meaning “to wash.” Try cleaning with lavender by making our Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner with Lavender recipe, or simply by adding a few drops of essential oil to any cleaning products you already make, such as vinegar diluted in water for cleaning floors.
Cleaning with lavender oil might not sound very relaxing. But there is peace of mind in putting one’s home in order, and the scent of lavender can help ease your mind even further. Aromatherapists recommend lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) for its soothing properties. Plus, the oil is antispasmodic, and can help your muscles relax.
There are many types of lavender, so buying essential oil can be confusing. L. angustifolia is the most commonly used lavender essential oil, but L. latifolia is also used therapeutically for its similar (antibacterial, antimicrobial and antispasmodic) properties. L. ×intermedia, a hybrid of L. angustifolia and L. latifolia, is known as lavandin. Lavandin is a less expensive essential oil because the flowers yield more oil. The odor is less sweet, and although the therapeutic properties of lavender and lavandin can differ, lavandin is antiseptic and antimicrobial.
When shopping for essential oils, check botanical names and choose 100 percent pure essential oils. “Fragrance oil,” “nature identical oil” or “perfume oil” are not the same thing as essential oil. Look for essential oils in amber or cobalt glass bottles that will protect the oils from light. Also, plastic bottles can react with the essential oils and degrade the quality of the oil.
Did you know? The genus Lavandula consists of more than 30 species of small shrubs or herbs, according to Lavender: The Grower’s Guide by Virginia McNaughton (Timber Press, 2000). Lavandula angustifolia is known as true lavender.
Allison Martin is managing editor.
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