Summer is one of my favorite times of the year. However I do have some beef with this beautiful season – the mosquitoes! I must attract mosquitoes because I tend to get bitten very easily while Mike never has any bites (leg hair might have something to do with it…). In order to help combat these annoying insects I make my own mosquito repellent. Years ago I used to use commercial insect repellent (containing DEET) but after reading how dangerous they are I decided to make my own. One online article from LiveScience.com states:
A 2009 study found that DEET can interfere with the activity of enzymes that are vital for the nervous system to function properly. In the study, the researchers found that DEET blocked the enzyme cholinesterase, which is essential for transmitting messages from the brain to the muscles in insects. The researchers noted that DEET may also affect the nervous systems of mammals, and that more research in this area is needed.
Another online article, this one found on Huffington Post explains:
The EPA placed DEET in Category 3, “slightly toxic,” the second lowest of four categories. The EPA does not believe occasional use presents a health concern. If, on the other hand, your daily job happens to be park ranger in the swampy Everglades, you live in a malaria-infested area or dabble in jungle warfare, using DEET frequently will increase your risk of side effects. What are the side effects? The serious one is the risk of damage to the brain and other organs. DEET is absorbed through the skin and enters the bloodstream fairly quickly — even more quickly if you combine it with sunscreen containing oxybenzone.
So I’d rather not risk it and just make my own bug spray with ingredients I am familiar with and know where they come from. And the cool thing about it? It’s super easy to make and actually works! Yay!
Mosquito Repellent (Bug Spray)
- 1/4 cup Vodka
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil
- Essential Oils (I used the following combo since they tend to be good at repelling bugs):
- Lemon (50 drops)
- Eucalyptus (50 drops)
- Lavender (30 drops)
- Tea Tree (30 drops)
Combine the vodka and olive oil in a bottle. Shake. Add all the essential oils. Shake well. Voila! Your very own bug spray. I keep my bottle in a cool, dark place (this helps preserve the essential oils) and make sure to shake it well before each use.
Because there is oil present in the spray it might get on your clothes when you apply it – no worries – when you go to wash your clothes put some dish detergent on the oil, rub it in and it should go away in the wash. Also, depending on how long you are going to be outside you might need to reapply. For me my biggest problem is remembering to apply in the first place! I need to get better at that! So now you can hopefully enjoy the beautiful season of summer without swatting and scratching all the time!