A couple weeks ago, I was enjoying a glorious summer evening in the backyard with my family. We indulged in a luxurious meal on the patio and then played with my little niece long after the sun went down. It was the perfect embodiment of the season...
...then I got home and found that I was covered in mosquito bites! It seems like there are more of these pesky insects this summer than in previous ones. Yuck! It was time arm myself with my Homemade Bug Repellent. This all-natural, non-toxic spray is perfect for stashing in your picnic tote or spritzing on before some late-night stargazing...or any other time you want to frolic in the wilderness. Why do I prefer to make my own bug repellent? The answer is two-fold: I have all the ingredients readily on hand (many of them are also used for my homemade body butters and other goodies) and I've long since given up on the toxic DEET (see what Wellness Mama has to say about how this chemical spray negatively impacts the environment and your body).
I whipped up a pretty basic recipe after looking at others from Scratch Mommy, Thank Your Body, and Wellness Mama. I used vegetable glycerin to as a binding agent rather than oil and mixed it with what essential oils I had on hand. The glycerin binds the water and oils together and ensures that the spray sticks to your clothes and skin. The key factor here in keeping away bugs is the strong scents of the essential oils so you will want to reapply every hour or so to keep the scents strong. I used citronella--a common ingredient in natural bug sprays--and lemongrass. (Both of these plants can also be grown in your garden as a natural herbal repellent FYI.) I love the citrusy scent! You can also add in other essential oils like eucalyptus or lavender. The measurements here are for a 4oz spray bottle.
1 tablespoon vegetable glycerin
30 drops citronella essential oil
30 drops lemongrass essential oil
Mix glycerine and essential oils in a 4oz spray bottle, then fill bottle to the top with water. Shake well. Apply regularly (at least once an hour) when you plan on being outdoors. What more homemade bug repellent ideas? Check out the Prairie Homestead's list of natural bug spray recipes.
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