While the EPA has given DEET (the most commonly used chemical in conventional bug sprays) the “all clear” for use on both adults and children, many individuals prefer to find a more natural way to control pests and prevent bug bites.
If you’re among the individuals who want to avoid the use of DEET there are many options that are just as effective yet are made with natural ingredients.
Ingredients that you can control and make at home for yourself and your family.
Following are some natural bug repellents that individuals report work well and are easy to make.
Bug spray using essential oils
While it’s not a harsh chemical like DEET, essential oils can be strong, so it’s recommended to use this mixture on clothing or gear instead of directly to the skin.
Add a combination the following essential oils in a glass spray bottle and shake it well each time you apply it.
Note: All of these oils have been shown to have insect repelling properties, so it’s okay if you don’t have all of them…just substitute another to reach the total 100 drops.
Homemade bug spray with essential oils
Combine the following essential oils in a glass spray bottle. Shake well, then add the remaining ingredients one at a time, shaking after each addition.
Apply as needed.:
- ⬥Geranium – 30 drops
- ⬥Citronella – 30 drops
- ⬥Lemon eucalyptus – 20 drops
- ⬥Lavender – 20 drops
- ⬥1 TBSP rubbing alcohol (or vodka) – to prevent spoiling
- ⬥½ cup natural witch hazel – antiseptic/antibacterial
- ⬥½ cup water (or vinegar)
- ⬥tsp vegetable glycerin (optional) – helps to keep the mixture from separating
While essential oils are derived from plants, it’s still possible to repel mosquitos and other annoying insects by using the plants themselves instead of their oils.
Take lavender flowers or lavender oil and rub it on your skin, especially on your neck, behind your ears and even your underarms because the heat in these parts of your body will help to release the essential oils into the air…kind of like your own personal force field!
You can even use fresh mint leaves – or even basil – by rubbing them all over your skin as an insect repellent.
Eucalyptus plants are hated by insects making their leaves the perfect choice for a natural bug repellant.
- ⬥9 ounces eucalyptus leaves
- ⬥34 ounces water
Boil the water first, then add the eucalyptus leaves. Leave the mixture boiling for about 45 minutes until all the smell has left the leaves.
Pour the liquid into a glass spray bottle to be used on your skin and areas where you normally encounter mosquitos.
Almond oil repellent
This treatment is perfect for kids because it will also soften and smooth skin while protecting from mosquitoes.
- ⬥Almond oil – 3 ½ ounces
- ⬥Geranium essential oil – 20 drops
- ⬥Basil essential oil – 20 drops
Add to a glass spray bottle, mix well and spray as needed.
Simply add lavender to your regular skin moisturizer and apply to your skin.
Not only is the smell wonderful, it will keep mosquitoes at bay, making your time outdoors that much more enjoyable.
Commercial insect repellents
Making your own bug spray isn’t difficult, but if you’d prefer to buy something ready-made, the industry has responded to an increasing demand for natural bug repellents.
Manufacturers now offer natural commercial insect repellents made with many of the same ingredients you’d use at home.
Some more common ones include:
- ⬥Herbal Armor
- ⬥Babyganics Natural Insect Repellent
- ⬥Badger Essential Oil Insect Repellent