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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Homemade Insect Repellent/ Bug Spray Recipe

Since we got married, Mike and I have always lived without an air conditioning unit. In our first apartment, though, we had a terrific cross breeze; we were at the top of a mountain, and a breeze would blow up the mountain, through our apartment from one side to the other, cooling the whole thing, provided we left our windows open.
Only leaving our windows open meant lots of annoyance- we had no screens and the open windows invited all sorts of bugs into our home, including many flies, moths, and mosquitoes.
During that time, we really wanted to take advantage of the refreshing cross breeze, but didn't want to suffer from itchy bug bites. I came across recipes for homemade mosquito repellent, and while I can't say it keeps 100% of insects away, we would be able to sleep with our screen-less windows open and not wake up all covered in bug bites.

In our current apartment, we fortunately do have screens, but unfortunately, the bugs here seem to be really smart and know how to come into our apartment despite the screens... and so, I mix up a batch of mosquito repellent and get a bit of a relief.


There's no exact recipe for this insect repellent- it's very versatile.

What you need is:
Bug deterring essential oils
and
Carrier oils or alcohol

In other words, certain essential oils have a really strong smell that mosquitoes and other bugs don't like, so you use those. However, these essential oils are usually strong and you don't want to put them undiluted onto the skin or it may irritate the skin. Carrier oils are regular oils, like cooking oils or even baby oil or mineral oil, that are mixed with the essential oils to dilute them.
Alternatively, you can use alcohol like vodka to mix with the essential oil instead of a carrier oil.
Oil based insect repellent is rubbed on the skin; alcohol based repellent is sprayed onto the skin.

You can use any of the following for insect repellent essential oils:

Citronella essential oil
Cinnamon essential oil
Peppermint essential oil
Lavender essential oil
Tea tree oil essential oil
Rosemary essential oil
Cloves essential oil

and I'm sure there are other ones that work as well.
I tend to use cinnamon, peppermint, lavender, and tea tree oil essential oils in my insect repellent, as they're what I anyhow have in my house for other things as well.

Mix a few drops of whichever essential oil you're using, or a mix of a few different types of essential oil together with your carrier oil or alcohol.
I tend to use coconut oil as my carrier oil, but in the past I used vegetable oils...
Mix well.
Apply.

I generally just apply a stripe of essential oils in a stripe down the various parts of the body- your whole body doesn't need to be covered with the insect repellent to work, you just want to smell like it.

You can also put your bug repellent on a cloth and leave the cloth in the middle of the room to deter any bugs. This never worked for me, but apparently it works for other people.

I love being able to make my own insect repellent. I love knowing exactly what is in it, that it's DEET and other scary chemical free, that it's non toxic, and that it still works well.
And hey, it doesn't hurt that it leaves you smelling nice as well!
I actually haven't ever figured out the cost comparison, but I'm sure that compared to store bought chemical free bug spray this works out to be cheaper. And since you just need a few drops of essential oil for this, I wouldn't be surprised if its cheaper than generic bug spray as well.

What do you do for bug spray? Do you use it often? When and where? Or do you never have a need for bug spray, and if so, how is that?
Have you ever made your own bug spray? What was in yours?
Does this seem like a recipe you'd try out?
Do you have any of these essential oils in your home?

Linking up to Frugal Days Sustainable Ways Simple Lives Thursday

2 comments:

  1. This is cooler than cool. Desperately needed to as our neighborhood is a mosquito farm because of standing water in neighbors yard...and I can't stand to put the chemical stuff on the babes!

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