By Kim Robson:
It’s that time of year when the bugs are out, making outdoor summertime activities miserable at best and impossible at worst. None of us wants to use chemical bug sprays, especially those that contain DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide), which is absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin, and can cause neurological and other health problems.
There are a number of commercial bug sprays that are more eco-friendly, such as EcoSmart and Repel Lemon Eucalyptus, but they’re terribly expensive. Why not, then, make your own natural bug spray? It’s so easy that you’ll never want to buy bug spray from a store again. Here’s how:
Natural Insect Repellant Ingredients:
- 2 tablespoons of witch hazel
- 2 tablespoons of Neem oil (contains natural insecticidal compounds) or, failing that, you can also use grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, olive oil, or Avon’s Skin So Soft bath oil
- ½ teaspoon vodka (as a preservative)
- 100-110 drops of various 100% pure essential oils
Sample Essential Oil Blend:
- 55 drops lemon eucalyptus essential oil (good natural substitute for DEET in repelling insects, according the CDC — not recommended for use on children under 3 yrs.)
- 15 drops cedarwood essential oil
- 15 drops lavender essential oil (use Lavandula angustifolia and accept no substitutes)
- 15 drops rosemary essential oil
Other Essential Oils To Try:
- Tea tree
- Rose geranium
Add all ingredients to a well labeled small squirt bottle (darkly colored or opaque are best) and shake well before each use. As with any bug spray, it will work best if you reapply it every few hours, especially if you’re sweating. Store in a cool, dark place when out of use.
Of course, you’ll want to experiment with various oils to find a combination that works best for you and the insects you’ll be encountering in your area. The homemade insect repellent recipe above works well for mosquitos, flies and other annoying summer season bugs.
As always with essential oils, young children or women who are pregnant or nursing should consult a health practitioner before using them. Regardless, always perform a patch test to check for any allergic reactions before using an essential oil for the first time.
Just because it’s buggy out there shouldn’t stop anyone from enjoying the great outdoors, especially this time of year. Avoid those toxic chemicals and whip up a batch of natural bug spray, and have a blast this summer!