The 21st Century Herbalist DIY Mosquito and Tick Repellant Katie Glenn

Summer’s official start is approaching and I think it’s time for a DIY Summer Survival Kit, full of all-natural products that you can easily make yourself.  To start us off, I’ve blended a great mosquito and tick repellant recipe, just for you dear readers.  Many areas experienced milder than usual winters this year, so the mosquito and tick populations are going to be out in full force and we’re going to need a way to fight back.  There are a lot of different bug repellants available in the store, so why make your own?  Well, for one, it’s fun but in all seriousness, many repellants contain a chemical called DEET.  While DEET does work wonders at repelling bugs, it is also a registered pesticide and spraying that directly on my skin makes me nervous.  I really don’t like seeing it used on kids and pets, so I stick with the all-natural stuff and it works great.

There area variety of essential oils that can be used to make your own bug repellant, citronella being one of the most obvious, but it can be difficult to find.  I wanted to make this recipe simple with ingredients that you can easily find.  That being said, I have selected varieties of essential oils that are commonly found in health food stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.  If you can’t find them locally my favorite online herbal retailer is Mountain Rose Herbs.

In a clean, dry spray bottle, mix together the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup (8oz.) witch hazel
  • 25 drops of lemongrass essential oil (mosquito repellant)
  • 20 drops of lavender essential oil (mosquito and flea repellant)
  • 15 drops of geranium essential oil (tick repellant) – optional if you don’t have ticks in your area

Shake well before each use.  Spray the mix all over your exposed skin, avoiding your face.  You can spray the mix into your hands and rub on your face, avoiding the eye area.  These essential oils are very gentle, but you may want to do a test spritz on small children and those with sensitive skin before applying too liberally on them.  If you are sweating or swimming, reapply about every 30 minutes or as needed.  This stuff works wonders and it’s chemical free, I love that!

You can also spray this out on back porches or patios where you’re sitting and it will help keep the bugs away. It’s perfect for camping and safe for use on dogs.  So whip up a batch and get outside this summer!  And don’t forget to check back every week this month for more DIY products to put in your Summer Survival Kit.

Next Week: What you got bit anyway?!  Okay…DIY Bug Bite Relief

image via: istockphoto.com

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