Saturday, July 23, 2011

homemade insect repellant.

Many moons ago after sitting in our front yard and mosquitoes swarming my face, I dug a can of bug spray out of the depths of our bathroom closet.  I never outgrew my distaste of bugspray residue on my skin so I opted to spray the grass around my chair.  The next day, there was a ring of brown dead grass around that very same chair.  The bugspray killed the grass.  Dead.  Needless to say, now I don't touch commercial bugspray with a ten-foot pole.  I haven't even googled the stuff.  I choose to trust my judgement.  It's bad.

Basically, I am okay with a few bites and if the bugs are bad enough, I go inside.  The inside and I are bff's.  After all, you still get bit even if you are coated with OFF! from head to toe.

But, you know, good mamas use sunscreen (sparingly) and good mamas should at least own a bottle of bugspray for her outside loving kids.  Last summer I bought Herbal Armour repellant for Henry.  I liked the natural ingredients and the price.  And, even though I approved of the stuff, I didn't like the feeling it left on his skin and the way I felt like he needed a bath before bed after a good spray down of the stuff.  After a few bugspray battles, I gave up.  He didn't like the stuff.  And, honestly, I probably didn't feel like giving him a bath anyway.

So this summer, I was ready to do something different.  I googled around and found the perfect solution to my distaste of all things bugspray-- essential oils and a carrier.

The CDC's list of approved insect-repellant ingredients included lemon eucalyptus oil so I knew that was a must-have.  Common sense told me citronella should be included and Rose Mountain Herbs thoughtfully added lavendar to the mix.


1/2 teaspoon citronella essential oil
1/2 teaspoon eucalyptus essential oil
1/2 teaspoon lavender essential oil
4 ounces distilled witch hazel 

Mix ingredients in a 4-ounce spray bottle. Shake well. Spray onto exposed skin, avoiding eyes and mucous membranes. Reapply every 2 hours, or as needed.

The first time I mixed up a batch, I didn't actually measure the oils.  I just squeezed a bunch of drops in and called it done.  Typical.  And, not nearly as effective as my 2nd go in which I actually exerted a little effort and measured the oils before I dumped them in to the witch hazel.  

I'm not going to proclaim my homemade bugspray to be super child-friendly for the sheer fact that both of my kids fuss about having anything done to them and this safe and clean repellant is no different.

But, it is natural.
It is effective.
It doesn't leave me feeling like I need to give my kids a bath.

And, I like it a lot.


Mandi @ Living the Good Life said...

1. Late July and August- the inside and I are bff's TOO! :)

2. Love, love, love this recipe so much more than the vodka one I have used in the past. Plus, the vodka is much better put to use in a drink ;)

Laura @ our messy messy life. said...

Mandi, this heat is awful......I am really happy with it too. I need more uses for witch hazel. I love that stuff.

Cami said...

Great tip - thank you!! :)

<3-Cami from First Day of My Life Life

Kaitlin @ More Like Mary said...

Does it really work? Really? And where would I even find that stuff??

Laura @ our messy messy life. said...

Cami, glad to help!

Kaitlin, yes, it works. Does it work as well as Deet? Probably not. Does it work better than nothing? Yes yes yes.

Portugirl said...

Such a geat ideia! Bugs hate me and my kids but I hate those bug sprays that you can buy in the store. Now where can I buy those oils???? And yes let's get together soon ;)

Laura @ our messy messy life. said...

You aren't going to find them in town. I have the Aura Acacia brand that I bought at the Rainbow in Jackson but if I were going to buy online, I would likely buy from Rose Mountain Herbs.