Summertime is my favorite but with the warm weather come the bugs. The amount of ticks and mosquitos we have in our area is just out of control. But I get a little concerned about always using the bug sprays with DEET so I decided to make my own and I know exactly what’s in it. I can choose natural and safe ingredients and customize them for my family. No more chemicals and pesticides! Natural is great, but it also needs to work and this does.
I do a lot of trail runs and I’m always taking our dog for walks in the woods so I’ve put this bug spray to the test. I actually forgot to use it one day and I found a tick on me that same day. Coincidence? Maybe. But I think this solution really works. It’s also easy and inexpensive to make.
Essential oils are a great natural alternative to insect repellents and adding them to a simple recipe helps reduce your chemical exposure. There are lots of effective essential oil options out there, but I found this DIY bug spray mixture works for me and seems to repel my biggest annoyances: mosquitos and ticks – but it also works on fleas and flies. You can get an essential oil starter kit here. Or you can buy them individually at stores like Whole Foods Market.
Here are 4 essential oils that repel bugs:
1. Lavender – This smells sweet to us but bugs absolutely hate it. It works on mosquitoes, ticks, flies, and fleas.
2. Eucalyptus – According to the Journal of Medical Entomology, Eucalyptus can reduce tick bites and infections.
3. Lemon – Lemon essential oil works against mosquitos and it adds a nice scent.
4. Rosemary – Repels fleas and ticks.
Basic DIY Bug Spray Recipe:
- 2 oz. of Witch hazel
- 2 oz. of Distilled water (doesn’t have to be exact, just fill almost to top – leaving room for the oils)
- 15 drops Lavender Essential Oil
- 15 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil
- 15 drops Rosemary Essential Oil
- 15 drops Lemon Essential Oil
Pour all ingredients into a 4 oz. spray bottle, shake and use as necessary. This plastic spray bottle is the perfect size to travel with. Check the bottom of the plastic bottle to see if it’s #1 PETE or #2 HDPE, either of those types of plastic will work and are chemical free. I also keep a larger (16 oz.) glass spray bottle filled with bug spray for a quick spray before I head outside. I got the glass spray bottle here, but this one would work too.
I also created some FREE labels you can download and print to add to your new bug spray bottles. Visit my freebies page to print them and attach them to your jar(s) with spray adhesive, a glue sick or by printing them on adhesive paper. To get my freebies, you must be a subscriber to my blog. If you’re not yet a subscriber to my blog, it’s easy to do, there’s no commitment and you get access to lots of free stuff. Enter your email address in the box on the right (above the SUBSCRIBE button). Follow the instructions fully – be sure to follow all the steps to confirm your subscription – and then you’ll have access to all my free stuff! If you’re already a subscriber, you should have received an email with a password to access these fun freebies already.
Tips for using:
- Oils and water don’t mix, so be sure to shake the DIY bug spray before you use it.
- Avoid touching eyes and mouth if you have bug spray on your fingers.
- Safe for adults and kids 10+.
- There are some essential oils that are NOT safe for pets. According to my research, the ones I have listed ARE safe for dogs but I prefer to be cautious and not apply these directly on our pet’s fur. I have read that spraying their collar is a good solution though.
I hope you enjoyed this post and find this natural remedy useful against those pesky bugs.
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