Sunday, April 4, 2010

How to Make Lavender Water

Several years ago, a friend gave me a bottle of lavender water. It came in a spritzer, and I used it to freshen napkins and pillowcases. The calming scent tiptoed into my dreams and I always awoke happy and refreshed. Well--most of the time.
I was sad when I used the last of the ironing water and decided to pull a Mrs. Frankenstein and make my own.

Pictured from left: Lavandula Heterophylla (from Publix--couldn't resist), culinary lavender, lavender water.
My lavender garden needs tending. In fact, it looks pretty scraggly. The icy winter claimed two or three shrubs, though this particular variety was supposed to withstand temperatures below 20 degrees. (We bought the plants at Home Depot 2 years ago.)
Naturally, I'm planting more. Lavender likes a sunny spot and grows 3' tall and 3' wide. I interspersed my shrubs with hardy knockout tree roses. Dr. Big, who is my go-to guy for all things biological, says it's best to pick lavender when the flowers start to open. Farmers know those things. Which is a good, because I'm a terrible gardener.
But I'm trying to learn.
The Country House Kitchen Garden claims that "eating sage butter in the early morning was a rule of life for some, while washing their hands in a scented herbal water, distilled from thyme, lavender, and rosemary was another."

I began searching for a recipe. I didn't want to use dried lavender (though it's delightful for culinary purposes, such as shortbread, honey-lavender chicken, and bread). Last year, several bloggers made lavender shortbread, which is one of my personal favorites.

One recipe called for vodka, as the alcohol preserves the aroma longer than just distilled water, but I wanted to keep this recipe simple and opted for the distilled only.
It smells heavenly, a sort of purple-blue smell.

According to A Modern Herbal, "Lavender was hawked around the streets of London with the haunting call, 'Who will buy my sweet lavender?'"
In those days (as now) dried flowers were tucked into linen closets to infuse the scent into bedsheets. The aroma is supposed to be calming, although the authors of Herbs claims, "Lavender oil is a stimulant used to prevent vertigo and fainting."

What You Need:
1 bottle distilled water
Essential lavender oil
fresh lavender sprigs to decorate outside of bottoe, optional
spray bottle or decanter

Pour water into a bottle. I used spring water because it was on sale--Bandwidth, the biochemist, promised it would work.
Add 5 drops essential oil to every 5 oz of water.
If you are very, very patient, steep the water two weeks. If you're like me and can't wait, just spritz everything from tablecloths to your husband's undershirts. Anything spritz-able (not a word, but you get the idea) will calm the spirit and freshen the house.
It took less than 2 minutes to "make" this, including the time it took to find a funnel.
The cost: less than $5. While fresh lavender sprigs are beautiful in the water, they are organic and will make the water cloudy in a few days.

This would make a darling Mother's Day gift...or even a bridal shower present.

"The air was fragrant with a thousand trodden aromatic herbs, with fields of lavender, and with the brightest roses blushing in tufts all over the meadows. . . .”-- William Cullen Bryant
I'm linking to Metamorphosis Monday over at Between Naps on the Porch.

The Country House Kitchen Garden, edited by C. Anne Wilson, Sutton Publishing in association with The National Trust, London: 1998.
The Encyclopedia of Herbs: A Cook's Companion, editeed by Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz, Dorling Kindersly, Inc, London: 1992.
A Modern Herbal, Treasure Press, London: 1974.
Herbs by Simon and Judith Hopkinson, Globe Pequot Press, Chester, CT: 1989.
Culinary lavender. A wee bit pricey, $6/ounce.

quotation from


  1. I love lavender and will be making this. Thank you!!!

  2. Oh I will have to try this too, thanks so much! Awesome photographs!


  3. I love to iron with scented linen water...Thanks so much for the 'recipe' ~ lavender is one of my favorites!

  4. I planted lavender for the first time yesterday. If the plant survives my black thumb then I will try this. Thanks for the info.

  5. What a wonderful idea! I've seen lavender water for sale but never considered making my own, thanks for telling us how to make it. Your photos are beautiful as always!

