Spring flowers are blooming and as beautiful as bouquets are, there are many other fun ways to use flowers in your home. It is important to keep in mind though that the only flowers you should use for the purposes listed here are ones that are from your own yard, organically grown, or sold for consumption. Flowers sold for bouquets and arrangements may have pesticides or other chemicals on them.
Fresh Flower Air Freshener
You Will Need:
- Fresh flower petals
- A mortar and pestle
- A pot
- A jar
- A spray bottle
Steps to Make an Air Freshener with Flowers:
- Crush fresh flowers using a mortar and pestle or blender.
- Put the crushed flowers in a pot with 1-2 cups of water.
- Bring the water to a boil, then let it cool.
- Transfer the mixture to a jar.
- Let the mixture steep in the cool water for 4 days.
- Strain out the flowers and pour the water into a spray bottle.
Dried Flower Carpet Powder
You Will Need:
- ¼ cup crushed flowers
- ½ cup baking soda or cornstarch
- A shaker
Steps for Flower Carpet Powder:
- Get a dried flower that you enjoy the smell of, such as lavender or roses. Dried flowers are often sold at health food stores for making tea, or you can dry your own by hanging them upside-down for a week in a room that has low humidity.
- Crush the dried flowers. This helps to increase their scent.
- Combine the crushed flowers and baking soda in a shaker. A cheese shaker works well for this.
- Sprinkle the mixture over your carpet. You don’t need a lot, just a light dusting.
- Let the mixture sit on your carpet for 30-60 minutes. The baking soda works to remove any odors in the carpet, as well as absorb any dirt or oils on the carpet, and the flowers deposit their scent onto the carpet.
- Vacuum up the carpet powder. It make take several times vacuuming an area to remove all of the carpet powder.
Rose water can be used to clean your face as it is an antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and works well for softening the skin. It also works well for washing or mopping wood due to its high tannin content. The fastest and easiest way to make rose water is to steep a handful of petals in a cup of water overnight. However, what is considered true rose water is one that is distilled.
You Will Need:
- Rose petals
- A cooking pot with a rounded lid
- A brick
- A heat-safe bowl
- A ladle
- A container
Steps to Make Distilled Rose Water:
- Get fresh rose petals from your yard or buy ones that are organically grown or meant for consumption. Do not buy display roses as they may have pesticides or other chemicals on them.
- Set a brick inside a cooking pot that has a rounded lid.
- Put a heat-safe bowl, preferably glass or stainless steel, on the brick.
- Put the rose petals in the pot around the brick. You want to use enough rose petals that they come to the top edge of the brick.
- Pour water into the pot until it is just above the level of the rose petals.
- Put the lid on the pot upside-down.
- Heat the water until it is boiling, then turn down the heat so it is only simmering.
- Pour ice cubes onto the upside-down lid.
- Let the pot stay like that for 20 minutes, then remove the lid and spoon out the rose water that has distilled into the bowl.
- Replace the lid, adding more ice cubes if needed, and let it sit for another 20 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and remove the remaining rose water from the bowl.
- Store the rose water in a cool area. It does not need to be refrigerated, but that could extend its shelf life.
Flower Bug Spray
Some flowers can repel bugs from your body, your home, or from your garden plants that are prone to pests. Tansy is especially good for this as it works well for repelling bugs on some garden plants like squash as well as keeping mosquitoes away. It can also repel ants and flies from a picnic or outdoor garden party. Chrysanthemum works well as a pesticide for almost any garden or landscaping plant. Lavender is a good home bug repellent, warding away flies, moths, and fleas. To make a flower bug spray, simply select the flowers you need to repel the type of bugs you are having a problem with and make them into a tea. (Steep a handful of the flowers in a cup of water for about 10 minutes.) Put the tea in a spray bottle for easy use.
Potpourri and Sachets
Potpourri and sachets, which are bags stuffed with potpourri, are very easy to make. Potpourri is just a mix of dried items that have a strong smell. It is especially nice to make your own potpourri when you can gather the flowers for it while on a walk, hike, or vacation, allowing the final product to hold a pleasant memory in addition to its pleasant fragrance. Other items can be added to the potpourri as well, such as cinnamon sticks, cloves, pine cones, dried herbs, citrus peels, or a few drops of essential oils. To make a sachet, you can either use a tea bag that is sold for making tea mixtures at home or a piece of fabric tied with a ribbon. Some good choices for sachet fabric are natural fibers like cotton or silk. Using fabric to make your sachet allows you to make it any size you prefer, though a small piece (4” by 4”) is enough to work well. If you are making the sachets to keep away closet moths or other textile pests like carpet beetles, dried lavender is especially effective. Sachets can be tucked into drawers or linen closets or hung from doorknobs or a rearview mirror. They can also be tucked into pillows for a more restful sleep. Chamomile and lavender are good flower to use for sleep sachets.
If using fresh or dried flowers isn’t an option, you can use essential oils instead. Besides being fragrant, lavender, rose and orange blossom are also antibacterial.
- For the carpet powder, add 5 drops of lavender essential oil to your ½ cup of baking soda instead of dried lavender and let the mixture sit overnight.
- Several drops in your mop water or vinegar cleaning spray can add a fresh scent to your cleaning fluids.
- Rose or lavender essential oil can be added to laundry rinse water to perfume your clothes. About 10 drops for a large wash is sufficient. Lavender is a particularly good choice for clothing that will be worn outdoors as the scent can repel bugs.
- For an essential oil air freshener, combine 1 cup water and ¼ cup isopropyl alcohol in a spray bottle. Add a few drops of your favorite flower oils, such as jasmine, geranium, magnolia, or plumeria. Shake the mixture well, then let it sit for a few days to develop the fragrance.
- To increase the scent of your sachets, put a few drops of essential oil on a cotton ball and tuck it into the center of the potpourri filling.
- Any of these fragrant dried flowers can be woven into a wreath or garland to freshen your home all season.
- Sprinkle fresh flowers from in your bath water for a fragrant and visually luxurious bath. If you want to buy flowers for this purpose, only buy ones that are sold for eating or tea, as regular flowers may have pesticides or other chemicals on them.
- Flowers can also add a visual component and of course fragrance to homemade bar soaps.
- If you don’t want to make your own rose water, you can usually buy some at a health store.
- If buying rose water at a store, be sure to read the ingredients list thoroughly as they often contain glycerin or other additives that you may not want on your wood surfaces.
- Rose water can also be used to revive tired eyes. Just soak a couple cotton balls in it, close your eyes, and rest the cotton balls on your eyelids for a few minutes.
- Always use caution when you have pets in your home. Some flowers are toxic to dogs and cats, particularly lilies.
- Clean & Green by Annie Berthold-Bond
- Homemade by Reader’s Digest
- Better Basics for the Home by Annie Berthold-Bond
- Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health by Rosemary Gladstar
- The Cleaning Bible by Kim Woodburn
- Joey Green’s Cleaning Magic by Joey Green
- The Country Almanac of Housekeeping Techniques that Save You Money by Richard Freudenberger and Backhome Magazine
- The Miracle of Lemons by Dr. Penny Stanway