Green Tip #16 - Recipes and Remedies for Everyday Living - Homemade Mosquito Repellent
A few weeks ago I promised a new series called “Recipes and Remedies for Everyday(Green)Living”. Since I’ve successfully escaped diversion from where I wanted to lead you this week, I will begin.
Green Tip #16– Recipes and Remedies for Everyday Living– Homemade Mosquito Repellent
Mosquitoes are not only a nuisance but can carry and transmit diseases. In fact, mosquitoes can cause heart worm disease in our beloved 4-legged family members! A few weeks ago, I touched on a few natural ways to repel mosquitoes, as an alternative to using DEET containing products. Most of us don’t relish the thought of spraying poisons on our skin, especially that of young children who are constantly putting their fingers and other objects in their mouths, nose and eyes. (Trusting little souls, aren’t they?)
Today, I give you a recipe for making your own mosquito repellent, but first I’ll tell you what attracts mosquitoes and what to avoid in order to keep the population from attacking in swarms.
Mosquitoes use vision to locate hosts (flesh) from a distance. Dark clothing and foliage are perfect targets. They are also attracted by carbon dioxide, which your body emits when you are hot or have been exercising. Lactic acid, which your body releases after exercising (see, I knew there was a reason this old dog doesn’t want to learn that trick!) or eating salty and heavy in potassium foods, also attracts the little buggers. Floral or fruity fragrances, whether from perfume, hair products, scented sunscreens or even fabric softeners; skin temperature and moisture are all attractive to the mosquito. As mentioned in a previous tip, standing water facilitates reproduction.
Minimizing the above conditions will help, but not deter these pests from dining on your skin. You can make your own mosquito repellent by using essential oils and an oil carrier. Before I give you the simple recipe, there are some facts of which you must be aware, and precautions to take when using the home remedy:
- ·Essential oils should not be applied directly to the skin in their pure, concentrated form, as some oils can cause severe irritation, provoke an allergic reaction and over time, could prove hepatotoxic (causing liver damage).
- ·Do not use essential oils in their pure form on animals, as they are extremely toxic to their livers and skin, especially cats.
- ·Essential oils should only be used in small ratios mixed with carrier oils, the recipe for which will follow.
- ·Essential oils can be aggressive toward rubber and plastics, so make sure the bottle from which your are dispensing the essential oils, contains a glass syringe.
- ·Always choose organic essential oils to avoid ingesting pesticide residues.
You may be asking why I’m having this discussion as a green option to commercial mosquito repellent, given the above information. Rest assured, if the above precautions are taken, your concoction will be safe for you. Not so much for the biting pests! Essential oils are used extensively as flavoring agents in foods, beverages and confectioneries according to strict Good Manufacturing Practice standards. Essential oils are also used in aromatherapy, making incense, antiseptics, liniments, expectorants, decongestants, skin treatments and even cancer remedies.
The recipe for homemade natural mosquito repellent is simple: Mix one part essential oil (5-10%) with 20 parts carrier oil or alcohol. More simply, 10-25 drops of organic essential oils to 2 tablespoons carrier oil or alcohol. You can make as little or as much as you want following this recipe. You can rub or spray it on your skin or clothing. Reapply an hour after swimming or exercising. Store any unused repellent in a dark bottle away from heat or sunlight.
The essential oils that work best against mosquitoes are:
- ·Cinnamon oil
- ·Lemon eucalyptus oil
- ·Citronella oil
- ·Castor oil
Safe carrier oils and alcohols are:
- ·Olive oil
- ·Sunflower oil
- ·Any other cooking oil
- ·Witch hazel
- ·Vodka (who knew?!)
In closing, essential oils can be found at most health food stores and online.
Enjoy your mosquito-free weekend! See you next week!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2012 Shauna L Bowling