My boys love the outdoors. My youngest at the time of writing this, Jacob, didn’t say many words, but one of the words he did say was “outside, outside!” while banging on the glass of our sliding back door. Due to an incredibly high number of man-eating mosquitoes, going out there unprotected is not a good idea. We need some insect repellent!
Commercial bug sprays would leave me gagging and gasping for air, so it’s no surprise they are not great for you — DEET or no DEET. There are probably some commercial natural-type repellents, but I can only imagine they’re expensive. We’ll be slathering this homemade stuff head-to-toe most summer days, so I wanted it to be safe AND economical. This was before I formulated Earthley’s Pest-Aside.
There are several essential oils that those nasty critters just hate, so I made up a cocktail that should prevent them from thinking our skin is an all-you-can-eat buffet. Enjoy!
- 4 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
- 10 drops of citronella essential oil
- 10 drops of lemongrass essential oil
- 10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
- 10 drops of lavender essential oil
- 10 drops of peppermint essential oil
Step 1: I like to put my coconut oil in a glass dish (or whatever I’ll use for storing the final product) on top of an upside-down cookie sheet or cooling rack, straddling a burner that was heated and turned off. The oil melts quickly this way, but I don’t have to worry about overheating or dirtying a pan.
Step 2: Stir in the essential oils once the oil is liquid. I use a metal skewer, so I don’t have to waste oil on a spoon. Let it sit and cool.
How to Use
You can apply it to the skin as a liquid or semi-solid (coconut oil should be solid below 76ºF). The essential oils can be adjusted depending on your preference and supply, the most important being the citronella and lemongrass oils. The ratio should remain at 50 drops per 4 Tbs. carrier oil to prevent irritating sensitive skin.
I tried this on my two little boys today and have not found a bite on anyone yet!
While another carrier oil could be used (like olive oil), one significant benefit to making this with coconut oil exists. Coconut oil has an SPF between 4 and 6. In combination with a diet rich in omega-3s (including coconut oil!), this bug repellant should also help prevent sunburn. Our backyard is fairly shady, so I feel completely comfortable sending my boys out there with this as their only sun protection.
And if you aren’t aware of coconut oil’s many benefits and uses, you can check out our blog, Everything You Need to Know about Coconut Oil. It is one of the most versatile products in my house, right up there with baking soda and vinegar!!