Homemade, natural insect repellent

From Heather, just in time for summer camp-outs:

I have a pseudo-hack. It’s a recipe for all-natural bug repellent and it works as well as “Deep-Woods Off." I found this recipe many years ago in a local newspaper. The article, which I still have, credits a book called Healing with Herbs by Penelope Ody. I do not have the book but do have the yellowing newspaper article tucked away in my recipe box. Oh, and I call it a pseudo hack because it is easier to buy the canned stuff than create this concoction. However, if you don’t want unknown chemicals on your precious darling's skin OR if you don’t want to smell like you’ve been dipped in a flea bath, this insect repellent really works.

Basic recipe: In a bottle, mix 4 drops of eucalyptus, 4 drops of lavender, 4 drops of rosemary, 4 drops of tea tree essential oils with 1 teaspoon of witch hazel and 4 teaspoons of water. Shake the mixture and apply directly to skin.

Bug spray variation: Add the same mixture of oils to 2 teaspoons of witch hazel and 8 oz of water. Put this in a spray bottle and shake. Spray this directly on the skin.

Oil rub down variation: Add the same mixture of oils to 5 teaspoons of olive oil. Rub the mixture into your skin.

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  1. Margaret says

    How fun!. This sounds like a great project to do with your child before a camping trip!

    Here’s something else that can work as a repellent in a pinch–Noxzema. It was recomended by a friend who used to work in the great outdoors. It has eucalyptus oil, a natural repellent mentioned in the recipe above. I’ve tried it–with success.

  2. mod*mom says

    this is a great blog!
    i love that bug repellent recipe!
    i found your blog on delightful.
    can you tell me how you got your thumbnail to load?
    lynda at delightful says the screen capture upload on alexa is not working, but yours was added after mine, so what is the secret pretty please?

  3. Sandy says

    But is it safe for children under 3? According to the CDC, lemon eucalyptus oil isn’t. “Note that the label for products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus specifies that they should not to be used on children under the age of three years.” link to cdc.gov

    Just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s safe.

  4. Roger says

    Er, LEMON Eucalyptus and Eucalyptus are two different things. Two different trees. The essential eucalyptus oil you can buy from places that sell it is not Lemon Eucalyptus.

  5. christina says

    You should be careful using tea tree oil and lavender around pre-pubescent kids especially. Both are now thought to be estrogen mimics and thus endocrine disruptors. There have been some cases reported of gynecomastia linked to use of those oils.
    link to nih.gov

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