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Natural Insect Repellent Recipe

How to Make Natural Insect Repellent

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In addition to preventing itchy bites, insect repellents can keep you safe from diseases.

In addition to preventing itchy bites, insect repellents can help keep you safe from insect-borne diseases.

Mario Villafuerte / Getty Images
You can make natural insect repellent yourself. The insect repellent is safe and effective, plus it costs much less to make it than to buy it.

Natural Insect Repellent Safety

There are a few different formulations you can make for your natural insect repellent. These repellents involve diluting essential oils that the insects find distasteful or which confuses them. The oils don't mix with water, so you'll need to add them to other oils or to alcohol. It's important to use an oil or alcohol that is safe for your skin. Also, don't go overboard with the essential oils. The oils are potent and could cause skin irritation or another reaction if you use too much. If you are pregnant or nursing, do not apply an insect repellent, natural or otherwise, until after you've gotten it cleared by your physician.

Natural Insect Repellent Ingredients

Different insects are repelled by different chemicals, so you'll get a more effective repellent if you combine a few different insect-repelling natural oils. If you are making large amounts of insect repellent, a good rule of thumb is to mix the repellent so it's 5-10% essential oil, so mix 1 part essential oil with 10-20 parts carrier oil or alcohol. For a smaller batch use:
  • 10-25 drops (total) of essential oils
  • 2 tablespoons of a carrier oil or alcohol
The essential oils that work well against biting insects (mosquitoes, flies, ticks, fleas) are:
  • cinnamon oil (mosquitoes)
  • lemon eucalyptus or regular eucalyptus oil (mosquitoes, ticks, and lice)
  • citronella oil (mosquitoes and biting flies)
  • castor oil (mosquitoes)
  • orange oil (fleas)
  • rose geranium (ticks and lice)
Safe carrier oils and alcohols include:
  • olive oil
  • sunflower oil
  • any other cooking oil
  • witch hazel
  • vodka

Natural Insect Repellent Recipe

Mix the essential oil with the carrier oil or alcohol. Rub or spray the natural insect repellent onto skin or clothing, using care to avoid the sensitive eye area. You'll need to re-apply the natural product after about an hour or after swimming or exercise. Unused natural insect repellent may be stored in a dark bottle, away from heat or sunlight. If you wish, you may combine the oil with aloe vera gel to change the consistency of the product.

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