    Kat :)

  6. My very favorite- and ours also did not survive the winter :(
    xoxo Pattie

  7. What a fabulous idea! I am going to make for my mother and mother-in-law soon. Thanks!

  8. I love the scent of lavendar. Thanks so much for sharing this great idea.


  9. I can't wait to try making this! I use lavender scented sheet spray from Bath & Body Works. I'd love to be able to make my own.

    Thanks for sharing.

  10. Ho lovely! Oh, I can smell it! I really can! Aren't you just the smartest one! :)
    Be a sweetie,
    shelia ;)

  11. Love this! I was so sad to see that my biggest lavender plant did not make it through the harsh winter this year, but I'll start over again in a couple weeks!

  12. Mine made it thru the winter and are blooming therre heads off! Need to make this! Thansk for sharing!

  13. I just recently made bath salts with lavender oil--very calming! I think "spritzable" is definitley a word---if not, it should be :) I'm not sure I have a spot sunny enough for a lavender plant--but I'm looking!

  14. I love lavender. Everything about it is so romantic. I would like to try making this.


  15. I'm beginning to think you're after Martha's job! ;)

    Be sure to stop by AtticMag this week for a Giveaway!

  16. I have a garage full of lavender from last summer's harvest and this seems like a great way to use it. Thanks for the recipes. Your photos are gorgeous!

  17. We will definitely try this! We love the scent of lavender! Thank you for sharing!

  18. Your photography is stunning! Presentation is definitely your talent! Thanks for sharing and have a great week!

  19. This sounds SO wonderful, I WILL make this and SPRITZ everything!!!! Hope you had a wonderful Easter!!!! XO, Pinky

  20. I make my own as well -- it's terrific. One of my June "chores"!

  21. beautiful pics, i love all things lavender and rosemary...

    hope your feeling better, one whiff of this should work wonders! and if not, add the vodka and take a slug~

  22. What a wonderful gift idea! Your pictures put me in such a happy mood. Thanks for sharing. :)

  23. Oooh....I definitely need to try this!!!! HAPPY EASTER!!!

    It's finally feeling like SPRING down here in Huntsville! I hope it's as lovely up there in TN!

    Hugs, Lana

  24. I love lavender water and it is stupidly expensive to buy... great to be able to make it!!!

  25. Hello Michael Lee, Thanks for having so many fabulous give-aways! I wanted to let you know that I have placed your Beaucoup Give-aways button on BOTH of my blogs' sidebars: and
    I'm also a Facebook fan, a newsletter subscriber and a follower....and, this weekend I delved deep into your blog archives...there is a lot of good information there! I went back through almost all of your 2009 entries. You certainly are a prolific writer...but it isn't just QUANTITY; it's (more importantly) QUALITY.
    Love your blog, love your attitude; You Go Girl!!!
    Thanks for following my Food As Art Blog too - appreciate it. I'm having fun creating tablescapes and teas etc there - as well as my gardening blog - finally it's spring and there's something to photograph besides SNOW! he he he
    Hugs, Beth
    p.s. Check out on Tuesday for a very special birthday tea in honor of a very special lady (inspired by you - you did this last year)...

  26. How did you know that I bought Lavender seeds this weekend? Of course, they will take some time to grow,....
    Paula ~ Mise en scène

  27. Oh Gollum, I can smell the heavenly scent even now! Very cool! Thank you for sharing! :) Hope you can stop by when you get a chance!

  28. What a lovely post! Lavendar reminds me of my grandmother. Just thinking about that heavenly scent is enough to make me relax a bit.

  29. I've just been renewing the scented wardrobe parcels in all my clothes cupboards. My lavender isn't due to flower until much later in the summer, but I'm already looking forward to following your recipe and spritzing lavender water all over my linen. Thanks so much!

