Homemade Herbal Bug Repellent Spray
Photo by Debbie Wolfe
The one thing I dislike about being outdoors is the mosquitoes. Yes, I know they have a purpose in the circle of life, but since I do not have a bunch of bats hanging out in my yard to eat them up, I have no personal use for them.
Overall I stay away from putting any harsh chemicals directly on my skin. I do not like the way they smell and the ingredient list is frightening. Believe me, there are times that I am tempted to break out the chemical bug spray when the mosquitoes have decided to feast on me like Thanksgiving dinner. What are the alternatives?
There are natural alternatives for bug repellent. You probably have some of it growing in your garden. Herbs like rosemary, thyme, mint, lavender, catnip and citronella have bug repelling properties. Any herb that is in the mint family seems to be the most effective at keeping bugs at bay. I often grab a sprig or two of peppermint when I am out in the garden and rub it on my arms and legs.
You can purchase herbal essential oils to make bug repellent. Or, you can infuse fresh herbs in a carrier oil at home in your kitchen. There are several carriers oils you can use. Some popular ones are olive, grapeseed and coconut oil. This method doesn’t make a true essential oil since it’s not distilled, but it works great and it’s cost effective.
How to infuse your own herbal oils
- Gather some bug repelling herbs.
- Chop the herbs and add them to a glass jar.
- Add a carrier oil to the jar; enough oil to cover the herbs.
- Place a lid on the jar and put the jar into a slow cooker.
- Fill the slow cooker with water, up to the half way point of the jar.
- Heat on low for a few hours.
- The oil will take on the color and smell of the herbs.
- Remove the jar and let the infused oil cool.
- Once cooled, drain and store in a dark color glass jar out of sunlight.
Homemade Bug Repellent
You will need:
- Witch hazel
- Mixture of bug repellent herbal essential oils: rosemary, thyme, mint, cedar, lavender, catnip, citronella, tea tree, and lemongrass (or your own infused herbal oils)
- Distilled water
- Spray bottle
Fill an 8-oz spray bottle halfway with distilled water.
Fill the rest of the way up with witch hazel, leaving a ½ head space.
Add in your mixture of essential oils — about 25-50 drops.
Screw on the top. Shake.
It's ready to use!
Note: The oil will separate from the water/witch hazel mixture. Give it a good shake before you spray.