Friday, July 11, 2014

Essential Success: DIY Effective and Natural Insect Repellent

   Two posts in one day? Really over-achieving today! I kid. Yesterday in my post about treating allergic reactions to bug bites I promised I'd write today about how I make my insect spray. 

   A sign of the beginning of every spring for us has always been the buying of a new bottle of OFF! and a tube of SPF 55 Banana Boat. I disliked putting those things on my children, and was always happy to bathe them at the end of the day to wash the chemicals of these protectorents off their skin, but the smells clung to their clothes even after many washings, which made me feel eerily like the chemicals were lingering, too. This year I decided to try something new. I received my awesome Young Living Premium Starter Kit  late in the winter so I started doing a lot of research on what oils were proven to repel which insects to decide what to use, and I perused other articles on other components and their ratios in the repellent for best results. In the end, I was incredibly pleased with the recipe I came up with, and we've found it to be very effective. 
  • 1 ounce(2 Tbsp) witch hazel
  • 1 ounce(2 Tbsp) distilled water
  • 4 drops Purification EO blend
  • 4 drops Thieves EO blend
  • 2 drops Peppermint EO
  • One 2-3 ounce dark colored glass spray bottle
Put each ingredient in the bottle. Shake it. Yep. It's that easy. You can even get really  fancy and label it by writing something like "Bug Spray" on a slip of paper and taping it on. Or you can get really classy and type up something fancy including the ingredients. Just go with your creative gut here. I have faith in you. 

My goal in choosing which oils to use was to find out what functioned well as as repellents against the most common offenders in our area: mosquitoes, gnats, flies, and ticks. I did some studying in the Essential Oils Desk Reference, 6th Edition, and Citronella and Lemongrass are shown to be moderately effective against all of these so Purification was an obvious choice, but I wanted more. My research showed me that  peppermint is especially effective against mosquitoes. So much so, that it is shown to kill mosquito larvae on contact, and the adults hate the smell and taste of it. Lemon and clove(both of which are in Thieves) have both been shown to be very effective against mosquitoes as well. Eucalyptus and peppermint(both are in Thieves) have both been proven to be effective gnat repellent. Lavender, peppermint, and rosemary(in both Purification and Thieves) shown to be very effective against most varieties of flies, and studies have shown peppermint, cinnamon bark, clove, and lemon(all in Thieves) essential oils to be effective tick repellent. With all these over-laps in repellent between the two blends and the single peppermint, I knew Thieves and Purification would be the perfect fit. The distilled water helps to properly dilute and carry the oils without the possibility of adding chlorine, fluoride, or other common contaminants in tap water. The witch hazel is also dillutes and carries the oils appropriately while being soothing and cooling, but also has the added benefit of making the spray more of a quick-dry solution than plane water would be. 
   So far this summer this bug spray solution has been perfectly effective against all bugs. Before we head out, everyone gets a spritz for each arm and each leg, a little extra on the feet and ankles(I despise ticks and that's the most common contact point), the back of the neck, the head, and it's so gentle and quick-drying we can put a light spritz on the face(eyes closed!) without irritation. A single batch this size lasts us about two months when using it a couple times a week. I hope this little formula is helpful to protect you and yours this summer. 

*Want to try Young Living essential oils for yourself? Ask me how you can get 24% off every order every time with no commitment to reorder!*

*I am not a doctor. These are solely our personal experiences, or information from the stated sources. The statements made in this post have not been evaluated by the FDA. The products discussed are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.*


  1. I need to make some of this! Where did you find the glass bottles?

  2. Amazon! I have more unused still if you don't want to buy a whole six-pack. :-)

  3. Thanks! I probably will try to make up some sunscreen too (if you have any good recipe ideas for it!) so will buy the 6 pack!

  4. I am wondering about where you got the glass bottle also.. And it must be a dark bottle? Just curious... Ive been meaning to make this for months now too... Can we say procrastinator?

    1. Amazon. :-)

      Dark bottles are best because many oils can be essentially "zapped" and loose their effectiveness with much sun and bright light exposure, hence the reason their always(that I've ever seen from reputable sellers) sold in amber or cobalt bottles.