Homemade natural bug spray

by Beth Graham
make your own homemade natural bug spray

We moved into a new house recently, our forever home. We picked the house because it’s walking distance to the beach and our particular street is a hidden little enclave where the houses are very private because they’re surrounded by natural vegetation. But in the Florida heat and humidity, that spells B-U-G-S! I can’t even walk the dog without getting a ton of mosquito bites, but I hate those chemically-forward bug sprays so I made my own, homemade, natural bug spray using essential oils.

I got into essential oils some time ago and my favorite way to use them is using an infuser. I especially like eucalyptus for its earthy scent and lemon, for its clean, purifying effect. And I put a drop of tea tree oil in my shampoo each morning because I love the tingly effect on my scalp. So it just makes sense that I use them in my natural bug spray.

Here’s how I made my homemade natural bug spray:

1/4 cup witch hazel

1/4 purified water

1 teaspoon of coconut oil (it helps it stick to your skin better)

10 drops of citronella essential oil

10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil

10 drops of tea tree oil

5 drops of lavender essential oil

2 drops of lemon essential oil

I mix these in a small mason jar, shake it up, and pour it into two small spray bottles that I keep by my front and back doors. Honestly, I love the way this concoction makes my skin smell as opposed to those harsh sprays. And I appreciate that it’s a natural bug spray.

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are, quite simply, natural compounds that are extracted from plants. They are the compounds within plants – from the roots, seeds, and flowers – that give a plant it fragrance, but also its ability to attract and repel pests (just like citronella candles, made with oil from the citronella plant, are known to repel mosquitoes). Think about the way a lavender plant smells; that comes from the essential oils within the plant. These oils are extracted from the plants and distilled into a pure product. Some oils can be used in their pure form but there are many that can be quite strong and may burn the skin, so you always need to use them with a carrier oil which can be anything from olive oil to body oil – just something that cuts the stringent quality of the oil.

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