Summertime is here and, unfortunately, it comes with the biting bugs. If you live in our area of Florida, it’s not just mosquitoes you have to contend with but also the biting deer, horse, and sand flies, no see ums, house flies and the list goes on. Not only are these bites often painful and unbearably itchy, they also may carry nasty diseases and viruses that can be deadly.
Unfortunately, most insect repellents on the market are loaded with toxic chemicals, including DEET. DEET is so poisonous that even the Environmental Protection Agency says you should wash it off your skin when you return indoors, avoid breathing it in and not spray it directly on your face. But what if your summer outing lasted 8 hours? By that time, you have absorbed much of its toxic effect.
When it comes to living a healthy and natural lifestyle, what you put on your body is just as important as what you put in your body. Your skin is the largest organ of your body and since it is porous, it absorbs whatever you put on it. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health looked into the skin’s absorption rates of chemicals and found the skin absorbed an average of 64% of the total contaminant dosage.
So what can you do to fend off these evil attackers that ruin all things related to outdoor fun? Once again, Mother Nature has an answer for this dilemma! There are several natural ingredients that repel these bugs and, when combined together, they should provide you and your family with adequate protection without the risk of the toxic effects of DEET. There should be careful, however, when applying essential oils to the skin because, they too, can cause harm if not diluted properly.
As a general rule, essential oils should be diluted in a carrier oil like coconut oil or almond oil in a 3-5% solution. This equates to 3-5 drops of essential oils per teaspoon of carrier oil if you are applying to a child however, this should be diluted even more. It is advised to consult with a medical professional before applying any essential oils to young children. If you’d rather not attempt the do it yourself approach, Badger also makes a great natural bug spray with essential oils.
Homemade Bug Spray Ingredients
- 30 drops geranium essential oil
- 30 drops citronella essential oil
- 20 drops lemon eucalyptus essential oil
- 20 drops lavender essential oil
- 10 drops rosemary essential oil
- 1 TBSP rubbing alcohol
- ½ cup natural witch hazel
- ½ cup water (or vinegar)
- 1 tsp vegetable glycerin(optional)
Homemade Bug Spray Instructions
- Pour essential oils into a glass spray bottle. Add the alcohol and shake well to combine.
- If you wish to use witch hazel, add and shake to blend.
- Add ½ tsp vegetable glycerin if using. This is not necessary but helps does help combine the ingredients.
- Add water and shake again. Shake before each use as the oils and water will naturally separate some overtime.
We hope this information is useful to you and you can enjoy your summer without the bites of these pests. Disclaimer (because we have to), this information is for educational purposes only and should not replace the advice of a healthcare professional.