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How To: Make Homemade Bug Repellent

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homemade bug repellentDuring the spring and summer months, my mission is clear: avoid bug bites whenever possible! Mosquitoes have ALWAYS loved my sweet Italian blood, but ever since moving to North Carolina, the humid south, this is even more of a challenge. When I was a kid, I’d spray insane amounts of OFF bug repellent all over myself. It was greasy, smelled gross, and had ingredients that were doing my body much more harm than good – but it was the only way I knew to combat the plague of mosquitoes that seemed view my body as an all-you-can-eat buffet.  

As I got older it began to dawn on me that drenching myself in chemicals may not be the wisest choice. I started noticing the labels on the cosmetics and other products I was putting on my skin. Most of them were really long and filled with ingredients I couldn’t pronounce. Our skin is our largest organ and it absorbs whatever is put on it into our bloodstream in just 26 seconds.
homemade bug repellent3 Most bug repellents out there are loaded with toxic chemicals, including the pesticide DEET, which is so poisonous that even the Environmental Protection Agency says you should wash it off your skin when you return indoors, avoid breathing it in and not spray it directly on your face. OMG!! Think about it, if this chemical can kill mosquitoes, it can likely do some harm to you too.

homemade bug repellent5
Which brings us to why you’re reading this article: the recipe to make your own homemade bug repellent. My family and I have been using it for about 2 years now and we all noticed a big decrease in mosquito bites when we started using it. I even spray it on my dog! It’s really easy and requires just two steps:

Step 1: Choose Your Essential Oils

Essential oils are the active ingredient in homemade bug repellent. You’ll need a total of about 50 drops of essential oils per 8 ounces of bug repellent. You can use one kind of essential oil, but I like to mix and match. Quality counts here – make sure you’re using a high quality brand! 

Choose from any of the following:

  • Rosemary
  • Citronella
  • Clove
  • Geranium
  • Lavender
  • Mint
  • Eucalyptus
  • Cedar
  • Tea tree
  • Lemongrass
  • Basil
  • Thyme
    Let me know if you’d like to order the brand I use and love that contains no synthetic chemical substitutes, fillers, or pesticides.

    Step 2: Choose Your Base

    You can choose to make your homemade bug repellent water or oil-based, but always use a glass spray bottle as your vessel. One of the dangers of plastic is its ability to leech chemicals into whatever it is that it’s containing. 

    For an oil-based spray: Mix a total of 50 drops of essential oils into 8 oz. of your favorite carrier oil (mine is fractionated coconut oil). Optional ingredient: vanilla extract

    For a water-based spray: Essential oils don’t mix well with water, so you’ll need to use witch hazel, rubbing alcohol or vodka as an emulsifier. Use about 4 ounces of witch hazel or alcohol in an 8-oz. spray bottle, then fill the rest with distilled water and 50 drops of essential oils. Optional ingredient: vanilla extract

    Have you tried any other solutions for natural bug repellent? Any successes? Or big failures? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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