I do not feel safe with the chemicals they use in bug repellent. Even DEET has its issues, read references below to learn more. I would prefer using natural spices and essential oils that not only smell better but make my skin feel softer as well.
There are so many options in this area that you can create your own scent and know that your loved ones are safe using it. There are so many carrier oil options such as coconut, grapeseed, jojoba, olive or almond available to choose from. Don’t forget that neem oil has its own natural insecticidal compound so if you like neem that is an excellent choice.
There are also many essential oils that deter bugs such as citronella, eucalyptus, lemongrass, tea tree, peppermint, cypress, rose geranium, bergamot, and lemon. It’s really up to you how strong and what type of scent you prefer. Just make sure if using on children or pregnant women that the oils you are using are safe for them.
My own recipe that I call BUZZ-OFF is simple and smells great.
In a 4 oz. spray bottle I used:
2 oz. Coconut oil
1.5 oz. Witch hazel
½ t. Glycerin (vegetable)
110 d. ttl. Of e.o.’s: Rosemary, vanilla, and peppermint.
A reader, P. Dunkin sent in the following recipe that she prefers:
2 T. Witch hazel and/or Vodka.
2 T. Neem oil
55 d. lemon eucalyptus e.o. (CDC reports this is a great substitute for DEET.)
15 d. Cedarwood e.o.
15 d. Lavandula angustifolia e.o.
15 d. Rosemary e.o.
In both recipes, pour ingredients into a 4 oz. dark glass spray bottle. Mix together and shake well before each use. Re-spray as needed.
Eucalyptus is not intended for use for children under 3 years of age.