By Cassie Johnston
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I used to be able to sleep through anything and everything. I could fall asleep almost anywhere. But as I’ve gotten older, I’m starting to notice that sleep doesn’t come as easily anymore. That’s normal. Not only are your worries and responsibilities usually more taxing on your stress levels as you get older, but there is also a physiological explanation for the lack of sleep—as you get older, your body slows its production of melatonin, which is the hormone that helps regulate your sleep cycles.
Before I was pregnant, I would often taken melatonin supplements before bed, and it worked beautifully for me! But like many natural remedies and supplements, over-the-counter melatonin has not been well-tested on pregnant or breastfeeding women, and so it’s recommended that those of us with child skip the melatonin for the duration of pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Sleep has become even more difficult for me during pregnancy. Insomnia is a very common side effect of pregnancy, not just because you are uncomfortable and worrying about how you’re going to pay for college in 18 years, but also because the cocktail of hormones running through your body actually makes sleep more difficult. Of course, I can’t control my hormone levels, but what I can control is my sleep environment. And I’ve noticed a huge change in my quality of sleep if I set myself up for success. I splurged on nice sheets, blankets and pillows for my bed. I keep my bedroom clean and clutter-free. I try to keep my bedroom a “screen-free” zone. And I use lavender linen spray.
Lavender is a herb that is widely known to help with nervousness, anxiety, stress, and sleeplessness. It doesn’t make you sleepy like taking a sleeping pill would, but what it does do is help take the edge off of sleeplessness. And then my comfy pillows and blankets take me the rest of the way!
To make my linen spray, I use lavender essential oil. Now, a word of warning, while essential oils are all-natural, that doesn’t make them safe to use without caution. You should use extreme caution (and do lots of research!) before using any essential oils—including lavender, which is generally considered one of the “safer” oils. You should make sure to look for high-quality essential oils—that doesn’t necessarily mean more expensive. You should look for 100% pure essential oils (and avoid anything that’s labeled as a “fragrance” or “perfume” oil). Higher quality oils usually list both the common and botanical name of the plant that the oil is derived from (this helps with some oils, where different varieties of the same plant are used for different purposes). Also, don’t necessarily be swayed by a label that says “therapeutic grade.” There is no regulated grading system for essential oils—so anyone can write “therapeutic grade” on their label if they want to. I actually use NOW Foods essential oils for most purposes. They are very affordable, and they are very clear with their labeling—which is not true of all essential oil companies. They do sell some non-100% pure oils, but they are clearly marked on the bottle as blends or synthetic (which I don’t buy). They are also readily available at Whole Foods and on Amazon.
Last bit of warning on essential oils: you should never use essential oils undiluted without the advice of a professional. And it’s a good idea to avoid using any essential oils, even diluted ones, during the first trimester of pregnancy, on small babies and children, or on or near pets. In particular, lavender oil is thought to be a dangerous one for cats.
My linen spray has a very, very light concentration of lavender oil, and even with that high-dilution, I make sure to only use this spray on items that my cat doesn’t frequent. I’d never spray this on the cozy throw blanket that my cat likes to curl up and take naps on. And never, ever apply lavender oil (diluted or undiluted) directly to a cat or it’s fur. And always make sure a cat has lavender-free area it can escape to—i.e. don’t spray this stuff all over your house or use lavender oil in multiple diffusers all around your home. And as always, if you see any sudden changes in behavior in your pets, consult your vet.
The truth is, the number of well-organized studies about essential oils is limited, so a lot of the warnings about essential oils are based entirely on anecdotal evidence. And while lavender essential oil may not affect your cat at all (some folks even recommend combing lavender oil into a cat’s fur to deter fleas), I have no desire to make my pretty little kitty a test case. And I’m not sure I could ever forgive myself if my need for a good-smelling home ended up injuring or killing my kitty. I’d rather be safe than sorry, but please, do your own research.
