Summer is the time of year to be outdoors, whether you’re picnicking, camping, gardening, attending a sporting event, or just enjoying a glass of wine on your patio . Unfortunately, mosquitoes and other pesky insects can spoil your relaxing time outdoors. In many cases, bug spray is the only option that will allow you to stay outside without getting eaten alive.
However, most of the insect repellents available in stores are full of toxic chemicals and give off that overwhelming smell that causes coughing. Not only are many insect repellents bad for the environment, they can also be harmful to your health. Fortunately, there are several all-natural bug spray options that will keep bugs away so you can enjoy the outdoors.
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Why use natural insect repellants?
For many people, keeping mosquitoes away is a priority, as is avoiding chemicals such as DEET, which are often found in many commercial insect repellents. DEET (or N, N-Diethyl-m-toluamide) is designed to repel rather than kill insects. It is used by about a third of the American population and has been linked to many neurological problems, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Additionally, DEET has been shown to negatively impact wildlife and water sources during production and during use, and is extremely toxic to birds and aquatic life.
These are just a few of the top reasons we think it’s important to use natural insect repellants to protect you and your children from nasty insect bites. If you are a handyman, you can even make a batch of eco-friendly insect repellant yourself! Here are a few different options for a natural insect repellant that will keep bugs and bugs at bay while you’re outside this summer.
Insect spray with essential oils
Use the following ingredients to prepare an all-natural insect repellant that is safe for your family and the environment:
Once you have all of the ingredients listed above, complete a 8 oz spray bottle half full with distilled or boiled water. Add witch hazel or vodka to fill almost to the top. Add half a teaspoon of vegetable glycerin as well as 30 to 50 drops of the essential oil of your choice. Keep in mind that the more oils you use, the more powerful your spray will be.
Insect repellent from fresh or dried herbs
Another option for a natural insect repellant is to use fresh or dried herbs. For this recipe you will need the following:
To make this natural, eco-friendly repellant, boil a cup of water and add 3-4 tablespoons of dried herbs (any combination of the herbs listed above will work, although it is recommended to use at least one from the mint family). Mix well, cover and let cool. Once the solution has cooled, strain the herbs and toss with a cup of witch hazel, vodka, or rubbing alcohol. Store in a spray bottle in a cool place, such as the refrigerator, and use as needed.
These are just a few easy, affordable, safe and natural insect repellant recipes that will allow you to enjoy the outdoors without toxic insecticides. If bees are bombarding your barbecue, try this natural do-it-yourself repellant.
DIY remedies for stings, bites, scratches and sunburns
Are you already feeling the effects of insect bites or stings or other summer irritations? The following infographic from Fix.com offers natural and DIY remedies to give you relief.
Featured Image Courtesy of Robert andersson. Originally published on July 7, 2015, this article was updated in July 2021.