Plan on getting some fresh air this weekend? Leave the chemical-laden bug spray at home. This all-natural insect repellent will keep the critters away, and leave a pleasant scent.
Besides being painful and annoying, certain insect bites or stings can transmit potentially harmful diseases, like Lyme disease or West Nile virus.
Surprisingly, most Americans (75%) are more concerned with the effects of an insect bite, than the effects of the chemicals found in popular insect repellents.
DEET, or N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide (N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) is one of those harmful chemicals, and it is the number one ingredient in popular insect repellents. DEET is a registered pesticide, and is absorbed through the skin, then passes into the bloodstream.
Dr. Mohammed Abou-Donia of Duke University studied the nuero-toxic effects of prolonged use of DEET and said it can “cause brain cell death and behavioral changes.” Abou-Donia also found that “prolonged applications of DEET cause neurons to die in regions of the brain that control muscle movement, learning, memory and concentration.”
Sounds like good reasons to use a natural alternative.
The following recipe is simple to follow, and easy to use.
If you prefer to avoid any mixing and wish to use essential oils only, remember to reapply a few drops every hour, as the body will naturally sweat the oils off.
Cinnamon, citronella, lemon eucalyptus, and catnip essential oils have been found to be equally or more effective than DEET in repelling mosquitoes.
- To start, you will need either a travel bottle or a spritzer bottle, 8oz (approx 200ml) in size.
- Fill 1/2 the bottle with distilled or boiled water. If using boiled water, allow to cool before using.
- Fill the other 1/2 of the bottle with witch hazel.
- Add 30 to 50 drops of your preferred essential oil(s). I like to use a combination of citronella, lavender, eucalyptus, and clove. It smells amazing too!
Remember, the more drops of oil you use, the stronger scent your repellent will have.
It is also possible to make an all-natural insect repellent using fresh or dried herbs.
- Boil 8oz (approx 200ml) of water. Add 3Tbsp (45ml) of your choice of herbs. I recommend peppermint, lavender, parsley, and a few cloves.
- Mix thoroughly, cover, and allow to cool. Covering the pot is vital to keeping the important oils in the water.
- Using a strainer or fine colander, strain the cooled water from the herbs. Dispose of herbs in compost or rubbish.
- Mix cooled water with 8oz (approx 200ml) of witch hazel.
- Pour into a small bottle of your choosing, and store in a cool area- like your refrigerator. It’s ready to use!