Lavender Sachets: Victorian Air Fresheners

Posted by on Jun 7, 2016 in Frugal For Everyone, Herbs, Lavender | 22 comments

Lavender Sachets

Lavender Sachets, Victorian Style

I’ve been researching Lavender use during the Victorian Era and this has turned into a fascinating project. Queen Victoria was passionate about lavender and insisted on having it used throughout the castle. She believed lavender meant cleanliness and that it purified the body and spirit – we now know she was right on – lavender does indeed have antiseptic, antibacterial and restorative properties.

Of course this meant that lavender was used in lots of different ways – for cleaning, grooming, fragrance, cooking, medicinal, and lavender sachets. With all these items using lavender to choose from, I decided that My Etsy Shop would only feature items based on Victorian products, starting with lavender sachets.

Lavender Sachets – Victorian Style:

Lavender Sachets were an effective way to keep homes free from bugs and smelling nice. A gentle squeeze of the sachets was enough to release the fresh, clean lavender fragrance.

  • SachLavender sachetsets were hung from doorknobs in all public rooms to freshen the air;
  • Decorative ones were hung from the arms of chairs for the same reason;
  • Small sachets were slipped between the sheets in linen presses for the clean fragrance and to deter insects;
  • They were a required item for the bedroom:
    • Several were tucked in with the bedding to deter bed-bugs;
    • One or more were hung from bedposts to clean the air;
    • Small sleep pillows were placed on or under pillows to ensure restful sleep;
  • Sachets were placed in wardrobes and drawers to keep insects out;
  • Quite often a small sachet could be found in a woman’s reticule;
  • Daring young women would tuck little lavender sachets in their cleavage;
  • Small sachets were often tucked in with a lady’s stationery.
Lavender Sachets

Lavender Sachets Victorian Style

Lavender lost a lot of its appeal during the mid to latter part of the 20th century when cosmetic companies developed their chemical products and clever marketing encouraged the consumer to buy. Fortunately we are becoming aware that chemical is not the way to go and many of us have returned to natural, homemade products.

I’m enjoying the research into Victorian times and find it interesting to design products for today based on items from the past. Another item is already on the drawing board which I’ll share with you next month. For now it’s lavender sachets because they are as useful today as they were in Victorian times.

Talk to you again next week,

Lenie

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22 Comments

  1. Though I’ve mentioned before I don’t care for the scent of lavender, I do find the history tidbits quite fascinating. Keep ’em coming 🙂

    • Jeri, the Victorian Era was one of the most fascinating periods in British History, at least that’s my opinion. So many advances – the Industrial Revolution, the rise of the Middle Class, new Child Labour Laws ( no child under 9 was now allowed to work and for no more that 10 hours a day – still sounds pretty barbaric – but compared to what it was before it was a tremendous improvement). Anyway, that’s rather digressing, isn’t it?. There is so much more to be told about Lavender during those times, fascinating subject

      • Years ago, PBS did a reality show where a modern family had to live like they were back in the Victorian era. I found it quite fascinating.

  2. Really liked the history about lavender. Your recounting of Victorian homes using lavender was very accurate, and if you knew anything of the time, they needed that smell in those homes.
    Thanks for sharing this with us.

    • William, I have much more to tell about lavender use in the home and the smell in those homes. Queen Victoria actually scattered fresh lavender over the floors so that anytime someone walked on them they would release the lavender fragrance and mask the more unpleasant ones.

  3. So that’s where the lavendar in a drawer originated! I used to keep a lavendar sachet in my dresser drawers. Now I keep one under my pillow, along with spraying lavendar to help me ease into peaceful sleep!

    • Patricia, lavender is definitely best knows for it’s sleep producing qualities but there is so much more. To me lavender doesn’t really sound as a ‘for men’ fragrance but during the Victorian Era , men’s pomades used lavender. That one surprised me. Stay tuned, much more to come 🙂

  4. I love lavender and try to get upcountry to the lavender farm here on Maui whenever I can. The sachets are lovely and your article reminds me how long it’s been since I treated myself to simple pleasures like this. Thanks!

    • You know Marquita, Lavender is easy to grow and I think you could easily do it in a large planter. That way you wouldn’t even have to leave your deck to indulge. I’m going to be sharing many more ways of how the Victorians used lavender – fascinating stuff.

  5. Lenie — Didn’t know about all the good things that Lavender provides. When I was a youngster my mother put sachets in our dresser drawers.I haven’t used them in years, but probably should. You introduced me to a new word: reticule. I had to look the definition up and found in Victorian days it was a small purse.

    • Jeannette, I’m going to be doing a number of these historical lavender posts – it’s amazing in how many ways lavender was used during the Victorian Era – I have been learning so much from the research and I’m glad I was able to teach you a new word, reticule. I guess I need to remember not everyone knows these highfalutin words LOL. Thanks for the nice comment.

  6. Queen Victoria was spot on. Learn something new from you today.

    • Well, you learning something new from me seems fitting since I seem to learn from your posts every week 🙂

  7. Thanks for the origin of Lavender. I always used Lavender Sachets in drawers since I was a teenager. I love the smell of lavender and I had issues with artificial scents because they would give me a headache. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Interesting post. I guess what artificial manufactured fresheners have that natural ones don’t is a lot of marketing dollars behind them.

  9. I thought the lavender sachets were all about keeping things smelling nice. I didn’t realize they were also used to repel insects. Sounds like a better approach than a lot of chemicals.

  10. After a brisk morning of tidying up the palace, Queen Victoria settled down as a matter of course to a welcome repast of lavender crumpets and lavender tea. Actually, that’s probably not what our Victoria had for brunch, and she probably had someone else do the tidying up in the palace. But it’s an entertaining thought, isn’t it?

    BTW, I am another reader who was unfamiliar with “reticule”, or with “linen presses” for that matter.

    • Andy, you are actually not so far wrong with the lavender crumpets and lavender tea. Queen Victoria (or actually her cooks) actually did use lavender a lot in cooking, baking, etc. and I’ll write more about that later on. As far as the tidying – well, you probably got that right.
      I guess I’m going to have to pay more attention to my use of Victorian words though – I’ve read so much about Victorian times that those words – reticule and linen press – are familiar to me but as you and Jeannette pointed out, not to everyone. 🙂

  11. I love lavender. It is my absolute favorite. There is a place a couple of hours from me called The Lavender Farm where you can walk through the lavender and then go to their store and buy lavender products. Very exciting for those of us living in a city. Your lavender products look wonderful.

  12. I need to add some lavender to my apartment. I’m tired of using chemicals to make it smell better.

  13. Hi Lenie, I love lavender. Beats the smell of chemically created scents any day! The sachets are beautiful and simple… Perfect combination!

    • Hi Susan – The Victorians used lavender sachets everywhere. Depending on the purpose they had to be either small and unnoticeable or if they were going to be in public rooms they were fancy. So it has been a lot of fun trying to put myself in their shoes to figure out what sachets they would use. and of course, lavender, I love it.