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Make Your Own Insect Repellents

Ever wondered how to make your own mosquito and insect repellents? One of the advantages of making your own insect repellents is that you know exactly what's in them-no need to decipher the package label. They are also eco-friendly and smell good!

Many mosquito and insect repellents are made with DEET (N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide), a highly effective, but chemical substance. Research indicates that insect repellents using essential oils and natural ingredients work just as well for keeping mosquitoes, gnats, black flies, and other pesky insects at bay. The catch is that they are only effective for a short time, an hour to an hour and a half at most, and must be reapplied to your skin.

Learn more about natural insect repellents here.

Several plant-based essential oils are effective in keeping insects away, including tea tree, citronella, juniper, lemon, lavender, pine, rose geranium, and rosemary. Most of the essential oils listed have a distinct aroma, crisp and refreshing. Lemon and citronella essential oils have a citrus smell to them. Rose geranium has a sweeter flowery scent.

To make your own bug spray simply mix together 2 teaspoons of any of these essential oils (or use a combination) with 3/4 of a cup of vodka or grain alcohol in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake vigorously until mixed. Place the insect repellent in a spray bottle. Store in the refrigerator if using within a few days (be sure to shake the mixture before applying), otherwise just make a fresh batch when you need it.

Do not substitute rubbing alcohol for the grain alcohol because it will dry out your skin. It's also possible to use an almond or jojoba oil base; however it will be difficult to spray on and the solution will be somewhat oily when applied to the skin.

In addition, some essential oils might work better with your particular body chemistry than others, so you might need to experiment to see which combination works best.

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