Now that summer is here, you’re likely feeling eager to take off in your RV or participate in a collector car show. Canadian summers are short (understatement), and you want to enjoy the next three months the best you can. Unfortunately, mosquitos and other pests can make it challenging to enjoy your time outdoors. You want to keep them off your skin but do not necessarily want to use synthetic pesticides and chemicals to achieve this. Homemade bug spray could be the ideal solution. But does it work?

What Ingredients Should You Include in Your Natural Bug Repellent?

The following ingredients pose little to no risk to human health and have proven effective at keeping flying insects away:

  • Cinnamon oil: This product not only works as a mosquito repellent, but it may be able to kill mosquito larvae as well. Since it can cause skin reactions such as hives, be sure to dilute cinnamon oil before putting it anywhere on your body or in your yard where you might brush against it.
  • Citrus oil: Citrus oils such as limonene are highly regarded for their insect-repelling capabilities. In addition to protecting you from mosquito bites, citrus oil can be an effective preventive for fleas, mites, flies, kissing bugs, and aphids.
  • Dill essential oil: Many people have sworn by dill essential oil as an effective way to get rid of cockroaches in their home or RV.
  • Garlic oil: If you are headed to one of Canada’s many hiking trails, consider using garlic oil to prevent ticks from attaching to your skin or scalp. Garlic oil can also be helpful to keep ticks off of your lawn and garden this summer.
  • Lavender essential oil: Lavender is one of the few essential oils you can safely apply to your skin without diluting it first. Many people have reported that it helps to prevent mosquitos from landing on their skin and biting them.
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus: This natural ingredient has proven effective at repelling mosquitos. Just make sure you do not confuse it with lemon eucalyptus essential oil since that product is not effective as a mosquito repellent.
  • Peppermint oil: You can repel and kill mosquitos with peppermint oil and it can also be an effective way to keep spiders away from your home or RV.
  • Thyme essential oil: Although thyme essential oil can be an effective way to keep mosquitos away from you, make sure that you dilute it before applying directly to your skin.

While you can use a combination of these ingredients for your bug spray recipe, combining lavender essential oil or oil of lemon eucalyptus tends to be the most common type of homemade bug repellent for the skin. Bonus? It smells fantastic, and so will you!

DIY a Homemade Bug Spray Recipe for Your Skin

To make your own mosquito and bug repellent that is gentle on your skin, gather a glass spray bottle, witch hazel, and lavender essential oil or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Mix your primary ingredient with 10 parts witch hazel. You then want to add the mixture to the bottle and shake it gently. Your homemade bug spray is now ready to use.

What to Look for When Buying Natural Insect Repellant

Should you prefer to buy insect repellent created from natural ingredients rather than make it yourself, be sure the product contains at least a 30 percent concentration of oil of lemon eucalyptus. You should avoid using a natural insect repellent product with more than 30 percent of this ingredient on children under the age of three.

Another thing to look for when shopping for natural bug repelling products is how long a single application lasts and how long it takes to work. The average time you can expect the effect of one application to last ranges from two to six hours. Knowing how often you need to apply the insect repellent before heading away from home or your campsite is the best way to keep yourself comfortable.

To answer the question of whether homemade bug repellent is worth trying, here it is: it can be if you have skin sensitivities or prefer to avoid certain chemicals. You can always try switching up the ingredients if the ones you try first do not offer as much insect protection as you would have liked.

We encourage you to be your most natural, repellent self out there – to the bugs of course.

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