5 ways to use lavender at home | SA Garden and Home
TEXT JANE GRIFFITHS PHOTOGRAPHS JANE GRIFFITHS AND KEITH KNOWLTON

In addition to its wonderful fragrance, lavender has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal and antidepressant properties. There are several ways to use lavender. Jane Griffiths reveals five everyday uses for this pretty shrub. 

Lavender Growing Tips

5 ways to use lavender - growing tips

A native of the Mediterranean, this hardy perennial likes full sun. Although is drought tolerant, it adapts well to a range of climates. It flowers nearly all year round, attracting many beneficial insects with its fragrant purple spears, while its strong-smelling leaves repel aphids, whitefly and other harmful insects. It is also a rodent repellent, and if rats are a problem, a lavender hedge around a vegetable garden is a good deterrent.

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Grow lavender from seed in seed trays or purchase seedlings. It dislikes being damp, and if its roots are constantly wet, it could die. Plant it in well-drained soil with plenty of space for air to circulate. Prune in early spring, cutting back about 8cm of growth. If you cut the flowers regularly, it will keep producing more.

LAVENDER AND SOAPWORT WASHING LIQUID

Soapwort with lavender creates a gentle washing liquid ideal as a mild shampoo, liquid soap or for delicate clothing.

5 ways to use lavender - how to make lavender soap

Ingredients

1l water

2 cups chopped soapwort leaves and stems

1 cup lavender flowers

10 drops lavender essential oil

Method

Bring the water to the boil, add the soapwort and lavender and cover. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Strain and add the essential oil. Use immediately or store in the fridge for up to a week.

READ MORE: All you need to know about growing lavender

REFRESHING FOOT BALM

This moisturising balm for feet includes lavender and tea tree oil to keep any fungal baddies away.

5 ways to use lavender - how to make lavender foot balm

Ingredients

30g cocoa butter

30g beeswax, grated or chopped

2T shea butter

2T almond oil

20 drops peppermint essential oil

5 drops tea tree oil

10 drops lavender essential oil

1 cup plant-based aqueous cream

Method

Melt the cocoa butter, beeswax and shea butter in a double boiler or a bowl set over simmering water. Stir in the oils and mix well. Remove from heat and whip the mixture often as it cools. Whip in the aqueous cream until smooth and decant into sterilised containers.

AIR FRESHENER

This refreshing mixture will clear a room of tobacco smoke, cooking odours and other stale smells.

5 ways to use lavender - how to make lavender air freshner

Ingredients

1½ cups apple cider vinegar

1T rose water

3 drops each lavender, coriander, eucalyptus and tea tree essential oils

Method

Mix the ingredients together and seal in a sterilised bottle. Heat a few teaspoons in an oil burner as required.

READ MORE: HOW TO MAKE HERBAL REMEDIES

SCOURING PASTE

This fresh-smelling paste can be used to clean stubborn dirt and stains from baths and counters. Rub on and leave for 10 minutes before scrubbing off. It also works well for cleaning grubby hands and feet after gardening.

5 ways to use lavender - how to make lavender scouring paste

Ingredients

1 cup water

1 cup natural soap

small block pumice

1T dried lavender flowers, crushed

10 drops tea tree essential oil

10 drops lemon grass essential oil

10 drops lavender essential oil

Method

Heat the water until it’s boiling and add the soap. Reduce the heat and stir until the soap has melted. Remove from the heat and stir often as it cools and thickens into a smooth paste. If necessary, add more water. Wrap the pumice in an old cloth and crush it using a hammer. Grind it to a fine powder in a pestle and mortar. Add the pumice powder, lavender flowers and essential oils to the soap mix and stir through. Store in a wide-mouthed container.

MOTH-REPELLENT MIX

Instead of distinctive-smelling moth balls, use herbs to repel moths and leave your clothes smelling fresh and sweet. This recipe takes care of another problem we all have – the sock thief. Somehow, no matter how careful we are, we land up with single socks. Now you have a use for them. Stuff them with herbs and tie a knot in the top to create a no-fuss herb sachet.

Ingredients

Equal quantities of strong-smelling dried herbs (such as lavender, lemon verbena, rosemary and rose-scented pelargonium)

Cloves

Dried citrus peel

Method

Mix the dried herbs together. For every cup of herbs, add ½ teaspoon cloves and 1 teaspoon citrus peel. Divide the mixture among single socks or old stockings and tie the tops securely. Toss in with jerseys and winter clothes.

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