LAVENDER is one of the best known and loved of all the herbs and its many varieties are grown in gardens everywhere, even when no special thought has been given to herbs as such.
Lavender's use for cosmetic and perfumery needs can be traced back to the Greeks and Romans. This highly aromatic herb was probably introduced to Britain during Roman occupation, and its use eventually spread with British colonisation.
Today, lavender's highly aromatic and antiseptic properties have many uses around the home in fragrant air freshener sprays, furniture polish, household cleansers and laundry products.
The following air freshener spray will keep your home fragrant and fresh and its disinfectant qualities will clear bacteria and viruses as well.
Dissolve 30 to 40 drops of lavender essential oil in 10 millilitres of methylated spirits and add to a pump-spray bottle containing 500 millilitres of distilled water. Use on a fine mist setting whenever needed.
As an additional fragrance boost in the bathroom, a few drops of lavender oil can be placed on the cardboard tube inside the toilet paper roll before placing it in the holder.
To clean and disinfect all bathroom ceramics, including baths and shower recesses, where there is often a build-up of grime or mould, use this lavender cleaning paste.
Put two tablespoons of dried or fresh lavender buds in an enamel or stainless steel pan, add 300 millilitres of water, bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes, adjusting water if necessary.
Strain through muslin cloth, squeezing all liquid from the herbs and blend two parts of the herbal liquid to one part of white vinegar.
Reserve a small amount of the herbal mixture. Next, add one cup of pure soap flakes to a pan with just enough of the herbal and vinegar liquid to cover.
Melt the soap flakes over a medium heat, stirring constantly, then add 75 grams precipitated chalk and more of the herbal liquid to form a soft, thick paste. Store in a wide-mouthed lidded container until needed.
To clean bathroom surfaces, apply with a soft cloth, then rinse off. To give your clothes and linen a soft, fresh fragrance add five drops of lavender oil to the softener compartment of your washing machine. If your machine is not quite so modern, simply put a few drops of oil on a face washer and throw that in with the rest of your wash, or pop it in the clothes drier if you use one.
To protect your clothes from moths, add two to three drops of lavender oil to cotton wool balls and place them in cupboards, drawers and between clothes.