Mosquitoes and ticks can really put a damper on time outdoors. This homemade insect repellent spray helps keep them away with the power of essential oils.
By Kristen, Contributing Writer
I absolutely love spending time outdoors when the weather is nice. Though we had a couple of April snow storms here in Ohio, things have since turned to blue skies, fresh breezes, and sunshine.
Unfortunately, we’re not the only ones who like to be active outside now that winter is over. As soon as the temperatures warm, pesky insects like mosquitos, flies, and ticks like to join us. Yuck!
Nothing makes me want to go inside more quickly than mosquitos buzzing in my ear. I don’t want them on me, I don’t want them on my children, and I don’t want them snacking on my baby, either.
Homemade insect repellents to the rescue
Insect repellents are often needed to keep time outdoors more comfortable and enjoyable. The ingredients on those repellents aren’t always so lovely, though. Since skipping a repellent altogether usually means either suffering or going inside, I prefer to use a homemade insect repellent instead.
Years ago my husband went to Guyana in South America to assist a church there. He came home with many stories, including tales of the vicious mosquitoes. When he was planning to return the following year, I formulated a solid insect repellent that he could take on the plane and carry with him wherever he went.
The repellent worked very well for him (when he remembered to put it on) and it also was effective for us back home. It’s been our primary insect repellent, and though I still really like it, it has one major downside: I can’t apply it to clothing! When the mosquitos are really bad outside, we still sometimes get bit through our clothes.
A spray repellent, on the other hand, can be applied to clothing so that the bugs stay further away and don’t bite through fabric. Essential oils are the perfect ingredient for a homemade bug spray like this!
Making a homemade bug spray with essential oils is actually an easier process than making my solid insect repellent. It’s simply a matter of combining essential oils with water and vodka in a small spray bottle. The essential oils are just used in a much higher concentration than in an air freshener.
The essential oils in this recipe have been chosen because they help repel both mosquitoes and ticks. They are at a 10% dilution, which should provide protection for about 2 hours, according to the FDA.
Since the oils are at a greater concentration, this spray is best used on clothing and not directly on skin. If you don’t want to mix your own oils, Plant Therapy does make a KidSafe Shield Me along with their adult NatureShield.
Homemade Insect Repellent Spray
- 2 oz. filtered water
- 2 oz. vodka (or witch hazel)
- 60 drops lemon eucalyptus essential oil (Eucalyptus citriodata)
- 50 drops citronella essential oil (Cymbopogon nardus)
- 40 drops lemongrass essential oil (Cymbopogon citratus)
- 35 drops lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
- 30 drops geranium essential oil (Pelargonium graveolens)
- 25 drops clove bud essential oil (Syzygium aromaticum
- In a 4 ounce glass or metal spray bottle, combine vodka (or witch hazel) with essential oils, then shake to disperse.
- Add the water and shake again.
- Label the spray bottle with "Homemade Insect Repellent," ingredients used, and date made.
- To use, shake thoroughly and spray clothing.
- You can make smaller batches by dividing the ingredients or larger batches by multiplying them and placing them in appropriate sized bottles.
This makes a great natural bug spray for adults and children over 3 years of age. For children ages 1-3 and pregnant women, a simple spray of diluted lavender essential oil (120 drops in the 2 oz. vodka and 2 oz. water) can be used for a milder insect repellant.
Here’s to an enjoyable, less buggy summer!