Monday, September 3, 2012

A Tutorial: DIY Mosquito Repellent

Admittedly, I'm a little late in the season on this homemade bug spray- we've all been getting eaten alive for months now!  I've been meaning to try making my own spray after a friend told me she made some herself, and since we're planning to hold babygirl's first birthday party outside, I figured this was a great excuse to get on the ball!

I was in the neighborhood of a great little natural food store last week, so I decided to pick up a few essential oils for the spray.  I read about a million recipes online, and they all differ a little bit, but Citronella oil & Lemongrass oil seemed to be mainstays in lots of the recipes, so I went with them.  Peppermint & Lavender also showed up frequently, but peppermint came with warnings that it could burn the eyes, and with a little one planning to use it, I didn't want to take the chance.  Lavender seemed to be used mainly for its scent, and since I LOVE the smell of lemongrass, I decided to leave off the lavender.

Next up is witch hazel.  You can find it near the alcohol & peroxide at drug stores & grocery stores, and it's fairly cheap (the oils on the other hand, aren't!).  I picked up 2 bottles of the witch hazel & two spray bottles so I'd have lots of the bug spray.  If it works, I can see us using it all the time, and for a while it will just be at the cost of a bottle of witch hazel since the essential oils should last quite a while.

Now for the recipe.  I just synthesized a bunch of recipes I read online, so this isn't tried & true yet.  I'll get back to you on the results, or any changes I'd make.

Made in a 22 oz spray bottle:
1- 16 oz bottle of with hazel
3ish oz of boiled (and cooled) water (just to fill the bottle a bit more)
25 drops of citronella essential oil
25 drops of lemongrass essential oil

Add all ingredients to the spray bottle and shake well to mix, and then spray to keep the mosquitoes away!!   Be careful about spraying near your face- probably better to spray a bit on your hands and then dab on your face avoiding your mouth, nose & eyes.

I'm really hopeful this will work on the three of us, and I'm pretty sure we'll have occasion to test it when we do some yard work.  Our yard is terrible about bugs, and they seem to LOVE all three of us!!

*Update, the hubs is the only one to test the spray thus far, and he thought the bugs were still eating him alive.  Hmmm, not encouraging, but I want to test it myself before I make changes or give up on it!!

**Update, the whole family used the bug spray today while we worked out in the yard (well, babygirl supervised our work from her highchair) and I'm happy to report there was nary a bug bite!!!  It was my first time using the bug spray and I was pleased- the initial spray is very cooling and has a clean refreshing smell.  I just sprayed on my arms and legs and then rubbed it in a bit.  It dried fast and smelled great, but not overwhelming (and I noticed the smell faded, as in, you didn't feel like you were a walking lemongrass/citronella plant).  I then sprayed on my hands and rubbed onto babygirl's arms & legs.  The hubs got a spray down as well.  Mosquitoes and other little flying annoyances usually tear us up in the yard, but I didn't notice any at all (I did notice a giant black widow when I picked up a rock from the mulch, how the heck do you get rid of those damn things?!?).  We're going to try it out again tomorrow night when we have our neighborhood meeting in the park, so I'll see how it works again, but for now, I am a happy mama!!