If you have concerns about mosquito bites and mosquito borne diseases like the West Nile Virus then you are probably considering using a chemical based insect repellent. These insect repellants contain the chemical DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide).Â
However you don't absolutely have to resort to using this type of insect repellent if you don't want to or if you are concerned that your kids might be developing environmental sensitivities as a result.Â Try making your own insect repellent out of natural essential oils.Â T
here are several essential oils that can be used as insect repellents. Clove oil and citronella also known as (rose geranium) are the most effective against mosquitoes.Â However you need to use clove oil carefully and sparsely as it can irritate delicate skin.
Other essential oils that can be used as insect repellents include peppermint, castor oil, lemon grass, eucalyptus, tea tree oil, cedar and lavender. You can buy cedar oil in spray-on bottles at your local pet store for spraying on furniture and pets to keep them away.Â Both citronella and garlic oil are supposed to be the most effective for keeping bugs away. Unfortunately garlic oil really smells awful so it is not used in these preparations.Â When using essential oils be sure to store them safely away.Â They come in blue and brown bottles that kids might find attractive. These oils must not be used internally. They are only effective when used on garments, skins or furniture.
You should not apply the oils directly onto your pet as that is toxic.Â If you are worried about an allergic reaction you can test the oil on a small patch of your skin or your child's skin to see what happens before you make the decision to use it widely on your body.Â You can make your own insect repellant sprays by combining rubbing alcohol (or witch hazel, vodka, or olive oil) any of ht essential oils listed in this blog. The ratios should be about ten drops of alcohol to one drop of essential oil. Be sure to shake this homemade concoction well before each use.Â
You can also concoct your own lotion out of two ounces olive oil, two ounces distilled water and about 120 drops of essential oil. You put the water in a bowl and using a wire whip beat the olive oil into it.Â After the oil is mixed thoroughly with the distilled water stir in your choice of essential oil.Â You can also add a few drops of your choice of insect- repelling essential oils to your shampoo or liquid soap for added protection. Â Keep in mind that on hot days that these oils will evaporate fast so you will need to apply it more often then a chemical DEET based insect repellent. Sweat, rain, wind and jumping into a pool for a swim can also emanate the protective essential oil from your skin.