DIY Bug Spray

Jul, 07, 2015

By Kim Robson:

It’s that time of year when the bugs are out, making outdoor summertime activities miserable at best andbug off 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:

  • Citronella
  • Eucalyptus
  • Tea tree
  • Peppermint
  • Cypress
  • Rose geranium
  • Bergamot
  • Lemon

mosquitoAdd 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!

Kim Robson

Kim Robson lives and works with her husband in the Cuyamaca Mountains an hour east of San Diego. She enjoys reading, writing, hiking, cooking, and animals. She has written a blog since 2006 at kimkiminy.wordpress.com. Her interests include the environment, dark skies, astronomy and physics, geology and rock collecting, living simply and cleanly, wilderness and wildlife conservation, and eating locally.

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