It is finely worming outside and the weather is amazing for lots of outside activities! We’ve been waiting for this so long! But, as we all know, warm weather brings lots of bugs with it. They are not invited to our party and we won’t let them ruin our plans!
In this post I would like to share with you, why in our family we use only natural bug repellent based on essential oils and I’ll give you some ideas which essential oils to use if you decide to make your own DIY repellent spray.
So, what’s wrong with chemical insect repellents?
Insect repellents are regulated as pesticides in Canada and the United States because their active ingredients are pesticides. Bug repellents are made up of two types of ingredients. Active ingredients and inert ingredients. The most popular active ingredient is DEET.
DEET, which is an acronym for N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide, is one of the most effective bug repellents and also repels ticks. It does not kill mosquitoes, but it helps deter and repel bugs from finding their next meal – us! DEET works by interfering with neurons and receptors located on the mosquito’s antennae and mouth-parts that detect potential meals. Basically, DEET makes it harder for bugs to smell us.
The bad news is that large doses of DEET have been linked to skin blisters, seizures, memory loss, headaches, stiffness in the joints shortness of breath, and skin irritation. DEET is also linked to neurotoxicity that may lead to physiological and behavioral problems, especially with motor skills, and learning and memory dysfunction.
DEET is absorbed quickly through the skin: one study showed that 48% of the applied dose is totally absorbed within six hours. When mixed with the sunscreen chemical oxybenzone, it was found to be absorbed even more quickly. DEET has been shown to cross the placenta: in animal studies, DEET was found in the fetus and in newborns up to three months old after exposing the mother to the chemical.
Once I’ve read this list of health concerns. It was obvious to me that I don’t want to put it on my or my kids’ skin and I started to look for alternatives.
My natural alternative is essential oils. Even if you are not a frequent user of essential oils, you have probably heard not once about citronella and lemongrass repellent properties.
In addition to them, there are some very powerful oils that smell great and keep all the bugs away! You can find a chart down below
Here’s what I like about using natural bug repellents:
Non-toxic ingredients are safer on your clothing and skin
No scary chemicals to inhale or absorb through your skin, compromise your immunity or stir up your allergies
They really work!
How do Natural Bug Repellents Work?
Plants have natural defenses to protect themselves from harmful invaders like fungus, bacteria, and insects.
The naturally occurring oils contained in the leaves, stems, bark, wood, and flowers of some plants help to keep the plants healthy. These are the essential oils!
These oils also have potent properties that we can use to our advantage.
When used safely and applied properly, essential oils can repel insects just as effectively as any commercial insect repellent.
How Can We Use Essential Oils?
We can make a DIY repellent spray
Diffuse essential oils to repel insects in an entire room or space
DIY beeswax candles for outside spaces
In the chart below you can see which essential oils can be good protectors again bugs.
You can combine any oils to make insect repellent blend, but don’t forget to dilute it properly!
Here is an example for a powerful blend.
Thyme Linalol 4 drops
Lemongrass 8 drops
Lavender 4 drops
Peppermint 4 drops
Tea tree 2 drops
You can make a water-base splash by adding 5 drops of this blend to every 15 ml of water. Shake well before each application. (This blend is for adults and is not safe for young kids because of peppermint that is not recommended for kids)
As an aromatherapist and toxin-free mom of three, my mission and passion are to share with you my knowledge, experience and encourage you always to read labels and be informed of what do you put on your skin / ingest or inhale.
Enjoy the weather! Stay safe and healthy!