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How to Make Your Own Natural Bug Repellent: Safe and Effective DIY Mosquito Spray

Discover a bug-free outdoor experience with my easy guide on making your own natural mosquito and bug spray. Ideal for those looking for home remedies for mosquito bites, ensure your summer is safe and enjoyable without harsh chemicals. If you do not want to make your own, do not stress!  You can click here to get your bottle today!

Family Camping

When my children were young and their father was home from a month of working away, we looked forward to family camping trips. As someone who is naturally cold-natured, I especially enjoyed these outings in the late spring when it was neither freezing nor overly hot—just the perfect mild weather for someone like me. However, as summer approached, so did the unwelcome buzzing and biting of insects. While these creatures play a crucial role in our ecosystem, they often disrupted our enjoyment, whether we were camping, swinging in the yard, or having a picnic. Way back then, everyone just used DEET mosquito repellent. You know, the stuff that hurts when you breathe it in! 

Thankfully now, many years later, I have crafted a simple, natural solution to this annoyance: a homemade bug spray crafted from essential oils, ensuring our current outdoor adventures remain pleasant and bug-free. My grandchildren don’t have to turn their heads and cough when I spray them down, like my children always had to do. 

From my last blog post, I noticed a lot of you checked out my All-Natural Mosquito & Bug Spray. In this post I’d like to discuss why it’s important to go with a all-natural product to repel those pesky bugs. 

Why Go Natural?

Commercial insect repellents, including those known for their high DEET content, often carry risks. Alternatively, there are natural ways to lower bug bites through repellents made from essential oils that offer a safer, more environmental-friendly option. Not only are they gentle on your skin, but they also provide a pleasant aroma that doubles as a natural air spray.

DEET, or N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, is a common active ingredient found in many insect repellents. While effective at repelling a wide range of insects, DEET does come with potential risks and harmful effects, especially with prolonged or excessive use. Here are some of the concerns associated with DEET:

1. Skin Irritation: DEET can cause skin irritation, especially in individuals with sensitive skin, allergies, or psoriasis. Repeated exposure may lead to redness, itching, or rashes. Now that I deal with psoriasis that stuff immediately flares me up.

2. Children and Pregnant Women: DEET is not recommended for use on infants younger than two months old. In older children, it should be used sparingly and according to product guidelines. Pregnant women are also advised to use DEET with caution and consult a healthcare provider before application.

3. Environmental Impact: DEET can have adverse effects on aquatic life and the environment when it enters water sources through runoff or improper disposal. It is considered toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms.

4. Interactions with Certain Materials: DEET can interact with certain materials, such as plastics, synthetic fabrics, and painted or varnished surfaces, causing damage or discoloration upon contact. One person stated he had packed a bottle of insect repellent in his back pack. It had gotten damaged and sprayed the inside of his back pack and literally melted his passport and driver’s license as well as some clothing. Makes you really wonder what we are spraying on our bodies.

You Can Embrace Nature Safely

With a homemade all-natural bug spray in hand, you can venture into the great outdoors with confidence. Not only will you ward off unwanted bugs, but you'll also do so without exposing yourself to harsh chemicals. Embracing nature should be a joyous experience, and with a little DIY effort, you can make it a bug-free one too. Enjoy your summer adventures to the fullest!

Ingredients for DIY Bug Spray: Harnessing the Power of Home Remedies for Insect Bites

Essential Oils: Choose oils known for their insect-repelling properties such as:

  • citronella

  • lemon

  • eucalyptus

  • lemon eucalyptus 

  • peppermint

  • rosemary

  • cedarwood

  • lavender

  • tea tree

  • lemongrass

Each essential oil has its unique scent and is effective as a natural remedy for bug bites, tailored to repel different types of insects effectively. You can check out my line of essential oils for sale in my shop here.

Vanilla Extract: Not only is it a fantastic baking ingredient, but vanilla extract can actually act as a natural insect repellent. Make sure it is pure extract vanilla not imitation. Vanilla extract works wonders when mixed with other ingredients such as essential oils that are known to be effective natural insect repellents. Plus, it makes a great smelling blend!

Witch Hazel: Can actually improve the spray's effectiveness, it heals bug bites and keeps them away. Witch hazel can be used to soothe the redness, itchiness, and skin irritation that comes with insect bites, adding in essential oils makes it a great natural bug repellent. Witch hazel works to remove ticks on pets. Pour a bit over the affected area to make the removal process easier, and then follow up by disinfecting the area with more witch hazel once the tick’s removed.

My Recipe for Homemade Bug Spray: A Simple Home Remedy for Mosquito Bites

1. Choose Your Essential Oils: Depending on your preference and the bugs you're targeting, combine a total of 30-50 drops of essential oils. For example, you could use 10 drops each of citronella, eucalyptus, and lavender.

2. In a spray fine mist bottle, fill with witch hazel, drop in your chosen essential oils. Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Shake well to ensure they blend properly.

Note: Some recipes call for water, I choose to leave out water. Why? I like my products to be preservative free and where water is added, nasty bacteria can grow. I don’t add oil because I don’t like a repellent leaving my skin oily. You can add a carrier oil, such as fractionated coconut oil, olive oil, or jojoba oil, etc... Add a tablespoon to your mixture and shake.

Don’t Want to make your own Natural Bug Repellent?

While crafting DIY home remedies for bug bites is rewarding, sometimes you just need a quick and reliable solution. That’s why I offer a ready-made, all-natural bug spray right here! This product is perfect for those seeking effective and safe home remedies for insect bites without the DIY effort. Discover more about this convenient option by clicking here!

Tips for Using Your Homemade Bug Spray

Shake and Test: Give the bottle a good shake before each use to ensure the oils are well mixed. Before applying to your skin, do a patch test to check for any allergic reactions.

- Apply the spray to exposed skin areas, avoiding eyes.

- Reapply every few hours or as needed, especially after swimming or excessive sweating.

- Store your bug spray in a cool, dark place to preserve its potency.

Thank you for exploring the benefits of natural insect repellents and DIY bug sprays with me. As always feel free to reach out with any questions. Hope you have a great summer!

Kim Howard, Certified Aromatherapist

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