During the warm summer months, our dinners move al fresco, our children play outside late into the evening, and we look for ways to protect our loved ones from life’s little annoyances — insects. Few things can ruin outdoor activities as quickly as bugs. This list will empower you with holistic, natural insect repellent tips that are safe for the entire family:
Safeguard Your Environment
1. Put citronella candles upwind of your porch, patio, or campsite or use them to build a circumference around you. Space candles 6-8 feet apart, and favor soy wax, palm wax, and beeswax candles over paraffin wax which releases toxic petrochemicals into the air you breathe. You can also create a fun indoor activity with the kids on rainy days by making your own outdoor candles. Scent with citronella essential oil and other aromatics that repel insects (see below).
2. Don’t leave food out. You aren’t the only thing bugs come to eat. Keep fruit and juices inside, clear dishes as soon as you’re finished, and eliminate standing water on your property as much as possible.
Safeguard Your Skin
1. Avoid DEET insect repellent. While DEET is still among the most common ingredients in conventional insect repellents, concern exists over its potential as a neurotoxin. Reports of adverse effects in the form of headaches, eye irritation, and seizure in extreme cases, have resulted in some experts recommending DEET-based products only in high-risk insect situations.
2. Favor Lemon Eucalyptus Oil. Research shows that the oil from this Australian eucalyptus tree can perform as well as low concentrations of DEET and last up to 7 hours. As with any botanical ingredient, some skin irritation may occur, so use only when necessary, rinse off when not outside, and exercise caution with children under the age of 3.
3. Amp up with additional protective aromas and oils. Create your own air mist, body spray, or body oil with essential oils from cedar, calendula, cinnamon, clove, thyme, spearmint, geranium, rosemary, lavender, or lemongrass.
DIY Natural Insect Repellent
- Dilute 40 drops of essential oil in 4 oz castor oil or non-GMO soy oil (both are mosquito repellents themselves) for topical protection.
- Or dilute 40 drops of essential oil in 4 oz witch hazel to use as a mist.
- Finish with 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable glycerin to bind.
- Reapply every two hours.
Article courtesy of Sitarani Palomar