While bug season is swarming closer and closer to home, you may be at the ready with some store-bought bug sprays. But did you know, you can make your own bug-be-gone spray at home? In addition to being more cost-effective, homemade bug sprays reduce your contact with harmful chemicals. Many mass-produced bug sprays from the store contain chemicals that have been found to have detrimental effects on your body’s largest organ, the skin. Additionally, one of the greatest functions of your skin (besides basically holding you all together) is to absorb things. Your skin absorbs everything you put on it and carries it into and through your body. DEET (a common active ingredient in many bug sprays) has been found to be largely absorbed by the body within 6 hours of application. In other studies, DEET was found to cross the placenta of pregnant mothers and was even able to be detected in the newborns. Beyond being potentially harmful to human bodies, DEET is also harmful to the environment as it can contaminate groundwater, surface water, and drinking water. So let’s ditch the DEET and use safe and effective bug sprays that our skin and environment can absorb with little worry (and cost!)
The non-spray methods:
Bugs have many handy tools to detect their favorite human snacks: carbon dioxide, colors, and other human scents. It’s been found that mosquitos can more easily see dark colors and many other bugs are attracted to white, orange, and yellow. So you’d likely be better off wearing lighter shades of blues, greens, and purples. You could also always wear essential oils that bugs dislike such as citronella, eucalyptus, and cinnamon. Luckily, these scents smell bad to bugs while good to us! Additionally, you could throw the bugs for a loop by lighting a candle far away from where you are to draw the bugs to the carbon dioxide emitted by the candle.
Homemade Bug Spray:
Combine together any of the following essential oils: lavender, citronella, rosemary, eucalyptus, peppermint, and/or lemon to ½ cup water (or white vinegar), ½ cup natural witch hazel, and 1 Tbsp. vodka or rubbing alcohol. Make sure to shake before each use as the oils and water will naturally separate some over time. Keep this bug spray on hand at any backyard functions or
sporting events and it will not only keep you bug-free but also cool and smelling fresh!
(I got this photo from Our Paleo Life)