’Tis the season for mosquitos! Around here, they are EVERYWHERE, thanks to a very rainy spring. Most people dislike the pesky little blood suckers, but I absolutely abhor them. I get an unusually nasty allergic reaction to mosquito bites, and I seem to get bit a lot more than anyone around me when the buggers are out. I am constantly dousing myself in bug repellent to keep them away, but I hate the idea of soaking my skin with the stinky, chemical-laden store bought repellents I have been using for years. This year, I made it my mission to find a safer, natural alternative.
Most DIY insect repellents have the same few ingredients – a base of apple cider vinegar or witch hazel, water, and essential oils. I have tried several combinations of these and have found them to be very effective. The added benefits are that the ingredients are perfectly safe, even for kids, it’s cheap to make, and the oils smell SO much better than any commercial insect repellent.
Natural Insect Repellent Recipe
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup witch hazel OR apple cider vinegar
- 40 drops essential oil(s) of your choice
Use a funnel to measure the water and witch hazel or vinegar into a spray bottle. Add the essential oil(s) and shake to mix well. Apply liberally and reapply as often as needed. You can easily half or double the recipe, depending on the size of the spray bottle you’re using.
The recipe is so easy, and it works! It is also very flexible; the oils can be mixed and matched depending on the smells you like best. I prefer to use lavender, lemon, and eucalyptus in my repellent, but it’s fun to mix up different oils each time to discover new scents and see which are the most effective. Other oils that work well repelling bugs are lemongrass, citronella, rosemary, tea tree, and peppermint. You can add just one oil or a mix of several.
The apple cider vinegar base seems to work a little longer than the witch hazel base. It does have a strong smell when first applied, but the vinegar smell dissipates pretty quickly. You have to apply this homemade repellent a little more often than regular bug repellent, but I think it’s totally worth it. Give it a shot, and let us know if it works for you!