A little bit on DEET: The main ingredient in conventional bug sprays, DEET is really bad for you and highly recommended against using it if you are pregnant. Although DEET is approved by the (EPA), it is a known eye irritant and can cause rashes, soreness, or blistering when applied to the skin. DEET has also been linked to neurological problems -- according to the EPA, at least 18 different cases of children suffer adverse neurological effects, and the deaths of two adults has been associated with DEET. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center have found that DEET causes diffuse brain cell death and behavioral changes in rats. DEET has also been shown to have a negative impact on wildlife and water sources in production and during use. DEET is also toxic to birds and aquatic life.
I am so happy I discovered this natural way to make my own bug repellent because I will definitely be using this for my kids (Landon is known for mosquito bites that turn into HUGE irritating flare ups) and also will continue using this for myself even after my pregnancy since it is so easy to make and it works so well. I hope you try making this for yourself, and as always if you don't have time to or don't have all the supplies, this item is listed in my etsy shop for you to purchase :)
What You'll Need:
- Your Essential Oils -- You can choose from a variety of essential oils, depending on your preference or what you have on hand. The best are: Citronella, Clove, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Cajeput, Eucalyptus, Cedar, Catnip, Lavender, Mint.
- Natural Witch Hazel
- Distilled or boiled Water
- Vegetable glycerin (optional. This just give it a bit of a thicker consistency).
1. Fill spray bottle (I used a 2 oz amber glass bottle) 1/2 full with distilled or boiled water
2. Add witch hazel to fill almost to the top
3. Add 1/2 tsp vegetable glycerin (if using)
4. Add 30-50 drops of essential oils to desired scent. The more oils you use, the stronger the spray will be. My personal favorite mix is: Citronella (20 drops), Rosemary (4 drops) Tea Tree (4) and Lavender (4 drops). It works great and smells good too!
Some other simple insect-repellent ideas:
- Use a non-toxic, plastic-free insect-repelling band (I've heard good things about this one), which is easier to use on children and very effective.
- Add vanilla extract to your spray mixture or just rub on the skin. You can also mix vanilla with witch hazel and water for a spray version.
- Plant insect repelling herbs in your yard. I grow lavender, mint and currently on the hunt for some citronella to plant near our back deck.
- Rub lavender flowers or lavender essential oil on your skin, especially on hot parts of body (neck, underarms, behind ears, knees etc.) to repel insects.
- Rub fresh or dried leaves of anything in the mint family all over skin to repel insects (peppermint, spearmint, catnip, pennyroyal, etc or citronella, lemongrass, etc.) Basil is also said to repel mosquitoes and I’ve used fresh basil leaves with success before.
*For purposes of this post (well, all of my DIY skincare posts), the only essential oils I use and trust for my family are Young Living. Please feel free to email me at email@example.com if you have any questions about them or are interested in starting your own wholesale membership with Young Living and joining an amazing support team of oil enthusiasts!:)