I am allergic to mosquito bites, so I need a good insect repellant, but I hate pesticides of any kind. Pesticides are the only known cause of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which killed my mother. So I don’t like to wear insect repellant with any pesticides like DEET in it.
What to do? I mix my own essential oil insect repellant, which I found to be very effective, and much better smelling than store bought bug sprays.
Here's what you'll need:
Put 5-10 drops each of as many of the following oils as you have in a 2-ounce dark glass spray bottle:
geranium lemongrass rosemary basil
lavender catnip bergamot vetiver
arborvitae patchouli cypress melaleuca
eucalyptus clary sage cedar wood citronella
peppermint thyme litsea lemon eucalyptus
You can also add any of the following that also have some repellant properties, but these are second-tier:
lemon clove birch
cinnamon douglas fir ylang ylang
The more oils you use, the stronger your repellant will be. You must put these in a glass container because the essential oils are strong enough to break down plastic, and it needs to be dark (brown or cobalt blue) to keep the sunlight from breaking down the oils.
Because essential oils alone can irritate the skin, you need to add a little carrier oil to the mixture. Add about 10-20 drops of a light oil, such as fractionated coconut, almond, or avocado oil, to the bottle. The lighter this oil, the better, so that it won’t clog the sprayer. I use fractionated coconut oil, but I have that on hand.
In addition, you may want to add 5 drops of glycerin.
Fill the rest of the bottle with witch hazel. This will thin the spray, keep the sprayer clear, and distribute the oils evenly on the skin. About half of your mixture should be witch hazel.
Shake well before use, and reapply frequently.
Caution: citrus oils can make your skin more sensitive to light. And some of these oils are not pet-friendly.
So go mix up your own repellant, and enjoy the great outdoors.
If you'd like to purchase your own high-quality essential oils at wholesale cost, let me know and I can help you become a doTerra member to purchase these at cost.
Teresa Eisenlohr is a licensed massage therapist who's also an ordained Presbyterian pastor with a Ph.D. in Christian theology. Needless to say, it's been a weird and interesting healing journey.