Essential oils to the rescue when it comes to your search for an all-natural bug repellent.
Depending on where you live, ticks can often be a huge problem every time you or your pets step outside, posing all kinds of health risks such as lyme disease or tetanus. Even if you don’t have a problem with simply checking yourself and your pets every time you walk back inside, most people prefer to keep them away altogether since removing ticks can be gross and even dangerous.
Why not use traditional bug spray, you ask? Commercial bug sprays all have the same controversial ingredient in them: DEET. This chemical has been shown to have adverse effects on humans and rats after exposure, such as dying neurons related to “muscle movement, learning, memory and concentration” and have even shown that children are more at risk of this because their skin absorbs DEET more readily. While you might be tempted to use traditional flea and tick treatments for your pets as well, consider that doing so essentially means you are putting a pesticide that is constantly working on your pet’s skin day after day.
Thankfully, there’s a natural alternative to bug spray that requires essential oils, water, vodka or witch hazel and a lint roller or spray bottle. If you’re curious about how many ticks you gather on your clothing, you can try the lint roller trick first by adding a few drops of an essential oil (the best ones are listed below) to the adhesive layers and then rolling it over your clothes after a full session outside. If you’re in an area that’s heavy with ticks, the amount that have jumped on you may surprise you. By using the lint roller, you perform two jobs: you remove the existing ticks and apply the essential oil to your body to act as a repellent.
For a more lasting approach, make a bug spray out of water and essential oils. Put one tablespoon of vodka or witch hazel into your spray bottle and then add 40 drops of your chosen essential oil. Add 1/3 cup of distilled water and voila! That’s all you need to make an all-natural bug repellent, which works for mosquitos and black flies as well, and can be used on both humans and pets. Here are the essential oils that work best:
1. Rose Geranium: This oil has been met with great success for people and also dogs of varying breeds, with many people saying that they went from having 6 ticks a day to having 0 on them.
2. Lavender: This smells sweet to us but bugs absolutely hate it. It works on mosquitoes, flies and other insects.
3. PennyRoyal: This is a member of the mint family and it is toxic to insects.
4. Lemongrass: This essential oil comes from tropical lemongrass and has a citrusy sent. It is a natural flea and tick repellent and can be sprayed directly on the skin if you don’t have time to make the diluted spray.
5. Eucalyptus: Use this alone or along with citronella oil to keep bugs away. According to the Journal of Medical Entomology, Eucalyptus extract can reduce tick bites and infections as well.
6. Lemon: Some lemon essential oil can work against fleas and other bugs. Slightly dilute it and spray it on your clothing and skin.
Have you used any of these essential oils or other oil-based tricks to keep bugs away during the summer months? If so, comment below and let us know how it worked for you!