Lavender is one of my top aromatic plants to use in my gardens, so there is an abundance of it around every year. After years of procrastinating, I’ve finally set out to make my lavender oil. At the outset, I didn’t think it would be that hard, and luckily it seemed to be a fairly easy process.
Having some lavender oil around during the winter seemed like a great idea. Every time I mow, I always grab a few sprigs of lavender and crush / rub them in my hands and take a huge waft of the scent. Besides just the aromatic properties, lavender oil has been used for centuries as a moisturizer. I wonder if this will cut down on Cara’s massive lotion allowance, probably not.
So in my research into the processes of making lavender oil, I found several techniques. I’m going to run through all the techniques and then talk about my experience making the lavender oil.
Side note: These techniques will make lavender oil and not lavender essential oil. It’s important that is clear to you.
Step 1: Dry Your Lavender
It’s imperative that your lavender is completely dried out before you begin to infuse any oil. If you fail to properly dry out the lavender sprigs, then it becomes likely that your lavender oil will become rancid.
Luckily, drying lavender is a very straightforward and easy process.
- Cut your lavender off with hand pruners or scissors. Make sure to cut off at least 6 inches from the lavender.
- Use some rubber band to tie the lavender together at the base of your cuttings. We will use a rubber band over twine because, as the lavender dries, it will shrink slightly in size and we don’t want it to fall apart. You may see some pieces fall to the ground despite the rubber band, and you can either take enough cuttings that this doesn’t matter so much or you can re-attach any fallen sprigs.
- Hang the lavender cuttings upside down in a dry, warm spot that will see direct sunlight as you let it sit there for the next 12 to 14 days.
That’s all it takes to dry out your lavender, and now we can begin to infuse our oil with the lavender.
It was a surprise to me to learn that the purple flowers don’t hold all the scent of the lavender. In fact, if you like, you can separate the flowers from the stems by using a tube of rolled-up newspaper and roll them on a table (back and forth). The purple flowers can be used on their own for eye masks or drawer sachet.
Lavender Oil Technique – Cold Oil Infusion
You will need some supplies:
- Large Jar – used to infuse the oil with lavender
- Cheesecloth or muslin – to strain with
- Large bottle – to store your fresh lavender oil
- Dried Lavender – enough to fill your jar with
- Mineral oil or Olive oil – enough to completely cover the lavender inside your jar
Clean out your jar and completely dry it, then place your dried lavender into the jar. Pour your oil over the lavender until it is covered completely.
Place your jar in a window sill that will see a good amount of sun; it will sit there for the next 3-6 weeks. The sun over the next month or so is what will release the parts of the lavender plant that will infuse the oil. Once you’ve decided the oil has sat there long enough, pour it through your cheesecloth into your last bottle.
Certain instructions I found called for lightly crushing the lavender with flowers still intact and then putting them into your first jar. I also discovered instructions that suggested shaking the jar on a daily basis. The slight crushing makes sense, but the daily shaking of your lavender oil seems like an unnecessary step that I did not follow.
Lavender Oil Technique – Crock-Pot Infusion
Just like the other technique, you start out with dried lavender cuttings, but this time you fill your crock pot with 1 half cup of lavender to 1 whole cup of oil. Set your crock-pot on low and let it steep for the next three hours. Let the oil cool and strain it through cheesecloth. This technique sure seems a lot quicker, but I think I like the old school method I mentioned first. I would probably go with the crock-pot method for lavender oil if I were trying to make a large batch of it all at once.
What Oil to Use for Lavender Oil
I stuck with olive oil since we always seem to have an abundance of it, but there were some other suggestions that I found through my research.
- grapeseed oil
- jojoba oil
- sweet almond oil
- sunflower oil
As long as you stick with natural oil that doesn’t have an overpowering scent of its own, you will probably be safe. I even saw a recommendation for witch hazel oil. The main benefit was that if you were going to use the lavender oil as a lotion, the witch hazel oil would act as a natural skin toner.
How do You Store Home-Made Lavender Oil?
Simple answer, anywhere you want. Pick out a bottle that you like and store away; lavender oil should last you a lifetime in any bottle. Stopping by a second-hand store or antique store to find a vintage perfume bottle would be very classy, but I’m probably just going to keep mine in a Ball mason jar.
My name is Peter Weeks, Writer of The Daily Gardener. Gardening has always been my passion, nothing gives me quite the satisfaction that feeling the soil sift through my fingers does. Give me a spade, a shovel, and a rake, and I can happily while away the day transforming a patch of land into a beautiful oasis. To me, gardening is life. It’s not a career. It’s not a job. It’s something that I truly love doing. It’s a way of life, a passion that I’ve no intention of ever giving up.