When our family started using essential oils I knew that one of the first things I wanted to try making was our own bug repellent. We were already using the most natural repellents we could find (as in no DEET or other nasty chemicals). However, these natural repellents were quite expensive and did not last long for our family of four. I went to my essential oil books and started researching the oils with the strongest bug repellent properties and decided to give them a try and it worked! You do have to reapply more frequently with all natural bug repellent (as opposed to the strong ones containing DEET), but it’s significantly cheaper than buying a repellent from a store labelled “all natural”.
Homemade Bug Repellent Ingredients
- Essential oils: Lemongrass, Rosemary, Cedarwood, Lavender, Peppermint, and Geranium (optional)*
*Geranium oil is excellent at keeping ticks off you and your pets. Because we live in Wisconsin where ticks are very common, I don’t put geranium oil in our bug repellent because I don’t want it diluted. Instead, we put a drop or two on our wrists, rub them together and then use our wrists to rub the oil around our neck area. We also apply a drop to the collar of our dog. Geranium oil can be applied neat and does not have to be diluted. We have been using this method for over a year and have not seen a tick on any of us or our dog. Prior to using the geranium oil, at least one person and the dog would have a tick on them each day we were out in our yard or woods.
- Witch Hazel or Vodka (acts as preservative)
- Distilled or boiled Water
Homemade Bug Repellent Instructions
- Fill an 8-oz. spray bottle* 1/2 full with distilled or boiled water.
*Choose a cobalt blue or amber colored spray bottle to protect the essential oils from light. The bottle should also be glass as essential oils react with plastic.
- Add 30 to 40 drops of each essential oil above to desired scent. The more oils you use, the more effective the repellent will be.
- Fill remaining space in bottle with witch hazel or vodka.
- Always invert bottle several times prior to use to ensure a homogenous solution prior to applying to skin and clothes.
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