No one wants to spend their summer indoors, but no one wants to become a meal for mosquitoes either. If you plan to spend time outdoors, there are a number of different mosquito repellents to choose from, including some natural versions you can make yourself.
First, do yourself a favor and do all you can to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds from your area, and avoid going outside in the early dawn and dusk hours when mosquitoes are most plentiful. Second, if you do choose a commercial mosquito repellent, be sure to follow instructions carefully when it comes to application and removal. Be especially careful when using products on children or on people with sensitive skin. Also, avoid sweet or flowery scents in your shampoo, laundry detergent, fabric conditioner, and other personal products – these scents are attractive to insects.
Consider this simple recipe for a homemade natural mosquito repellent:
In a spray bottle, combine 1/3 of a cup of organic apple cider vinegar, 1/3 of a cup of witch hazel, and 5 drops of essential oil of citronella. You can substitute vodka for the witch hazel and eucalyptus oil for the citronella oil, depending on what you have access to. If you have trouble finding citronella oil, you can also try oil of lemon balm.
Mix the ingredients thoroughly and you’re ready to use it. For a larger batch, use ½ cup of organic apple cider vinegar, ½ cup of vodka or witch hazel and 2 tablespoons of essential oil of citronella. No natural repellents have the staying power of commercial preparations, so you’ll need to reapply your homemade repellent frequently, especially if you get sweaty or wet. And, unlike commercial repellents, this recipe works well for mosquitoes but not for ticks, so be sure to take extra precautions if necessary.
Another easy to make natural mosquito repellent is made from one tablespoon of aloe vera gel, 2 tablespoons of sweet almond oil and 25 drops of essential oil of citronella. Combine these ingredients and mix well. You can put this mixture into a misting bottle or just apply it directly to your skin.
There are also a number of essential oils that are said to repel mosquitoes. These include oils of lemon, cinnamon, lemon eucalyptus, geranium, fennel, thyme, clove, rosemary, cedar and peppermint. However, any essential oil can cause irritation when applied to the skin, especially clove oil. When using any essential oil, dilute it in a neutral carrier oil, such as sweet almond oil.
Neem oil is another great product that has many uses and may help repel mosquitoes. Mix together one quarter of water with one teaspoon of neem oil and one tablespoon of dish soap. This mixture can be sprayed on the skin, although because neem oil doesn’t have a pleasant scent, you may prefer to spray it in the areas where you’ll be outside.
Finally, many insects dislike the smell of orange oil and other citrus oils. You can mix citrus zest with alcohol and let that steep to infuse the alcohol with oil. Try adding some aloe vera gel to the mixture and use it as a repellent. Experiment with different proportions until you find the homemade repellent that works for you.