I am one of those people who must have a neon sign to bugs that screams, “Come and get it!” Bugs like to chew on me and I used to spend most of the warm months scratching and itching.
I like prevention.
I don’t like using those commercial bug sprays. They smell disgusting and aren’t good to put on your skin. Whatever you put on your skin eventually makes its way into your bloodstream. Many of those commercial repellants have DEET and other poisons that are harmful to kids and pets.
We like to natural methods that bugs don’t like.
Sick bugs. Healthy kids.
We have the added fun bonus of icky ticks running rampant. I don’t want ticks on us. I know people who have contracted Lyme disease!
Homemade Natural Bug Spray
One oil will surely do the trick. We like to create a fun blend that’s just right for our family.
We love the scent of Lemongrass. A great fresh blend is Rosemary, Lemon, and Lavender. We diffuse that all the time at home!
We always diffuse Lemongrass when we go camping. Our campsite is the only one with no flies or mosquitoes!
I created my family’s favorite bug spray with Rosemary, Lemongrass, Lavender, Lemon, and Citronella.
It smells divine – not at all like those commercial bug sprays that I can almost taste after spraying. Yuck!
We haven’t noticed any problems with our recipe and it smells amazing. So amazing that people compliment us on our perfume!
My kids love to get all sprayed before we head out. They’re happy scents. Be aware that citrus oils are photo-sensitive and can lead to skin burning in sunlight.
These also work great diffused or sprayed where bugs like to enter our home or gather. We get fruit flies in the summer and don’t have screens on our windows in Germany. Rolladens don’t keep all the flies out. We often spray diluted peppermint around our windows and sinks to get rid of ants and spiders. Cinnamon is another great inexpensive nontoxic way to get rid of ants and more.
A blend of peppermint, clove, lemongrass, and geranium oils with a few drops of dish soap can be used to spray tabletops and other outdoor surfaces to deter wasps and other pests.
Bugs also don’t like vinegar. I clean my counters with white vinegar often in summer to keep ants away. Also, some recipes I’ve seen call for EOs with ACV. I don’t know if my kids would go for that scent!
You really just need two ingredients to make a natural bug spray. It’s super simple.
(Have you read the list of ingredients in a commercial bug spray?!)
- Coconut oil for a cream or lotion – mix 8 oz. with 40-50 drops of essential oils. In hot weather, this will become liquid, so keep it in a cool place like the fridge or cooler for travel.
- Witch hazel (or vodka) for a spray – mix 4 oz with 40-50 drops of essential oils. The witch hazel offers an added dimension to skin health and keeps the water from developing bacteria.
Add water to fill a spray bottle. You could make everyone his or her own personal blend in little bottles. Or make a larger family batch by multiplying the ingredients. With 6 of us, we go through a lot of spray. You can also add vitamin E if the spray dries your skin out.
Essential oils we love:
These essential oils can work as repellants to insects:
- Lemongrass (has been known to attract bees, so be aware of that)
Be sure to use glass spray bottles and jars with essential oil products so you can reuse them again and again. Plastic will work for short-term use, but some of the oils might eventually corrode plastic. I just switch out the spray mechanism when it wears out.
If a sneaky bug does make it through that 1-millimeter-squared bit of space on your skin, Lemongrass works like a charm on the itch. Also Lavender with witch hazel is a great skin-soother, if you happen to step in an ant colony or some other tragedy. We also like these products for stings and bug bites: Bug Bite Thing, Sting-Kill, Tick Check Card.
Isn’t it wonderful that we can smell nice and be healthy while making it uncomfortable for creepy critters with our natural bug spray?
Also, check out our natural sunscreen recipe!