The CDC says, “Using insect repellents containing DEET should not be harmful if label directions are followed and the product is used safely.” Despite this, DEET exposure over time could cause problems like skin or respiratory irritation. Plus, it’s still classified as a pesticide. The thought of putting a pesticide directly on my skin just doesn’t sit well with me.
Natural homemade insect repellents are a great alternative to chemical-based ones. Store bought natural repellents cost a pretty penny, but not to worry. You can easily and inexpensively make your own, and most of the ingredients might already be around your home. Let’s get started!
Grab Some Essential Oils
A few drops of essential oils are the foundation for most homemade insect repellents. Any of these will work well:
- Lemon balm
- Rose geranium
- Cinnamon oil
Find a Carrier Liquid
While you can apply a few drops of essential oils directly to your skin, adding it to some kind of liquid carrier helps the solution last longer. Plus, most of the carriers below also boost the bug-repelling power:
- Witch hazel
- Sunflower oil
- Apple cider
- Liquid soap
- Vegetable oil
- Mineral oil
- Lemon juice
- Tea tree oil
- Rubbing alcohol
Pick Some Herbs
To get the most out of your natural insect repellent, you can steep your mixture with some fresh herbs. You can also substitute them for many of the essential oils listed above. Here are a few herbs to add to your homemade insect repellent:
- Any variety of mint
- Lemon grass
Mix Everything Together
Once you pick a carrier liquid, a few essential oils and an herb or two, you’re ready to create your concoction. There are a ton of different recipes, but the one below is the easiest to make and remember:
- Mix one-part essential oils with about 15-parts carrier liquid.
- Pour solution into a saucepan and heat it up on the stove pot.
- Chop up select herbs and steep them in the warm solution for anywhere from a few minutes to overnight – the longer the better.
- Lastly, strain the mixture and put it into a spray bottle.
Don’t forget to also check out some of these mosquito-repellent plants that you can grow around your home. They’ll add an extra bug-repellent barrier.
There you have it – a totally DEET-free, natural insect repellent you can make at home. It’s simple and inexpensive, so why not give it a try this summer?
What do you think about homemade insect repellents? Share your thoughts with other Zing readers on the comments below!
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