Bug repellent can be an absolute lifesaver, especially in the warmer months when the mosquitos have a field day. Whether you're planning a holiday somewhere hot or merely hoping to spend your days outside exploring and in the garden, you'll most definitely need to get your hands on a bottle or two.
There are multiple downsides to store-bought bug sprays. Although they can be highly effective at deterring stingers and biters, this is usually because they are full of strong chemicals which you don't want your skin to absorb. They are also often extremely strong smelling which isn't ideal for little ones.
I've used these bug sprays for years but I think it's time to stop and make my own. This way I can be exactly sure what is going into them, and consequently what I am putting onto my skin and that of my family.
Effective Homemade Bug Spray
1. Essential Oil Bug Spray
This homemade spray tutorial goes into detail about DEET, the main bug repelling ingredient in most store-bought sprays, and why it should be avoided. I learned last year when my sister was preparing for an exhibition, that this chemical is also bad for the environment, another reason why you should skip it.
This Essential Oil Bug Spray uses various oils from plants that bugs don't like to create an effective repellent. Citronella is the perfect ingredient to deter mosquitos. Not only will it serve its purpose in this way, it will also smell sensational with lavender and geranium essential oils.
2. Bug Spray with Vodka
I know what you're thinking, vodka isn't the first thing you want to spray on your body. However, it's incredibly useful for killing bugs and insects and can also help remove the stingy feeling in the aftermath of a bite.
The scent of alcohol will not be strong in this Bug Spray with Vodka because of the essential oil and vanilla extract. This recipe uses an essential oil blend which is handy if you don't want to buy multiple bottles of different oils. I love the smell of vanilla, so its inclusion gets a big thumbs up from me, even before I found out that it is an ingredient detested by mosquitos and other bugs.
3. Lavender Bug Repellent
I have always associated lavender with aromatherapy and relaxation, never with bug repelling. According to this though, lavender oil is great to use both for the prevention and treatment of bug bites.
I love floral and herbal scents, so this Lavender Bug Repellent would be a joy to use. There are multiple ways you can use it, by diluting it with water and applying it to the body as a spray or even by mixing it with lotions or other carrier oils. Because of its antiseptic qualities, it can be applied directly to flared up bites or stings, but you might want to dilute it a little or at least use it sparingly.
4. Fresh Herb Bug Spray
We grow many herbs in our garden at home, so this Fresh Herb Bug Spray looks perfect. It would be practically free to make and would put our yield to extremely good use.
Along with the fresh herbs, this spray includes witch hazel or alcohol, whichever you prefer, which again works to deter bugs. This recipe gives you multiple options of fresh herbs you could use, so you could experiment to see which scents and combinations work best for you. The fresh mint will ensure that it smells delightfully fresh regardless.
5. Natural Insect Repellent Spray
Like many homemade bug spray recipes, all this one requires you to do is collect your ingredients and shake them up together in a spray bottle. This gives you no excuse not to give them a try, all you need is a minute or two, and the pests will leave you alone.
This Natural Insect Repellent Bug Spray leaves the essential oils up to you, although it gives a few suggestions if you're stuck. I love fresh and citrus scents so I might try a combination of citronella, lemon, and lemongrass. Most other homemade sprays I have come across contain either vodka or witch hazel, but this includes both which makes me confident it will be highly effective.
6. Witch Hazel Bug Spray
Different bugs and insects react to different ingredients, so it's worth having a think about which ones affect you the worst and researching the best essential oils to fend them off. According to this Witch Hazel Bug Spray recipe, peppermint, citronella, and rosemary are the ones who are hated by the broadest range of bugs so if you're unsure then stick to them.
Again, witch hazel is used in most store-bought bug sprays but isn't at all harmful to the skin. I also don't mind the scent; it's undoubtedly less alcoholic and sterile than using straight vodka.
7. Vinegar Insect Repellent
I had never heard of using apple cider vinegar as a bug repellent, but this recipe looks simple. This idea dates all the way back to the Black Plague, and although you won't be coming across anything quite as threatening, it gives me hope that it will effectively deter the bugs.
Don't be put off by the scent of this Vinegar Insect Repellent when you first spray it; the herbs will come through as it dries. The floral and herbal combination of sage, rosemary, lavender thyme and mint will be both soothing and strong enough to work. I grow all these things at home so I could whip up a batch whenever I please.
8. Bug Repellent Balm
I love trying something a little different when it comes to everything beauty and skincare related, this Bug Repellent Balm is highly intriguing.
What I love about this idea is how easily transportable it is, you could pop it in your handbag or backpack and top up whenever you needed to. You completely remove the risk of spraying it everywhere and covering other people or your clothes, the balm form makes it precise and easy. There are multiple divine scents going on here like lavender, lemon, and coconut so it almost doubles up as a perfume.
9. Citrus Bug Spray
I can imagine myself using this as a body spray regardless of whether or not I am going to be in a bug infested area. Citrus scents are perfect for the summer months, and I bet you won't have any issues convincing your kids to pop this on.
This Citrus Bug Spray contains aloe vera which will soothe current bites as well as the skin in general. I love the idea of combining different citrus essential oils like grapefruit, orange, and lemon, and the citronella will make sure you are kept free from bugs while still smelling delicious.
I am almost excited for bug season to be upon us now I have all these amazing homemade bug repellents to try out. Where I'm from is surrounded by dense woods which we love to take walks through so these will come in handy to keep us protected.
That Bug Repellent Balm has drawn me right in and I love the fact I could use it on the go, both on myself and on my family. I will also be trying out one of the Fresh Herb Bug Sprays because they will be so easy for me to make with the herbs I already grow in my garden.
Have you ever made your own bug repellent? What's your top tip for keeping those bugs at bay?