At the peek of summer, at least where I live, mosquitos, ticks and flies are biting my ankles and swarming my personal space… I happen to be pretty tasty to mosquitos, so even if no-one else is experiencing bites, I absolutely am, and I react with big swollen itchy bumps.
If you grew up like I did, always running around in the woods, camping, hiking and boating, there was surely a large can of “OFF” bug spray laying around that you would completely drench yourself in- so that when you ate your hot dog or s’more it had an after taste of the pungent chemical flavor. The next morning your clothes, hair and sleeping bag smelled of bug spray and campfire smoke. For some, this is a nostalgic smell, but to me NOW this reminds me of a time in my life where I didn’t practice natural chemical-free living.
When I began researching DEET in bug spray I found some pretty surprising facts. Although the EPA ( US Environmental Protection Agency) approves DEET- there are many questions of toxicity and has caused extreme irritation, neurological problems, behavioral changes AND not to mention whatever goes into your skin is processed by your body through your liver! It has been found to be toxic to wildlife and seeps into our water systems. If you are worried about chemicals for yourself, children and your environment, DEET is one worth REALLY researching! Insect repellent is important though, because bugs carry lots of icky diseases!
Luckily I have created easy wonderful & EASY recipe for a chemical free- all natural and herbal insect repellent!!! There are many variations to this recipe and I encourage you to try different blends to see what works best for you and your family… even your DOG!!!!
DIY HERBAL BUG SPRAY
- Glass Spray Bottle (Glass is important because some essential oils can dissolve plastic)
- Witch Hazel and/or Apple Cider Vinegar (about 1 cup of liquid total)
- A few different insect repellent Essential Oils (add about 20 drops of each EO) >> examples: Citronella, Lemongrass, Peppermint, Clove, Rosemary, Lavender, Eucalyptus, Catnip, Tea Tree, Cedar.
- MY SECRET INGREDIENT: A tincture of Yarrow!! According to one of my favorite herbalists, Susun Weed, a fresh tincture of yarrow is one of the BEST herbal insect repellents.. and I can absolutely attest to this! It is the main base ingredient to my personal blend of Insect repellent. (This is optional, and you can simply use a base of vinegar and/or witch hazel.) If you were using a tincture of yarrow, you would simply dilute the tincture with witch hazel/vinegar and add the essential oils right to the mix!
- Unlike DEET, this mixture does not stay on the skin very long, and is not water proof, so reapply often!
Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium)
HERBAL TIP: generally essential oils that repel bugs ALSO repels bugs around your home and garden if you plant them!!! You can also make a bug spray with the infused or tinctured dried herbs without essential oils!!!
It works for my family! Does it work for yours!?