I was not a huge “outdoors” person growing up. I mean, like most kids, I enjoyed playing outside… but I wasn’t a real advocate of the woods. Mostly because I hated bug spray. Seriously. I remember closing my eyes and lifting my arms as my mom sprayed stuff all over my body. The smell alone disturbed me, even at a young age. Of course no bugs would come near the stuff… but I always wondered if we humans should either. Thankfully, I found that making your own all natural homemade “bugs be gone” spray just isn’t that hard.
Stay away from toxic ingredients
One of the most common used ingredients in commercial bug sprays is N,N-Diethyl-m-toluamide, or DEET.
DEET is used by an estimated one-third of the US population each year. Although DEET is approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it is a known eye irritant and can cause rashes, soreness, or blistering when applied to the skin. Additionally, DEET has been linked to neurological problems; according to the EPA, at least 18 different cases of children suffering adverse neurological effects, as well as the deaths of two adults, have 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 been shown to have a negative impact on wildlife and water sources in production and during use. DEET is toxic to birds and aquatic life. DEET has been found in approximately 75 percent of U.S. water sources, including the Mississippi River. (source)
Yikes! Let’s avoid that, okay?
Try out this all natural version instead. And let the outdoor fun commence!
2 Tbs. of witch hazel (like this)
2 Tbs. of jojoba, almond, or olive oil
50 – 60 drops essential oils (learn how to get my favorite essential oils at wholesale prices here.)
Sample Essential Oil Blend
30 drops lemon eucalyptus (reported by the CDC to be a good natural substitution for DEET in repelling insects, but is not recommended for use on children under 3 yrs.)
10 drops cedarwood
10 drops lavender
10 drops rosemary
Other Bug-Repelling Essential Oils:
1. Combine witch hazel with oil of choice.
2. Mix in essential oils. Combine thoroughly.
3. Rub or spray the natural insect repellent onto skin or clothing, using care to avoid the
sensitive eye area.
* You’ll need to re-apply the natural product after about an hour or after swimming or exercise. Unused natural insect repellent may be stored in a dark bottle, away from heat or sunlight. Keep out of reach of children. Do not swallow.