Summertime and the need for a good insect repellent – they rather go hand in hand! But what if you need a natural insect repellent?
There are some people who can wade through a swarm of mosquitoes and barely notice them.
Other people yell in pain at a mosquito bite and develop hard, red skin bumps that last for weeks.
Well, I’ll tell you that I’m firmly in the second camp. From childhood, I’ve been extremely sensitive to insect bites. This was inherited from my mother, and she was always careful to cover us with insect repellent during the spring and summer months. Nasty smelling stuff, and some of it always seemed to get into our mouths. Blech. As I grew older and realized that chemicals bothered me, the cure became worse than the disease.
My hope was that none of my children would inherit this allergy and none did … until my little girl. Out of six children, I have one who swells up with painful bumps at the most harmless bite. And as luck would have it, she has inherited my sensitivity to chemicals, too.
Last year I picked up a bottle of all natural insect repellent that was made with essential oils. I was very impressed … and the price made a serious impression on me, too!
So this year, I’m making my own.
To make this you need THREE different kinds of essential oils – lemongrass essential oil, thyme essential oil and geranium essential oil. The initial cost investment is high, but there is a lot of essential oil in these little bottles!
Lemongrass, like citronella, is very unpleasant to insects.
Thyme is an antiseptic. If you do get bug bites, this will soothe them and help prevent infections. It is also effective at repelling insects. However, using it alone produces a product that repels humans, too.
Geranium has a very pleasant rosy smell. It’s even nicknamed ‘poor man’s rose’!
Castor oil does not have a repellent effect, but it has a thicker consistency and it is also really healthy for the skin.
Let me tell you something about castor oil. Sometimes a baby’s ‘estimated due date’ comes and goes, leaving mommy wishing she could issue an eviction notice. I have had six children and they were all four to fourteen days past that date. Because of that, I’ve tried pretty much every old wives tale method of inducing labour at home.
Including swallowing a half bottle of castor oil. Twice, since apparently the first horrific experience wasn’t enough to convince me. I’ll sum that up quickly with – don’t do it. Castor is for external use only. (None of the other methods work, either, but most aren’t as awful as castor oil.)
Place 1 teaspoon castor oil in a small spray bottle. Add 1 1/2 tablespoon water.
Essential oil goes in by drops. Add 10 drops lemongrass essential oil, 10 drops thyme essential oil and 5 drops geranium essential oil.
Unless you have an allergy to one of the ingredients, everything in this is natural and safe. Be sure to shake the bottle before each use, and apply often.
There are no guarantees with this. I won’t tell you that it provides a ten foot barrier between you and insects or that it makes you invisible to them. That requires heavy duty chemicals that you really don’t want on your skin – or on your child’s skin.
But it will make the insects think you’re a weirdly stinky geranium and most of them won’t want anything to do with you.