Okay, wow, that was more than I was planning on writing about essential oils! Anyway, let’s get back to this linen spray. Like I said above, I don’t use it everywhere, but I do like to use it on items that are directly around me during sleep. I spritz it on my sleep mask. I spritz it on my pillow. If I’m taking a shower or bath before bed, I spritz it on my towel and bath robe. If I didn’t have an adorable Kittyface trotting around, I’d probably spritz it on every single blanket and pillow in our house! It smells so good. It’s not overwhelming, and like I said, it doesn’t make you feel sleepy. It’s just a light floral scent that I find so calming.
Even though this post is obnoxiously long, the process to make linen spray is obnoxiously short. It’s so easy! All you need are three ingredients: pure lavender essential oil, a diluter liquid (you can use vodka or witch hazel), and water.
You’ll also need a spray bottle. You can use any old spray bottle you have kicking around, as long as it’s been cleaned well. I like these blue glass spray bottles because the dark color helps keep UV rays from breaking down essential oils. Plus, I just generally try to keep as much plastic out of the house as possible. Oh, and they’re adorable. I love adorable things.
Makes 4 ounces
In the jar, combine the witch hazel or vodka and the lavender essential. Place the lid on tightly and shake well for 15-20 seconds to combine the two. Why? Well, the essential oil won’t distribute into the water on its own, but when diluted in the witch hazel or vodka, it will mix into the water.
Open the lid to the jar and add in the water. Replace the lid and shake again for 15-20 seconds to combine.
Place the funnel in the opening of the spray bottle. Pour the mixture from the jar into the spray bottle. Replace the spray bottle lid. Because my bottles are two ounces each, I split the mixture between two bottles. One stays by my bed, the other travels with me. This stuff really helps make hotels and guest rooms feel more homey!
Print, cut out, and stick the label of your choice to the bottle. If you’re using the smaller bottles like I am, print the labels at 65%. For four-ounce or larger bottles, print at 100%. If you don’t have label sheets kicking around, you can also print the label onto regular paper, and then use clear packing tape to neatly adhere the label to the bottle by using the tape like lamination over the entire label.
Spray on your pillows, sheets, and blankets. Sleep well!
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I’ve had sleep issues for the last 9 or so years and manage it with sleep hygiene (tidy bedroom, no screens in the bedroom and an hour before bed and the occasional sleeping pill). When things were really bad, my doctor suggested that I treat myself like I would a toddler who was finding it hard to sleep and I stuck to a strict sleep schedule for about 6 months, going to bed and getting up at the same time each day, whether I felt like grim sleepless death or not. Eventually my body got the message and mostly I stick to within 2 hours or so of that schedule now and stop sleeping properly if I get of the habit. Which explains my sleeplessness and jet lag combo this week!
Other stuff that helps, surprisingly enough, Vicks Vapour Rub, I don’t know why but I rub it on the back of my neck and that helps, I’m going to have to try the linen spray and see if that has the same affect!
I also made up a batch in the same way using grapefruit essential oil and I use both on the ironing!
Only vaguely related to your post: Do you use that Thayer’s Witch Hazel as a toner for your skin? I started using it maybe 3 weeks ago (the rose hip variety) and it has CHANGED MY LIFE. My skin is so soft and my dark acne scars are beginning to fade. Also helps keep acne at bay which is awesome for me because I’m allergic to salicylic acid!
I don’t! Although I’ve heard lots of good things about it. I actually have dry skin (especially in the winter!), so I usually stay away from toners. I DO you use it for a lot of natural toiletry/household items though. Like this spray, and homemade bug spray and hand sanitizer.
Just came across this post, can I use the Thayer Witch Hazel Rose water to make this spray?
If so I’m making it tonight!
Thanks a million.
How do you make your hand sanitizer?
