Table of Contents
Mosquitoes, ticks, and other creepy crawlies may just be the number one threat to a great summer. Unless you protect yourself, you can end up with anything from bites all over your body to Lyme Disease and in some cases dangerous mosquito-borne diseases like malaria.
The single most effective protective measure — a chemical called DEET that forms the active ingredient in many bug repellent products — has a few dangers of its own to offer, however. A dermatological reaction is the most desirable side effect of DEET, since seizures and neurological reactions have also been reported. The risks are small if you follow the instructions carefully, but not everyone does that.
It is up to individuals to decide whether the protective benefits of products containing DEET outweigh the small but serious risk of an adverse reaction. A third of the US population will end up using DEET each year. If you don't want to be one of them, there are alternatives. You will have to work out from experience if they are as effective as you need them to be.
That's easy: make them yourself! In this article, we'll offer a brief overview of natural ingredients that have bug-repellent qualities, and we'll walk you through the process of making your own anti-bug soaps and creams that can be ready in next to no time.
Citronella And Other Bug-Repelling Oils
Citronella is a potent mosquito repellent made from oil extracted from the lemongrass plants Cymbopogon nardus and Cymbopogon winterianus. It will also keep many other insects away, but there is no evidence that it helps against ticks, unfortunately. There are numerous commercial products on the market that contain citronella. However, you can also buy the oil yourself to use in home-made products including soap, cream, and candles.
Geranium oil, tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil, and clove oil can all be used in home-made soaps and creams. All help against mosquitoes and other insects, and geranium and clove oil are said to be effective against ticks — this is frequently reported by people who apply the oils to their cats and dogs to keep ticks as well as fleas away. Eucalyptus oil is very effective against various mosquito species, and some studies suggest that it works just as well as DEET. You can use all of these oils in your home-made products, but don't go overboard. A few drops go a long way.
Coconut Oil And Soybean Oil
Both coconut oil and soybean oil have been shown to have insect-repelling qualities. They also incidentally form a really nice base for soaps and creams. Folks who are thinking of making their very own natural products to keep creepy crawlies away are often tempted to just throw a bunch of the ingredients together in a mixture, and then apply a lot of it to their bodies.
The easiest way to create an anti-bug product is to combine 15 to 20 percent essential oils with alcohol, and to use it as a spray. But, you want to be careful that spray doesn't end up in your eyes or airways. This is why creams and soaps make a good, safer combination. Coconut oil, soybean oil, or a combination of the two form carriers for your essential oils and are also bug repellents in their own right.