Safe And Natural Insect Repellents Using Essential Oils

Published: 11th June 2010
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Ah yes, the joys of Summer, and along with them come the little biting bugs! Mosquitoes, no-seeums, ticks and more, these are definitely creatures we all want to repel from ourselves and our environment. And if you've been paying attention, and probably if you're reading this -- and particularly if you're a parent -- you have, DEET (N,N-diethyl-3-methyl-benzamide ) is now thought to be toxic to a child's developing nervous system (and possibly adults as well). Yes, there are several scientific papers that say that it's not, but do you want to take the chance? Something causes the thousands of children each year to end up at the doctors after being sprayed with commercial insect repellents. Want to make your own organic, natural formula? Here's how to do it, and even use essential oils to repel mosquitoes and the like from your living space as well.

Essential oils, and aromatics in general, have been used throughout the ages to repel mosquitoes and other biting bugs. In all over the counter "natural" formulas, you'll find one or more essential oils as the "active ingredients". Making your own formulation is truly easy to do, and can be cost effective if you're going to go through a significant amount over the year. Making a lotion or spray is as simple as measuring essential oils by the drop into your base, be it an organic cream, or liquid such as witch hazel. One of the coolest thing about making your own is you have the ability to control all the ingredients, and make a completely organic formula if you like!

What you might find especially interesting is that you can use these same oils in an aromatherapy diffuser to repel insects from your living room, or even your bedroom as you sleep. Just set the diffuser on low and fill your room with one of the oils, or a great smelling blend of oils and maybe you (or your kids) won't have to worry about getting bitten all night.

So are you ready to mix up your first batch of topical mosquito repellent? You'll need to decide whether you want a spray or a lotion. For either of these, the recommended concentration of essential oils is between five and ten percent - that means anywhere from 120 drops to 240 drops total essential oil in four ounces of base. To help you chose: A lotion will probably remain effective for a longer time after application, though the spray can be easier to use -- you can spray it on your clothes if you like. For your base for a spray, you can use rubbing alcohol (perhaps not the finest scent, but it's inexpensive), vodka (yes, this time you want cheap alcohol!) or witch hazel (a natural plant extract based in water -- probably the easiest on the skin, but does not hold the oils in suspension as well, just requiring more of a good shake before each use). For a lotion, any unscented lotion will do, and there are many organic unscented creams available through natural product suppliers.

Which essential oils to use? The most common ones in many of the natural repellents is Geranium or Rose Geranium. Geranium is nice because the aroma is appealing to many people, so you won't mind using it. The you'll find Citronella, Lemongrass, Cedarwood and sometime kind of mint, be it Spearmint or Peppermint. But the grandaddy essential oil for mosquito repelling is actually Catnip. Research was released a few years ago that noted Catnip to be ten times more effective than DEET! In all the natural formulas, you'll find a blend of oils, as it's likely several oils combined will be more effective than any single one alone.

The recipes are very simple. Find a four ounce container of your choice. A spray bottle or something with a pump top, depending on your choice of base. Fill this about 9/10ths of the way up with your base, be it lotion, vodka, etc. Here, a measuring pipette is very helpful: four ounces = 120ml, so 5% = 6ml and 10% = 12ml. To help you measure, if you don't have a measuring device, there are approximately 20 drops per milliliter. For a synergy formula of 10%, use 6ml Geranium, 3ml Citronella, 2ml Lemongrass and 1ml Cedarwood...or just use 6ml Catnip! We're not quite certain which will work better, because essential oil blends have not been tested. It would be fun to experiment here yourself -- you might find a blend that you love the aroma of, and the bugs really detest!

So you'd like to repel insects from your home, office, or other enclosed space? Find yourself a quality, high output aromatherapy diffuser. A nebulizing diffuser -- one that does not mix the oils with water -- is best, as you can really output a high concentration of essential oils in the air if you find it necessary. Just add the essential oils of your choice into the reservoir and run the unit for several minutes. In this case, you might use just Citronella essential oil, as it is of very low cost. One prominent author talks about leaving tissues with drops of Peppermint essential oil on them on the windowsills (obviously she didn't have screens in this room!) as a deterrent. So because so many possibilities can work, you might want to experiment here, trying to find the least amount of essential oil necessary for your needs.

Well there it is! One of the simplest, very effective means of "aromatherapy". By using essential oils this way, you can alleviate your worries of whether or not DEET is harmful to you and your loved ones. Essential oils really a great treasure of natural healing -- if you haven't used them yet, perhaps this can be your launching pad into a whole new world of natural medicine.

The author has made available reports on essential oils such as tea tree oil and other therapeutically valued essential oils.

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