You can find it here! https://wholefully.com/homemade-hand-sanitizer/
i absolutely adore Thayer’s Witch Hazel with Rose Hips, and i agree it totally changed my life!! another fabulous toner to try is pure rosewater. i prefer the brand Cortas, as it’s 100% pure rosewater. you can find it in most international markets for like $3/bottle. i use it as a toner mainly, and in the summer i like to keep a spray bottle filled with rosewater in my fridge. coming in from a hot summer day and spritzing rosewater on your face is incredibly refreshing and soothing to hot or sunburned skin.
I’ve been making a lot of my own health and beauty products as well as cleaning products. So I’ve built up my stash of essential oils. Like you, I have a kitty kid in the house and am very cautious about using EOs around her…I was so glad that you mentioned the possible dangers to cats that essential oils may pose.
Having said that, I want to thank you for the printable labels…I like to label my creations and these labels are so much cuter than anything I could print by hand (can you say scribble?)…I have the day off work today…you’ve inspired me to get in the kitchen and create.
I have heard really bad reports about taking melatonin. It’s been on Dr. Oz, you might want to check that out if you haven’t. I do find heavy exercise helps me sleep better, but I realize you cannot do that now with your pregnancy issues.
Dr. Oz is a hack who wants to sell products, not real health. He has zero credibility. He has become a “brand” that is used to shill.
Dr. Oz states on his show EMPHATICALLY that he does NOT endorse any products. So if you see something online with his name, it’s PHONY!
He actually does endorse as he is partner with Usana Health. Here is the link. Doesn’t matter to me what he claims on his TV show. https://www.usana.com
Melatonin is naturally occurring in our body and is actually in higher levels in teenagers, hence there tendency to sleep more. There have been extensive scientific studies on it’s use and efficacy and the overwhelming findings are that it is safe with no known adverse side effects. Larger doses than those prescribed do not result in better sleep.
Awesome!!! I love the lavender body products from Trader Joe’s. I like to take a lavender bath before bed. I’ll have to add this to my routine!
As a fellow melatonin addict, I’m thinking this just might be the first DIY project I actually try. Thanks, Cassie!
Hi Cassie! I love your posts! I’ve been using essential oils for a long time (I went through a serious candle-making stage) and have made a linen spray using lavender and water, but I didn’t know the trick about using witch hazel or vodka to disperse the oil before adding water. Thanks!
And I love your printable labels, but was wondering where you got the pretty glass spray bottles?
Hi! i found these bottles at Whole foods, i just made this tonight and now I wish i would have bought more!
Thanks Cassie for your posts!!!
I make a lot of different skin care products, and if you have dry skin you can use rose water as a toner. Without the witch hazel or alcohol it is non-drying but does a really nice job tightening pores and refining your skin. Plus, rose is a natural anti-depressant, in terms of aromatherapy!
I really appreciate your mentioning the danger of essential oils to cats. I’ve recently become enamored of homemade products. I love essential oil and have researched it extensively, but still didn’t know about the “cat factor” until recently. Hardly anyone mentions it at all; I had to search specifically for sites that talked about it. So thank you for doing so! And I’ve bookmarked your linen spray recipe, so thanks again.
Hi! I’m also concerned about the effects of essential oils on my cats… What websites did you use? Which ones are safe? I’m trying to research but it’s slim pickings!
For a wonderful free essential oils 101 class, go to aromahead.com. Please do not use essential oils on your furry friends (I am a certified aromatherapist) – the oils are so concentrated and can be toxic. Diffusing is safe and always leave a way for your furry friend to leave the room if the aroma becomes too overwhelming for them.
I love the spray! I am having trouble with the spray nozzle getting clogged. I have to clean it with water after each use. Am I doing something wrong, is there a trick or is it the spray bottle?
I’ve never had an issue with my bottles clogging. I use these (awesome) bottles specifically made for use with essential oils: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000VV21G4/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B000VV21G4&linkCode=as2&tag=batohero-20
Saw something on Shark Tank the other night, and was reminded of this post. Totally think you should do this, now that you have a little munchkin (for your personal use of course, not for Shark Tank :)…
Make a label that says ‘Monster Spray’ (or closet monkey spray, ghost spray, big hairy spider spray, alligator spray, etc) and use it for when your kids have bad dreams or won’t go to sleep because of ‘monsters under the bed’. Just tell them you will spray your magic potion to keep the baddies away, and they get the piece of mind of knowing you have kept them safe and hopefully will go to sleep, all while smelling delightful lavender (or other flavor). Love it!
