There is nothing worse than trying to relax and enjoy the outdoors while simultaneously being eaten alive by mosquitos, right? I try to avoid commercial insect repellents, especially those containing DEET. I just do not feel good about putting something on my children’s skin that was originally created as a pesticide, no matter how effective it is. Luckily there just happen to be some really lovely smelling essential oils that are great at repelling insects. My family just got back from a road trip in the mountains of Colorado and it is BUGGY out there due to all the spring rain. We gave this recipe a final test run and it honestly exceeded my expectations. We managed to stay relatively bug free. I only came home with a few mosquito bites and usually they eat me alive!!! And the kids don’t have any bites on them. The key is to spray often as essential oils don’t have the staying power of the stronger synthetic bug sprays. It is always best to wear long pants and long sleeve shirts when possible. Spray any exposed skin (be sure to avoid spraying in the eyes), spray your clothes and spray around the area that you are relaxing or playing in. Repeat the process again in about 30 minutes.
The main ingredient in this blend is Lemon Eucalyptus oil, from the Eucalyptus citridora tree. It contains a constituent called para-menthane-3,8-diol, which is among the four ingredients recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention as the most effective bug repellents. Of course, they only recommend products containing the isolated component, para-menthane-3,8-diol, and not the pure essential oil. But I like to do things naturally and, in my personal experimentation, I have found the pure essential oil to be quite effective. Then we throw in Citronella, Lemongrass, Lavender and just a touch of Cinnamon Leaf and you have a power packed combo of essential oils well-known for their insect repellent effects. One of my favorite things about this blend is that it smells great too. I hope it helps you have a fun-filled, bug-free summer!
All-Natural Bug Spray Recipe
4 fl. oz Water
25 drops Lemon Eucalyptus Essential Oil
15 drops Lemongrass Essential Oil
10 drops Citronella Essential Oil
10 drops Lavender Essential Oil
2 drops Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil
Simply combine all ingredients together in a 4 oz spray bottle and shake. Shake well before each use. Spray exposed skin, clothes, blankets, tents and in the air around you. Avoid spraying in the eyes. Avoid spraying children’s hands as they may rub their eyes causing irritation.
Please remember that everyone is different and everyone has a different level of sensitivity. If you experience any skin irritation from the essential oils, discontinue use immediately. You may need to try the oils one at a time, properly diluted, to determine what works for you and what doesn’t.