DIY Natural Bug Repellant


Are there mosquitos where you live? I grew up around them and then lived two blissful years in Denver, Colorado where nary a mosquito can be found (I had one bite during my entire residence). Then I moved to the worst place for mosquitos I’ve lived yet. At the height of mosquito season, I’ve been absolutely ravaged in backyards and on restaurant patios when not prepared with repellant. It so happens I’m extremely allergic to mosquito bites, swelling to the size of a quarter at times. Not fun! I want to protect myself from those little bloodsuckers, but the last thing I want to do is spray myself with DEET. Did you know that DEET can actually melt plastic? I look for natural insect repellants to do the job instead.

While essential oils like geranium, lavender, peppermint, citronella and clove are known to repel mosquitos, lemon eucalyptus is the most effective and is used in some popular conventional bug sprays. In fact, a study has shown that a bug repellant with a mixture of 32% lemon eucalyptus oil gave more than 95% protection from mosquitos for three hours, just slightly less effective than DEET. For this reason, I like to keep it simple and rely on lemon eucalyptus oil as the active ingredient in my bug spray recipe. You can add oils like geranium and lavender to enhance the smell and boost the strength, but since essential oils have to be diluted, I want lemon eucalyptus to be at full strength.

DIY Natural Bug Repellant

Add 1ml lemon eucalyptus oil (or about 40 drops) to a 1oz amber bottle and fill the rest of the bottle with sunflower oil or witch hazel.Shake well before each use.

This is around a 10% concentration of lemon eucalyptus oil.  If 10% isn’t strong enough where you live, you can tweak the recipe up to a 30% concentration of lemon eucalyptus oil. Just make sure to patch test on skin first, and don’t use on children under 3 years old as a precaution. You can find good quality lemon eucalyptus oil at Mountain Rose Herbs as well as amber bottles, witch hazel and carrier oils like sunflower oil. Best wishes for a bug bite-free summer!

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About Susannah Compton

Susannah Compton is the founder and formulator behind Florescent, a line of 100% botanical perfumes she blends in small batches from organic and wild crafted aromatics. Plant-based skincare and cosmetics are a way of life for Susannah, who writes about clean beauty and the benefits of botanical ingredients for No More Dirty Looks, Thoughtfully Magazine and Integrity Botanicals. Florescent, however, is Susannah’s personal expression of healthy beauty. Susannah has been working with botanical aromatics for years, blending first for therapeutic purposes before delving into the art of perfumery. Having rarely experienced the depth and complexity of true botanicals in conventional perfume, she learned the art of blending and created what her heart desired — a scent that would move her the way perfume should. In search of those elevating, ethereal bouquets of scent, Susannah honed her skills behind the perfume bench. She launched Florescent in the spring of 2015 to share the lush experience and pleasing ritual of real perfume.