Friday, May 30, 2014

DIY Bug Spray and Anti-Itch

I have been trying to find a more natural bug spray option for the last few years. The past two or three, I've just bought whatever "natural" bug spray happened to be at the store. Usually, it didn't
do a great job in our mosquito-plagued back yard. The girls and I must be really sweet, because we get bit a lot. As I've become more educated on tick-borne illness, I have been trying to avoid ticks like crazy too. The effects of tick-borne illness can be devesating. 

Anyway, I have gotten into essential oils lately and wanted to develop an oils based spray that would be suitable from kids 3+. Before I share my recipes, I do want to do a quick PSA about EO safety. 

First, there is so much misinformation out there that is is overwhelming to sort through. However, I am a sorter by nature and a researcher by training! The best resource I've found has been Robert Tisserand's book "Essential Oil Safety". Now this book is pricey, so I also depend on this website Lea Harris is a certified aromatherapist and has some awesome information here, including dilution charts, lists of essential oils to avoid/use with children, and some great age-appropriate recipes. In my opinion, one cannot be too careful with essential oils. They are highly concentrated and should be used with proper education---basically do your research! Since I have started learning, I have seen so many cases of misuse that it sorta knocked my socks off--in a bad way. 

Ok---I'll get off my soap box and on with the recipes. 

First the Bug Spray:

In a 2oz bottle (use glass and a darker color is best for preserving your oils), combine:

1% dilution 
 Texas Cedar wood 3 drops
citronella (citronella java) 3 drops
Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) 2 drops
Tea Tree Oil (melaleuca alternifolia) 2 drops
geranium 2 drops (pelargonium graveolens) 

Fill the rest of the bottle with witch hazel. You will want to shake this vigorously before spraying each time to mix the oils with the witch hazel. We tried this out on my parent's farm this weekend with great results. When my hubs didn't wear it, he ended up with a tick. The patchouli is supposed to be a tick repellent. For young kids, try to spray mostly on their clothing,especially. If you are using for adults, away for a day of hiking in the woods, you could use 24 total drops for a 2% dilution. Oils are happiest cold, so you can store this in the fridge when not using. It will be fine in your bag, just won't stay potent as long. 

Now, if you get those pesky bug bites, heat rash, etc, use this recipe: 

In a 2oz bottle combine, 

5 drops lavender (lavandula angustifolia)
2 drops Frankincense (boswellia frereana) 
3 drops Tea Tree (melaleuca alternifolia)
Fill the rest with witch hazel. You will also want to shake this one vigorously before spraying. 

With all essential oils, it is better to start with a low dilution and work your way up to get the results you want. Most of the the time it only takes a small amount to get a desired effect! Also remember higher dilutions carry more risk for sensitazation and be extra careful with dilutions of kiddos! 

Hopefully these will make your summer much easier! They've already improved ours! 

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