So, this lavender spray is ok for a two and a half year olds room?
L love linen spray. Thank you. Talking of toners, you should try rose water diluted with water, just spritz it on. Leaves your skin refreshed and toned! You can make your with rosé petals, so easy. And it’s such a skin softener. I grew up with the witch hazel rose water combination. My parents knew a thing or two obviously!
Thank you so much for the information about lavender and cats. I have 5 little Kittyfaces running around, and they all like to sleep with us. I had no idea lavender was so dangerous for them. Love your site!
My 6 year old daughter recently asked me to make her a “worry spray” to help her not worry so much so I used your linen spray to make her one to spray on her pillow before bedtime. The only thing I did different was I used a Sweet Dreams essential oil blend from Pharmaca. It smells great and it made her so happy, she’s spraying it on her pillow, stuffed animals, everything I will let her basically. Thanks for the post. I was wondering is it okay to spray on your skin?
NO! Especially on children. Essential oils can interfere with estrogen production, so it’s important to treat them like medication. Even more concerning is that they are not regulated by the FDA, so unless you’re making it yourself, you cannot control what else may have gotten into it. Skin absorbs high amounts of anything put on it, and it goes straight into the blood stream – so I’d make sure whatever she sprays it on is dry before she touches it. Small amounts are okay, but if she’s like I was as a kid, small turns into a lot quickly. :)
Robert is one the foremost experts on essential oil safety,
Hi! I love your linen spray and those labels are awesome! Just wondering how you created those labels? Do you use a special program?
Adobe Illustrator. :)
Help, I am dying to get the cute blue bottles you use and print the labels but I cannot for the life of me figure out how to make the labels smaller when I print. Any help or suggestions??
I would like an answer to this also ,, love the labels
When you go to print the labels, look for the box that says “Scale” and change it to the proper percentage that you are looking for. Then print :)
Thanks for this post! I am finally getting into using essential oils after researching for some time and this will be the first thing I make! Just got my glass spray bottles in today!
Here’s to restful nights :D
Hi, I made this this morning and it still smells a bit like witch hazel. I even added an extra drop of lavender. Will it go away over time?
Sara, it’s been my experience that as the spray dries the witch hazel aroma fades away and the lavender lingers.
I used vodka to create my spray, and not Witch Hazel. I already had some vodka on hand (wink) and didn’t feeling like spending extra money on a big bottle of WH. Quality vodka is odorless, so if you were to use it in your linen spray vs WH, then the only thing you’d smell is the lavender. :)
Hope that helps!
I also used some good vodka I had uh “laying around” ;) haha and it no smell except lovely lavender! I do love witch hazel though. Also, the witch hazel and lavender blend is an awesome healing relief for sunburn and even better if you stick it in the fridge! It starts feels better immediately!:)
I love this linen spray. i took a 2oz bottle with me when I travelled to visit family and sprayed my bed linens in the hotel. Hotels always smell kind of antiseptic to me so it was wonderful having my own familiar fragrance. Occasionally I’d spritz it on the air conditioner too.
This is great! Would this recipe also work for different scents? such as orange and bergamot for uplifting and mood boosting or rose for a toner? I would think the proportions would be the same just to be sure to use 10 drops of EOs for the recipe.
Thanks for the post!
Hi thanks so much for the cute label PDF! That is awesome. I was wondering if anyone had substituted rubbing alcohol for the witch hazel? I only have vanilla flavored vodka, and no witch hazel, but I have plenty of rubbing alcohol. I am kind of worried about using rubbing alcohol in the bed though (but vodka and witch hazel are flammable too).
