DIY Thursday: BUG OFF!

As we head into summer, mosquitos are appearing more frequently. I know in the evening if I am sitting out and am near my hedges at all that those little buggers fly out and bite me. When the boys are bitten, they scratch in their sleep and wind up with big marks.

If you've checked out the ingredients, though, in the most popular bug repellants, you feel as though you're caught between a rock and a hard place. You don't want to suffer from itchy mosquito bites, but you also don't want to spray yourself with formaldehyde releasers and potentially contaminated with 1,4 Dioxane (as found in the Avon Skin So Soft IR3535 Bug Guard) or DEET (as seen in many OFF products).

So what can you do? Make your own!

I have been using this mixture for the past few summers and it really works.

Here is what you will need:

*Lemon or lemongrass, Rose Geranium, Cedarwood & Citronella Essential Oils

*Vodka (any kind, el cheapo is just fine for this)

This one is super easy. If you don't want to order the essential oils online and have to wait a few days for them to arrive (if you need it fr this weekend, for example), go to your natural foods store and buy them there.

This recipe is one to eye ball. You absolutely do not have to have a certain number of drops to get it right. You just need a ratio of about 10 parts vodka to 1 part essential oils. How much of each oil? I am heavier on the citronella and rose geranium. It really doesn't matter, which is great if you're low on a certain oil.

I am using a 4 ounce bottle for this today. I am eyeballing it--it's about 2.5 tbsp. of essential oils to a cup of vodka. I keep this in either a cobalt or amber spray bottle. Store out of direct sunlight (a dark cabinet is fine).

Combine by shaking gently. Now you have a gentle bug spray! Avoid getting it in the eyes, as with any product.

This also does well at repelling other bugs, like no see-ums, flies, sand gnats, ticks, and more.


Lavanya said...

Thanks Karley!
Do you use a plastic spray bottle or a glass one (I just ordered a cobalt blue plastic one today)..I am going to a national park (yosemite) next weekend where there will be bugs (of course)..However, I am concerned with using any scent that may attract bears(since the park has bears)..Will this spray work under these circumstances also or should I switch out some eos..
Currently from your list of eos - I only have lemongrass..I've heard lavender and patchouli can also repel bugs- do you think those would work?..I will probably buy some citronella eo from the local natural food store..

Karley said...

I usually use amber glass and keep a few 2 ounce bottles handy (one in each car, one in the garage, one on the porch, etc.). I have also used plastic without issues (as long as it's not left in the heat).

NOW, as for the bears....I know off the top of my head that anise is an oil to avoid around bears (so you probably want to avoid eating black licorice as well, LOL). I am not sure of others but will certainly check for you.

Lavender would be OK with the lemongrass. Rosemary is another that works well.