If you’re ready to wage war on bugs this summer, you can do so safely and naturally by making your own bug spray. Besides keeping pesky bugs at bay, there are several other reasons you might want to make it instead of buy it. For starters, homemade bug sprays are safer for your skin because they lack the harsh chemicals found in their commercial counterparts–DEET anyone? In addition, homemade bug sprays smell better because of the essential oils and herbs that are used to make them. Bug sprays that you make yourself with only a few simple ingredients are not only better for you, they’re better for the environment around you. Research has shown that commercial sprays aren’t just harmful to the bugs they’re designed to repel–they’re detrimental to just about any animal or plant life standing in the line of fire. If the above reasons are enough to inspire you to make your own bug spray, the following article will walk you through the quick and easy process.
Tips for Selecting Ingredients
One great thing about making your own bug spray is that you can mix and match ingredients based on personal preferences, or simply on which ones you have on hand at the time you want to make bug spray. There are several options for a bug spray base, some of the more common ones being witch hazel, rubbing alcohol, vodka, or vinegar. While any one of these bases will work, the most common one is witch hazel. For this reason, witch hazel is the base used in the recipes featured below.
Next you must decide whether or not you want to use essential oils or herbs in your bug spray, and then select which oils or which herbs you’d like to incorporate into your recipe. Essential oils that are most effective for homemade bug spray include lemongrass, citronella, lavender, patchouli, eucalyptus, cedar, geranium, tea tree, peppermint, and clove. When using herbs, any combination of catnip, lavender, peppermint, clove, parsley, rosemary, and garlic will work. The recipes within this article specify certain oils or herbs to use merely as a guideline. Keep in mind that they are completely interchangeable, and can be switched or substituted according to your preferences.
Essential Oil Bug Spray Recipe
To make essential oil bug spray, fill a clean spray bottle not quite half-full with witch hazel. Add an equal amount of distilled water, followed by fifteen drops of lemongrass oil, ten drops of eucalyptus oil, ten drops of lavender oil, 10 drops of patchouli oil, and five drops of geranium oil. The more essential oil you use, the more powerful your bug spray will be. If the essentials oils are a bit overwhelming for you at first, use fewer drops until you get accustomed to their strength. After you’ve finished adding the essential oils, shake the bottle well to blend the ingredients, label, and use.
Herbal Bug Spray Recipe
If you’d prefer to make bug spray using fresh or dried herbs, start by pouring one cup of water into a small pot, and then bringing the water to a boil. Remove the pot from the heat source and add one tablespoon each of fresh or dried catnip, lavender, rosemary, and peppermint to the water. Cover and let the herbs steep for approximately thirty minutes. Line a colander with cheesecloth, place it inside a large bowl, and pour the mixture through to strain out the herbs. After a short cooling period, use a funnel to fill a clean spray bottle half-full with the herb-infused water. Fill the rest of the bottle with witch hazel, shake, and label for use.
Instructions for Use
While homemade bug spray is quite effective in repelling a variety of insects, it must be applied more frequently than commercial sprays. Because homemade spray doesn’t contain the potent chemicals found in store-bought sprays, it doesn’t last as long. Therefore, apply a liberal amount of bug spray on your entire body every half hour, or as needed to keep the bugs from biting.
If you’d like to use a bug spray that stings bugs instead of your eyes and skin, homemade bug spray is the solution for you. Armed this season with a bug spray that’s safe, strong, and pleasant to the senses, you’ll be able to enjoy the great outdoors without having to deal with nuisance bugs.
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