I bet the vanilla and lavender would still smell amazing, I even considered adding some real vanilla extract to mine! :)
I think it has to be 100 proof vodka. Not 80 proof. Just a little FYI
I don’t have all the fancy label paper or glass bottles, but I made it in a budget-friendly plastic bottle labelled with a Sharpie and it works just as well. ;-) Great recipe for linen spray..
Can the linen spray be sprayed directly in the room?
Hello there! Just wondering how long the spray usually lasts before it starts to go “off” without any preservatives. Does anyone have an old bottle of this around that is still good?
It should last quite a while! I’m still working on my bottle from over a year ago. :)
I just ordered a couple of bottles and am excited to make my own spray. I don’t have any fancy programming (or skill) to make the labels for myself. What size/brand labels did you use? How can I make cute labels like yours for different scents? I don’t particularly like lavender, but find vanillas and jasmines soothing.
Hello, I really love this idea!! I just tried it and I followed your instructions exactly…but when I spray it, I don’t smell the lavender at all….only the witch hazel! what could I be doing wrong?? The witch hazel I have is a cheap one from the drugstore…and it also has purified water and alcohol in the ingredients…hmm maybe that’s why it didn’t work. Is the witch hazel that you used pure??
Try good vodka instead of witch hazel;) Thats what i did and i only smell the lavender.
Lavender scent wears off fairly quick- any key to making the scent last longer?
I found if you use a carrier oil with the essential oil it helps it last longer. i use almond oil as my moisturizer and add a few drops of whichever essential oils to it and it seems to stick around longer. I haven’t tried this in the spray though as i wasn’t sure if the carrier oil would clog the sprayer.
Hi Cassie, I wanted to make this for sure. However, which type of water should be used? Distilled? Also, like the others are wondering, should the witch hazel be pure? Thanks Again!!
Thank you for your post. I have been making this for about six months and we use it every evening. I think it is helpful for nice relaxing sleep.
i find it very difficult to get these things in my country Nigeria but i really need the lavender linen spray. is there a way we can work it out? i have gone to malls, stores and supermarkets yet i did not find the lavender linen spray or even the oil. i would like to have friends so we can share ideas together. please. here my email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I tried this twice. I would just like to ask if how long does the lavender scent from this recipe usually lasts? I think mine only lasts for sometime like 5 minutes only unlike the usual lavender spray bought from the stores.
Anyway, the scent is awesome. i love it. I just wish it’ll also lasts a little bit longer. :)
Couldn’t be more delighted to have stumbled into your blog! Happiest of New Years.
I first became a lavender devotee when it was included in an airline’s international flight kit. Not only does it freshen-up my space, helping to create my cozy private zone, but is a lifesaver for all manner of odor one is exposed to while locked in a small metal can for 12 hours and more, with 400+ new “best friends.”.
I’m the crazy lady spritzing!
What size labels do you need to print these onto?
I use NOW brand oils also. I would love any info you have about them and why you like to use them. I discovered them through ordering vitamins from Vitacost. Thanks!!!
So glad I found this and thank you for all the specific details! I don’t want to use alcohol when I make my lavender sprays because I live a sober life and have for 6 plus years! So no alcohol allowed in my space! =)
I’m going to try this with witch hazel, yaya!
Can you replace the vodka with white rum?
I tried this recipe, using witch hazel, and found that it doesn’t scent my linens at all. Smells wonderful in the bottle but once sprayed on linens (pillows, betting, etc) the scent is totally dissipated! I am using the same ingredients as shown. Any ideas?
I do believe that if using Lavender essential oil (Lavandula Angustifolia), you’d want to increase the amount of essential oil drops. I personally add around 30-40 drops per 4 ounces of liquid. Of course, the amount of drops depends on the essential oils you use. Some essential oils can be quite strong (think Ylang Ylang) and in this case, it’s best to start with a lower amount of drops and then add more as needed. You can always add more, but you can’t take away. :)
I use a lavender sachet popped into my pillows lip and it works great…
Nice, but the witch hazel has got a very strong smell on its own… it covers the lavender smell!
