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Warmer temps mean that it’s time for fun in the sun, outdoor sports, and picnics in the park. But what else do these pleasant conditions bring? Well, bugs, of course.
There are many over the counter products out there to reduce the number of bug bites. But, going down a more natural path is often the better alternative. Why? Many bug sprays and commercial repellents use chemicals, such as DEET. If you didn’t know what DEET is, this chemical is known to cause neurological issues. It is also associated with causing skin irritation and nasty rashes. While it’s EPA approved, you would be better served to avoid using it DEET is also classified as a pesticide.
So what can you do? Well, you can make your own natural bug repellent. There are many recipes using essential and carrier oils that provide excellent protection.
We’re bringing you a few of our favorite natural bug repellents. These can be made at home using a small number of ingredients.
Just a note that you will need to make sure that you store your concoction in a brown, UV safe container. This will help protect mixture and reduce the potential for spoilage to occur.
While apple cider vinegar has many benefits, especially for the skin. This recipe combines this versatile liquid with natural oils. Just a word of warning, any vinegar that you use has a strong smell in its liquid form. As it begins to dry, this smell disappears. Meaning that you won’t have to worry about the astringent smell for too long.
⅛ Cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
⅛ cup of vodka or witch hazel
⅛ cup of water
60-80 drops of neem oil or four thieves oil
Nothing much to do here. You will need to pour your ingredients into one bottle and shake it up before applying to your skin.
Mosquitos are insects top the list for annoyance. The sound. The mysterious bites. These small creatures are difficult to notice until you feel the familiar itch on your arms and legs. Luckily, clove essential oil was shown to repel insects according to a study conducted in 2004, in the “Journal of Medical Entomology”. For this recipe, whole cloves are infused with alcohol to create a powerful repellent.
2 cups of rubbing alcohol
½ cup of whole cloves
60-80 drops of your favorite essential oil*
1. Infuse the cloves in alcohol for 3 to 4 days. You will need to stir the infusion twice a day to ensure that the everything is properly mixed.
2. Once the 3 to 4 days are over, pour the alcohol through a strainer and into a bottle.
3. Add in your essential oils and shake well before applying to your skin or clothing.
*If you decide to use a peppermint essential oil, make sure not to use this spray on children younger than 2 years old.
This spray combines lemon and eucalyptus to create a refreshing and effective repellent. Lemon eucalyptus oil has antibacterial and antifungal qualities. This makes it useful for cleaning everything from the dishes to dirty clothes. For this particular project though, it’s ideal to reduce the number of mosquitos. As a quick heads up, this should not be used on children under 3 years old.
2 tablespoons of witch hazel or vodka
2 tablespoons of a carrier oil (almond, jojoba, olive, neem oil or grapeseed oil)
50-60 drops of lemon eucalyptus essential oil
1. You’ll need to add your ingredients to a small spray bottle.
2. Be sure to shake the bottle before each application clothing or skin. For the full effect, this spray needs to be reapplied every 2 to 4 hours.
Known for having a wide range of germicidal properties, Neem is effective as a bug repellent. Originating from India, it’s been used for centuries. Using only three ingredients, it’s one of the easiest recipes on the list.
2 cups of witch hazel or vinegar
8 oz of Neem oil
40-50 drops of an essential oil of your choice
1. Mix your ingredients together in a spray bottle.
2. As with the other recipes, the spray will need to be applied every few hours for the full effect.
If you’re tired of sprays and prefer using creams, you can make one using natural butters as a base. Coconut oil is known to help repel insects while also soothing their bites. While this recipe is a little more involved, it’s well worth it to see, or rather not feel, the effects of those bug bites.
1 cup of shea butter
½ cup of coconut oil
½ cup of jojoba oil
2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder or cornstarch
80-100 drops of your favorite essential oil
1 hand mixer
1. Place the shea butter, coconut and jojoba oil in one bowl. Melt the oils down using a double boiler or by placing the bowl into a pot of boiling water. Make sure that no water gets into the oil.
2. Remove the oil from the heat and slowly mix in the arrowroot powder or cornstarch.
3. Cool down the entire mixture in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Remove the bowl from the freezer and whisk the oils using the mixer.
5. Add in your essential oil and whip the mixture using a high setting on the mixer.
6. You’ll need to continue mixing until the cream is thick and fluffy.
7. From there you can put it into a clean jar and store in a cool place.
Making your own insect repellent is not only easy to produce. It’s a good alternative for those who want to use natural products. One of the benefits of using your own products is that you know exactly what is going into it. You can also experiment with the ones that you like the best. So as you get ready to go out and play in the sun, be sure to have your personal repellent packed up.