There are a number of natural bug spray recipes on the Internet, but I wanted to make something that covered a variety of bugs and not just one or two. The spray also had to smell acceptable – one that wasn’t too medicinal that others may think you’re sick receiving some sort of treatment if they smelled you.
I don’t fancy the smell of citronella oil on skin either, and since I’m making this for my toddler, it has to be mild enough for her use. Last but not the least, it had to be with ingredients I already had, because this was something she needed right now! Hence the birth of this bug spray.
Aloe vera gel or witch hazel can be substituted for distilled water as the main solvent for their skin soothing properties. Jojoba oil is also optional. I added it at 10%. If you don’t plan to use jojoba oil, just make the solvent total 60 ml. Polysorbate 80 is the only emulsifier I had on hand to mix the oils with the distilled water and its suggested use is 5%.
Essential oils of cedarwood, geranium, lemongrass, thyme, and lavender were my oils of choice. The essential oil blend had to be only 1% of the total solution – the recommended dilution for children under 7 years of age. Being a fan of the smell of lavender, I made this the dominant oil in the blend and kept thyme to a minimum because it smelled too leafy for my taste.
3 ml polysorbate 80
7 ml jojoba oil
50 ml distilled water
2 drops cedarwood essential oil
2 drops geranium essential oil
2 drops lemongrass essential oil
1 drop thyme essential oil
3 drops lavender essential oil
Combine all ingredients in a 2 oz (60ml) glass spray bottle and shake well before use. Apply every 3 hours to keep bugs at bay. Good luck!