It is important to know your Latin binomial for the essential oil you are using. For this you will want Lavender angustifolia which is quite different from the bottle pictured. Buy quality essential oils as many of the cheaper ones have been adulterated with other ingredients. Mountain Rose Herbs has excellent oils as does a shop on Etsy called Z Oils. Avoid getting sucked in by pyramid companies that sell their oils for exorbitant prices.
Most of all do your research and do not apply essential oils without being diluted to the skin and do not ingest them.
please tell me where i could buy the little blue funnel you feature in your post … thank-you.
I just got it in the cooking supply section at my supermarket. :)
This is such a great idea! I was wondering if the witch hazel I have (Dickinsons) would leave a weird smell, since it smells kinda weird. Also, another website suggested distilled water… Is there a difference vs. regular water? Oh and what would happen if I used a clear plastic spray bottle instead?
Plastic bottles aren’t the best because the oils can break down the plastic. Glass is always the best way to go!
Have any of you had issues with the mixture smelling musty after a while? Just wanted to ask before I did this.
We talk a great deal here at Apartment Therapy about keeping things clean and our persistence about it is quite strong when it comes to our bedrooms. They seem like a magnet for dust and allergens — not to mention clutter from other parts of our home. Today we’re taking a stand and saying, enough is enough!
I have tried to make a room spray to use directly on my pillow when I am falling asleep. I used witch hazel and about 20 drops of lavender oil and filled the rest with water. However, I am not able to smell the lavender even after I put about 20 more drops in. Am I doing something wrong? I am using either a 4 or 6 oz glass bottle.
If I were to use vodka would it smell strongly of vodka?
I’ve read some articles that you can use rubbing alcohol instead of witch hazel. Do you think this would be okay? I don’t have witch hazel, but I do have rubbing alcohol or vodka. Which would you sugguest?
Yeah! I’m totally saving this for later. This would be a great gift at Christmas. My sister makes this and I loved it, not only for linens, but also as a general air freshener. She adds a few drops of peppermint or grapefruit essential oil which seems to add a little freshness to the lavender.
Can alcohol be used instead of witchhazel?
Thanks for this recipe! Have you ever used Young Living Essential Oils?
Thanks for this, I love the idea and want to try it!
Should I use regular or non-alcoholic witch hazel? Does it matter?
Cassie used regular! I’m not sure how it would work with non-alcoholic.
These labels don’t fit a 2 oz. bottle. Do you have them in a smaller size to fit a 2 oz?
If you’re using the smaller bottles, print the labels at 65%. For four-ounce or larger bottles, print at 100%.
Thanks for this! Just mixed up a little in a travel-size spray bottle (with witch hazel, which I was surprised I still had), and spritzed a bit on my mattress while I wash my sheets. I didnt sleep a wink last night so I’m hopeful this will do the trick!
Hope you got some sleep!
Nice recipe (I have a larger bottle so I just double it) Last time I made it, I dropped a sprig of rosemary in the bottle. Amazing! Smells so good, I spray it on my pillows & sheets every night.
Hi where did you buy this funnel ??? I love this, my first time on this site I’m definitely addicted now!
I think she found it in the cooking supply section at her supermarket. ?
Would this deter moths in a closet? Would it be sale to spray on hanging wool coats and jackets?
Honestly? I don’t know! I’ve never dealt with a moth problem. My first thought would be to add some cedarwood essential oils to the mix to help deter them—I know they don’t like cedar!
Made this for the first time. Used vodka as I didn’t have witch hazel. Instructions were easy to follow. Sprayed my sofa and chairs – smelled great! If you want a stronger smell add more drops. Will definitely make again…..thanks.
What do you use as a preservative to prevent mold?
The witch hazel and vodka are natural mold-preventers. I’ve never had a problem with mold. :)
Thank you so much for this simple and wonderful linen spray recipe! I love it!
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