A couple of years ago, my husband and I went camping with our daughter, her husband and our grandson. Prior to our trip, I did some research on natural, homemade insect repellents. I found that Lavender (my favorite) and Lemongrass essential oils were known to repel insects. This is due to their insecticidal (repels insects) and parasitical (destroys parasites like fleas and lice) properties. At that time I had never tried Lemongrass, so I went and bought some. I really liked how it smelled…like squeezed lemon rinds, only a lot stronger.
I decided that I would make some soap bars with the Lemongrass to take camping. It was really easy. You simply buy some melt and pour glycerin soap (a pound costs about $11.00), melt it in the microwave or double boiler, let it cool slightly, stir in coloring (if desired) and a few drops of essential oil, and then pour the mixture into molds. If you don’t have soap bar molds you can use cupcake pans lined with plastic wrap. Let them harden and you’ve got homemade soap that repels insects and smells good too!
I also made some Lemongrass scented candles but they melted…it was really hot when we went…best to stick to Citronella candles.
I made sure I took my Lavender and Rosemary Shampoo Spray and Leave In Conditioner…the conditioner contains vinegar, which bugs don’t like either.
Homemade Insect Repellent Sprays
I made a couple of insect repellent sprays for our skin and camping area.
CIDER VINEGAR and WATER
Bugs don’t like the smell of vinegar…I found out my son-in-law doesn’t either. We sprayed it around our tents, camping area, and ourselves.
LAVENDER, LEMONGRASS and WATER
This is not only an insect repellent, it’s also an air freshener spray. I use it in my home mixed with Lavender, of course, to clean the air. I also used it to help remove the musty smell from the foam in the camper cushions I recovered. For our camping trip we sprayed it inside our tents and on our skin when we didn’t want to smell like vinegar…the vinegar smell does go away after a while.
Lavender First Aid Ointment
Of course, I took my Lavender First Air Ointment just in case we got bit or stung, which my husband did, and it immediately stopped the itching. My son-in-law used it also on a cut he got setting up the tent.
Aside from my husband getting bit once…it’s because he’s so sweet, we didn’t experience any problems with annoying bugs.
Other Insect Repellent Oils
Here are the essential oils I found that are known to repel insects.
CEDARWOOD – lice, moths
CINNAMON – ants
CITRONELLA – mosquitoes
CLOVE – mosquitoes
EUCALYPTUS – mosquitoes
GERANIUM – flies, mosquitoes
LAVENDER – mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, fleas, flies. lice
LEMONGRASS – mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, fleas, flies, lice
PATCHOULI – gnats
PEPPERMINT – lice, spiders, ants…it’s also a good deterrent for rodents
ROSEMARY – fleas, ticks
TEA TREE – mosquitoes, lice, ants
I’m thinking for our next camping trip I’ll add peppermint oil to my Lavender and Lemongrass Spray to help keep ants and spiders away too.
If you’re planning any outside activities and don’t want to be bothered by these pesky bugs, try some of these natural repellents. Just remember to use them often as they don’t have the same staying power as the chemical repellents.