With Summer on the brink and an upcoming vacation to a lakeside cabin in Georgia, I wanted to try my hand at an all natural bug spray to take along.
I scoured the web for legitimate resources in the “all natural” department to make sure everything is safe, non-toxic and actually natural. While many of the sites recommend using rubbing alcohol as a base, there is some dispute about the toxicity of rubbing alcohol. When in doubt, don’t use it!
Pure essential oils are the repellants used in all natural bug repellant, the most common being rosemary, lemon eucalyptus, eucalyptus, peppermint and citronella. You can also play with scents and add others like lavender and tangerine! Pure essential oils are available online and at local health food stores such as Whole Foods, Sprouts and Henry’s. I bought mine at Sprouts.
The base for repellants vary. Some use water, catnip tea or aloe vera juice, and others use a mixture of oils such as vitamin e, neem or olive. I used a mixture of water and vitamin e oil (which I purchased at Trader Joe’s), next time I want to play with some of the other options, like catnip tea (since we have some catnip at home our kitties don’t use) or olive oil (since we always have tons of this at home). Oil bases may last a little bit longer and will help to moisturize your skin at the same time, which is why I added vitamin e oil. Next time, though, I may opt for an all oil base.
I already had peppermint oil at home and decided to try lemon eucalyptus and rosemary as well. One batch has all three and the other batch just lemon eucalyptus and rosemary. Both smell great, so we’ll just have to wait and see which one works better!
I used a ratio of 50% base (water) and 50% oils (vitamin e + essential). The vitamin e oil was added simply as a moisturizer for my skin, so I used approximately half vitamin e oil and half essential oils. I did not measure how much of which essential oils I used, I just kept adding and mixing until the scent was strong and satisfying.
The process is simple: pour ingredients into a spray bottle and mix. Since the oils may separate, be sure to shake well before use. Play around with different mixtures to find out which ones work better for you. Over the weekend a friend and I went hiking in a forestry area. We used the spray with peppermint and it worked! The only issue was that we had to reapply after about an hour since the scent dissipated and the bugs started to return. But it kept them away and at bay for around an hour while we were hiking and even after the hour there weren’t as many and they seldom landed on us, just flew around us. It will be interesting to test out the other spray while we are in Georgia to compare and see if there are any differences in the bugs we have here and the ones there.
Next bug repellant project: all natural bug repellant soy wax candles. Stay tuned for the DIY!
Are you going to make your own all natural bug repellant? If you do, leave a comment below or on the Facebook Page letting us know what you used and how it works!
UPDATE: in my research for non-toxic flea control for our future pup (check out Doggy Diaries if you need to catch up!) I came across this article that outlines a bunch of all natural ideas. One of them is the use of essential oils and this bug spray fits the bill. Hooray for dual purpose products!