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Dr. DIY: Homemade Bug Repellent Recipes

Getting a little tired of the chemical odors that come with store-bought bug repellent? Everyone knows what works best for their family, but maybe it’s worth trying one of those homemade bug repellents you’ve hear about from the neighbors (after all, why not?)! While they might not work for everyone — some people have different bodily properties that make some bug repellent methods less effective than others — it’s worth the time and effort to whip up some recipes and experiment a little, especially if you are trying to minimize your exposure to chemicals. Let’s explore a few recipes to try:

Dried Herbs Recipe

  • 1 cup water
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons dried herbs
  • 1 cup rubbing alcohol or witch hazel

1. Start by choosing your herbs. Some recommendations include lavender, peppermint, catnip, citronella, spearmint and lemongrass. Try to include at least one member from the mint family. If you particularly like the smell of one herb over another, that’s probably a great place to start!

2. Boil the cup of water to which the dried herbs have been added and mixed in well. Dried cloves can also be added to this mixture.

3. Once it comes to a boil, stir the mixture well before covering it and letting it cool completely. The covering step is important as it traps the oils’ properties inside.

4. When cool, strain the herbs out of the mixture before combining it with the cup of rubbing alcohol or witch hazel in a spray bottle. Then store in the refrigerator for a cool and refreshing application!

Witch Hazel Recipe

  • 30 to 50 drops of essential oil
  • About four ounces of boiled or distilled water
  • About 3.5 ounces of witch hazel
  • 1/2 teaspoon vegetable glycerin

Choose one or more essential oils– lavender, citronella, close, mint, lemongrass, tea tree and eucalyptus are among those recommended — and add to an eight-ounce spray bottle that is filled halfway with boiled or distilled water. Add witch hazel almost to the top and a 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable glycerin, if desired, before adding essential oils. Shake well.

Vinegar Recipe

  • 32 ounces of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 sprigs of each of the following dried herbs: thyme, rosemary, lavender, mint and sage

1. In a quart sized glass jar that has an airtight lid, add the vinegar and all of the dried herbs.

2. Close the lid tightly and store it on the counter or in another spot with good visibility to make sure you don’t forget about it. For the next two or three weeks, give the jar a thorough shake on a daily basis.

3. After about three weeks, strain out the herbs and pour the mixture into spray bottles. Store in the refrigerator.

4. To use a bug repellent, fill a different spray bottle halfway with a vinegar-herb mixture. Fill the rest of the bottle with water and spray on skin.

A note about the above recipe: This solution is very strong — both in its ability to repel insects and its odor. As it dries, however, the odor dissipates significantly. Use this recipe when you need protection in highly-infested areas.

DIY Bug Repellent: It’s Worth a Try!

If the weather’s warming up, it’s prime time for the bugs to come out to find their next meal. Take proactive steps to arm yourself with the right bug repellent that works for you! If you love these DIY tricks, you may be interested in learning about other things you can DIY. Take for example this DIY infused water recipe – the perfect sports drink alternative.

Let us know if you find any relief! If you don’t, we’re here to help you check out lingering symptoms and get you the care you need.