When we moved to Northwest Georgia from Florida, I was so excited to escape the tourists, the humidity, and the mosquitoes. As summertime approaches, however, I see that escaping the mosquitoes isn’t going to happen and as much as I am in love with the mountains, the shades of green, and the people here…the mosquitoes are still buzzing. So, it’s time to pull out my essential oils and other tricks to keep them away from us.
When it comes to DIY projects, I’m really not that girl, but making my own bug spray is so easy and way less expensive than buying the pre-made natural products at the store. And while I’m not perfect when it comes to holistic choices, all-natural bug spray is one of those things that I insist on for our kids and our dog. Here are a few simple things you can start doing right away…don’t worry, this is an easy one, I promise!
- Fire – Brian and I are both Sagittarians so this is our favorite! When you are going to be outside in the evening, make a ring of candles (any scented candle will do, but ultimately Citronella is best) around the table, make a fire in your fire pit, or spend a few dollars on some tiki torches and create a mosquito-free perimeter. Obviously, you’ll want to make sure that the you follow all your fire safety rules, but the smoke will repel the mosquitoes and there’s something so magical about sitting around the fire on a summer night.
- Garilc –garlic actually DOES repel vampires (at least the flying, buzzing ones that are invading my backyard). Start adding more garlic to your diet and you will find that you are way less tasty to the blood sucking little nuisances. You can also add some Apple Cider Vinegar to your diet (and your dog’s water bowl) as another internal repellant.
- Essential oils or herbs – use any or all of the following in lieu of DEET and other toxic ingredients. They are just as effective and have none of the side effects.
Lavender, peppermint, spearmint, vanilla, lemon eucalyptus, geranium, rosemary, citronella.
Personally, I am not a fan of geranium or citronella so I will only use those if I know I will need the big guns. Feel free to experiment with your own blend, but this is my favorite:
30-40 drops each oil (I’m a rebel when it comes to following recipes so I tend to just put in “some”. For example, I like peppermint oil because it also helps me stay cool, so I go heavy on it)
Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbs rubbing alcohol
½ cup witch hazel
½ cup water or vinegar (you can use apple cider vinegar but honestly, I just can’t stand the smell)
Place all the oils and vanilla in a spray bottle and add the alcohol. Shake very well to combine.
Add the witch hazel and shake again (there will be a lot of shaking).
Add the water and shake again (see?).
This mixture will separate so you will need to shake vigorously each time you use it.
If you are unfamiliar with any of the oils, I highly recommend smelling them BEFORE you buy them and make a huge batch of this stuff. Being mosquito free is awesome, but not if you are stuck smelling like a geranium flower and you can’t stand the smell of it. And remember that a little bit goes a long way. You don’t need to soak yourself, just spray a little on your clothes and mist your body. And, definitely, do not spray in your mouth or eyes!