Colder temperatures mean less air circulating indoors, as we close up windows and seal cracks against the elements. But that doesn’t mean you have to surrender to stale indoor air. By using lavender around the house, you can cultivate a relaxing environment and clean effectively. Lavender essential oil is antiseptic and antifungal, plus it can soothe the nervous system to help boost the mood in your abode.
1. Smooth Skin: Use salt and dried lavender buds to exfoliate dry or troubled skin. Make a simple salt scrub by combining 1 cup kosher salt, 1 cup almond or olive oil, 5 to 10 drops lavender essential oil and 1/4 cup dried lavender buds.
2. So Fresh: Pour dried lavender buds into a pretty, shallow bowl, and let the aroma waft through the room. This is especially useful in a little-used guest room, keeping it smelling fresh and welcoming for your visitors.
3. Heaven Scent: Add disinfecting lavender essential oil to an electric diffuser, or make your own reed diffuser by mixing 1/2 cup grapeseed oil with 20 drops lavender essential oil in a small glass bottle and adding bamboo skewers. (Although any carrier oil will work, grapeseed oil is great for this project as it doesn’t have much of an aroma.) Note: Make sure the diffuser is kept out of pets’ reach so they don’t ingest the essential oil.
4. Counter Intelligence: Make a simple countertop cleaner by adding 4 cups of water, 4 tablespoons of castile soap and 10 drops of lavender essential oil to a spray bottle. Wiping down the counters will be so much more enjoyable with the scent of lavender in the air, and the antiseptic and antifungal properties of the lavender essential oil will help clean and disinfect.
5. Top Mop: For a home that smells like a spa, top off a natural floor-cleaning solution of 2 quarts water and ½ cup distilled white vinegar with 5 to 10 drops lavender essential oil.
6. A Better Bath: To chase away winter chills, add 10 drops lavender essential oil to a hot bath. Lavender is antispasmodic, so the soothing, aromatic water can ease headaches and mild muscle pain. Indulge in this bath an hour before bed to reap lavender’s relaxation benefits and get ready for sleep.
7. Sweet Sleep: If you are having trouble falling asleep, dab 1 drop lavender essential oil on each of your temples right before bed. Some people’s skin is too sensitive for undiluted essential oil, so test it out first on the back of your hand. Alternatively, combine the essential oil with a bit of jojoba, almond or olive oil in a jar. Shake to combine, then dab the mixture on your temples.
8. Stretch It Out: During the coldest days of the year, it can be easy to let exercise routines slip. But it’s also the busiest time for many families, so we need the grounding effect of moving our bodies. Before a big event, schedule time for a quick stretch. Dab a drop of relaxing lavender essential oil on each palm, rub your hands together and focus on the lovely lavender scent. Then stretch every major area of your body (if you do yoga, you could run through a quick yoga series). You will feel calmed, refreshed and ready to tackle your plans.
9. Top Drawer: Make an easy sachet for your sock drawer with dried lavender buds. Buy a reusable muslin tea bag from the bulk section of your grocery store, and fill it with lavender. Tighten the strings, tie the end off and toss it in with tights, socks and slips.
10. Face Time: For a quick, aromatic face scrub (with the skin-soothing benefits of lavender essential oil), pour a tablespoon of jojoba, avocado or almond oil into your palm. Sprinkle in a bit of fine sugar, then add a drop of lavender essential oil. Massage onto your face, then remove with a steaming washcloth to cleanse, moisturize, exfoliate and soothe skin.