With our warm climate, mosquitoes and insects are a perennial problem. The best way to keep them away is to use insect repellents that block the sensors of mosquitoes and other bugs and thereby make it difficult for them to trace us. However, most insect repellents have toxic chemicals like DEET. DEET literally is N, N-Diethyl-m-toluamide, a chemical compound which is linked to skin and eye irritation for people with sensitive skin. Also, cleaned and rinsed off the skin, it pollutes water sources around us.
Next time you need a bug repellent, make it using Essential Oils. They are as effective as those including DEET, but are safer for you and the environment.
Here are the Essential oils you should keep:
- Clove Essential Oil: This one’s rated the highest when it comes to warding off and keeping mosquitoes at bay. A direct topical application though should be avoided. It must be mixed with a carrier oil like almond or coconut and used in a spray/ rub form.
- Citronella Essential Oil: This lemon scented oil is known for its effectiveness in repelling mosquitoes. It also works effectively in keeping moths away. Use it as in a spray/ rub form or even as a vaporiser. You could even consider dipping a cotton ball in the oil and leaving it in areas that attract the most mosquitoes/ moths to keep them away.
- Lavender Essential Oil: Keep it in sachets in cupboards to ward off moths and other insects. It is also effective in soothing bee and wasp stings – all you need to do is apply it on the sting with a cotton ball. Lavender Essential Oil works effectively as does Citronella Essential Oil in keeping away flies and can be used like the Citronella Essential Oil to keep them at bay.
- Basil Essential Oil: This one’s another must have to combat the current mosquito led fevers at bay. Spray this oil around to ward off mosquitoes. The fragrance is also linked with being a mood lifter, so go ahead and use it comfortably.
- Eucalyptus Essential Oil: We all despise those houseflies and swatting them around can be quite a nightmare. Eucalyptus Oil is the solution as it works very well in combatting houseflies. Just soak a few ribbons in it and hang them on the windowsill.
- Peppermint Essential Oil: The icy smell of peppermint oil is a great replacement to the chemical infused synthetic repellent fragrances. Also, peppermint is a natural insecticide and kills and repels mosquitoes. Peppermint Essential Oil is also a great soother for insect bites. Mix 10 drops of it with 10 drops of Tea Tree Essential Oil and apply onto the affected area. When using Tea Tree Essential Oil care must be taken as it can cause skin irritation in a few people. Doing a patch test with the oil is advisable.
- Tea Tree Essential Oil: This oil works as a natural insecticide and insect repellant and works effectively against mosquitoes and other stinging insects. Tea Tree oil shouldn’t be directly applied onto skin, as it may cause skin irritation.
- Thyme Essential Oil: Use this one to keep away those creepy crawlies found in beds that multiply in hundreds – the bed bugs. Thyme oils’ astringent properties are known to help in killing and keeping away bed bugs. To create a bed bug repellant, you need to mix ten drops of lavender essential oil with six drops of lemongrass essential oil and six drops of tea tree and ten of thyme. Use this to spray the infected areas. You could also consider washing the laundry in hot water with Tea Tree Essential Oil added to it. Do not ingest any of these oils and do not apply onto skin directly either.
Here’s how you can make your own insect/ mosquito repellent:
- Rub on insect repellent:
- Carrier oil like almond or any other non greasy oil
- Citronella Essential Oil
- Glass bottle
Mix two tablespoon of carrier oil with 10 drops of Citronella Essential Oil or any other of your choice(choose any like Citronella, Lemongrass, Clove, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Peppermint or Lavender). Transfer this to a recycled glass bottle. Mix well and use on exposed areas.
- Carrier oil
- Lavender Essential Oil
- Boiled water
- Spray bottle
Mix together 1 ½ tablespoon of boiled water with 1 teaspoon of carrier oil – like almond oil, 1 teaspoon of vodka, and 15-20 drops of Essential Oil of your choice (choose any like Citronella, Lemongrass, Clove, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Peppermint, Basil or Lavender). Transfer into the spray bottle. Shake well and use as per need.
You can create your repellents by mixing/ adding more than one Essential Oil. Citronella with Clove works best and is highly effective as a mosquito repellent. When using Essential Oils, always read about them prior to use. Pregnant women should not use them and care should be taken to read up online about any Essential Oil prior to using them on kids, sensitive skin, and pets.
If you are familiar with other Essential Oils and are currently using any of them as insect repellents, please do share your views with us.