  30. I love the smell of fresh lavender growing in my garden. I grew it for a couple of years and then it died out. I had a potted plant last year but didn't keep it. I can't wait to get some planted in the ground this year. Hopefully I too will be making lavender water:)

  31. Sweet greetings from Frog Hollow Farm. Lavender is absolutely my favorite perennial to grow and the scent, just luscious - so calming I just want to jump right into the whole stand of lavender. I love this recipe but have a question, does the lavender oil ever leave a small oil mark on the sheets or other linens? Magnificent photos by the way, you have a gift!
    Ciao, bella!

  32. I love this! I'll be making it ~ definitely. The photos are always so gorgeous...these are just delightful.

    Have you ever tried B&BW Lavender bath products? I LOVE to shower at night using the gel and then the lotion. Sleep like a baby...and the next morning your nightie smells like lavender. Just heavenly!

    Brightest blessings,

  33. I love the scent of lavender...though I've never heard it described as purple-blue!

  34. I think my lavender plant is DEAD!!!Last week Andre Viette told me to cut it back to see if there would be any new growth, and I really don't see anything that makes me think it is alive. I guess I need to bite the bullet, dig it up, plant a new one, and move on. I need to copy your recipe down for the lavender water. Thanks so much for posting it.

  35. Awesome information. I love the smell of lavendar on my pillows at night.

  36. Michael Lee, This is a wonderful post! Oh, I love beautiful and lucious aromas. The recipe is so easy and your presentation exceptional! I will certainly make this.
    I too, grow lavender (and I am not a great gardener- I love the IDEA of gardening) and use dried lavender. Don't you love to walk into a room that smells fresh and perfumed?
    Thanks for this great idea!

  37. The photos and directions were lovely as the lavender water itself! I make lavender rice bags that you heat in the microwave and put on sore muscles or under your pillow to calm and help you sleep. I have a 3 ear old lavender plant in my organic garden in my pre-k playground. Thanks for sharing!

  38. Just bought a Lavender plant last weekend. Trying to find a place to plant it. Wish me luck!

  39. What a lovely posting. I'm going to make some of this! Your photos are beautiful as always.

  40. One of my autistic students loves the smell of lavender. I bring in stalks from my garden and she stops by my desk regularly to run her hands through it.

  41. I love lavender water. But like Deana said, "It's stupidly expensive to buy"
    I've always wanted to make it, now that I know it's easy to make, I'll be right on it.

  42. you've inspired me...I wonder what other essential oils I can turn into spritzers?

  43. I make lavendar water, but I just use essential oil. I never thought to make it using real lavendar and letting is steep. Thanks!

  44. My daughter is allergic to lavender...any other spritzers you can recommend making to replace the lavender? I would hate to spray this on her pillow or napkins, but would love another option!

  45. Love this idea! We use lavender oil all the time. From mosquito bites to keeping fleas off our chi's. Awesome stuff!

  46. cute, cute, cute idea!
    i also really would like to win the kitchenaid mixer giveaway. :)

  47. This is an absolutely beautiful site: Beautiful

  48. What an excellent tutorial. Thank you for sharing!

  49. Stunning photos as usual!

    Happy Holidaze!


  50. What a great post! I use lavender everywhere in my home! I would love to make this! Thanks! ♥

  51. Hi! Inspirational post, I must try it. I have plenty of lavendar growing in my yard! Love your blog! Looking forward to reading one of your books this weeks! Have a nice week! Sunny109

  52. this is beautiful! I love your pictures

  53. I am obsessed with lavender have over 3 different kinds and about 6 plants thru out the yard ( had more but the winter snow/ frost killed a few here in Little RI) I'm going to try this. Also looking to make the actual essential oil as well. Anyone have a good recipe for it?

    Carla L from RI

  54. Reminds me that I need to harvest my Lavender soon, before the frost takes it.

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  61. Thank you do much for your lavender room fragrance recipe ! I will be trying to make my own. Your photographs are beautiful !

  62. Beautiful ...simply beautiful...your lavender water brightens up a cold,wet and windy day here in England...thankyou Michele x

  63. I see you used Eden's Garden Essential Oils, are you happy with them? I was looking into using them for my essential oils

    1. Hi, Meaghan. Eden's is the only brand I've tried, and I was happy with the results.