Most commercial bug sprays contain harmful ingredients such as DEET. This DIY bug repellent recipe works great and does not contain ANY harmful ingredients. It’s totally safe for kids.
The only trade off for using this repellent is that it does not last all day. You will have to reapply it several times throughout the day depending on how much time you spend outdoors. I think it’s worth it vs exposing your skin, and respiratory system to harsh, toxic chemicals that could harm your body.
So here’s the recipe:
This recipe makes approximately 4oz (1/2 cup) of bug repellent. It can easily be doubled or tripled, depending on how much you need for your family. This makes a very soft balm, almost like a salve, which makes application easier. If you prefer a firmer balm, you can increase the beeswax until you reach the desired texture. Small 2oz jars are the perfect size for a purse, backpack, or diaper bag, but you can use whatever container you have on hand.
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/8 cup shea butter
4 tsp. beeswax granules
12 drops citronella essential oil
8 drops rosemary essential oil
8 drops cedarwood essential oil
8 drops lemongrass essential oil
8 drops eucalyptus or tea tree essential oil
Jar(s) for finished salve
Using your double boiler bring water to a boil and then reduce heat to medium low. Add the coconut oil and shea butter and give the 2 ingredients time to melt while whisking together. Now you may the beeswax and whisk the components into the coconut oil concoction, until totally melted.
It is now time for you to test the mixture for texture. Using the back of a metal spoon place it in the liquid. Allow some time for the spoon cool until the concoction sets up. Test a little amount on your forearm to see if you are satisfied with the texture. If you would like it a little thicker, you simply add a little more beeswax (start by adding 1/2 tsp. at a time). If you want it a little more runny, you can add some more shea butter (add 1/2 tsp. at a time).
Soon as the mixture is the way you like it, remove the pan from the heat. Let the liquid set for 3-5 minutes and then stir in the essential oils. Mix completely to make everything is combined. Add the liquid into your jars. Let it cool, uncovered at room temperature, before adding a cap.
You can keep the bug repellent at room temperature for easy application. If the repellent is subjected to extreme temperatures, it may melt or become quite soft, so be careful when opening if your bug repellent has been left in something like a hot car or out in the sun.
“Essential Oil Safety – Phototoxicity”. West Coast Institute of Aromatherapy.
“Sun Sensitivity (Phototoxicity) and Essential Oils”. Esoteric Oils.
“FAQs About Essential Oil Phototoxicty”. Tiffany Rowan.
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