DIY Essential Oils Bug Spray (That Actually Works)
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Finding a non-toxic bug spray that actually works can be a challenge. But by using essential oils as the main ingredients in your bug spray, you can avoid harmful chemicals commonly found in commercial insect repellents. These natural oils not only have insect-repelling properties but also offer additional benefits such as soothing and calming effects on the skin. Most importantly, by making it yourself, you have full control over the ingredients used, ensuring that it is truly nontoxic and safe for both yourself and the environment.
This recipe took some trial and error on my part, but I am pleased to share that it has been tested by me, weeding my garden in the evenings in July (in what feels like the buggiest part of the day), and IT WORKS!
Keep in mind that other factors can affect how much bugs are attracted to you. A high-sugar diet will mean that bugs are more attracted to you. Taking a B12 supplement, or eating a diet high in B vitamins can also help keep misquotes at bay.
Lavender, peppermint, Citronella, basil, and lemon eucalyptus have all been shown to effectively repel mosquitoes and other insects.
A study completed in 2014 showed that a 32% percent concentration of lemon eucalyptus oil offered 95% protection for the duration of 3 hours. And Citronella is well known to repel mosquitoes!
I opted to combine all of these essential oils, focusing specifically on eucalyptus and citronella. A high concentration of oils in witch hazel seems to be what makes it an effective bug-repellent.
1 amber spray bottle (see notes)
A small funnel
20 drops of Lavender essential oil
20 drops of Peppermint essential oil
¼ cup Citronella essential oil (see notes)
60 drops Lemon eucalyptus essential oil (See notes)
1 cup Witch Hazel
1. Add essential oils and witch hazel to the bottle, using the funnel if necessary.
2. Shake thoroughly before every use.
Sunlight can accelerate the expiration of essential oils, so it's best to store them in an amber glass or in a dark area.
¼ cup of citronella oil may seem excessive, but again, a high concentration of oils is what makes the spray effective. I bought a larger bottle of citronella essential oil and did not deplete the entire bottle making this spray.
I opted for regular eucalyptus oil as I did not have lemon eucalyptus on hand. However, lemon eucalyptus has been shown to be more effective.
And that’s it! Let me know in the comments if it works for you. I’ve been using it religiously for weeks now, during the buggiest part of the year and time of day, and I have been so pleased with the results!