Maybe you’re going camping. Or stomping through a marsh that is littered with mosquitos. Well, maybe not the latter.
Wherever you are, mosquitos, ants, ticks, and miscellaneous bugs and insects can be obnoxious. Meanwhile, traditional products intended to ward off these critters can be toxic and potentially harmful to your health.
So where does that leave you?
Below you will find a number of natural alternatives that will battle insects while keeping you and your family safe from the unfortunate side effects of the typical repellent you’d buy at Walmart.
Dangers of Off! and Other Bug Spray Brands
Off! and countless other bug spray brands contain a roster of questionable chemicals. For instance, a common ingredient in these insect repellents is DEET. And according to journals like BMC Biology you may be getting more than you bargained for with this ingredient’s toxic makeup.
And we’re not just talking about skin sensitivity. More and more research is being conducted on the potential brain cell damage DEET can stimulate when combined with other neurotoxic insecticides.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly how DEET is used in its attempts to combat mosquito bites and other skin-critter infestations. This, according to the Scientific American:
“Duke University pharmacologist Mohamed Abou-Donia, in studies on rats, found that frequent DEET exposure led to diffuse brain cell death and behavioral changes, and concluded that humans should steer clear from products containing it. But other studies have shown that while a few people have sensitivity to DEET applications, most aren’t affected when they use DEET products on a sporadic basis according to the instructions on the label.”
Using a natural alternative eliminates the risks of side effects from taking on this potentially hazardous chemical.
Safer Alternatives to Traditional Repellents
Before outlining our favorite alternative to DEET-infused repellents, here are a few additional options:
- IR3535: It might sound like some kind of code used by the Internal Revenue Service. But it is an active, safer ingredient that is used in some insect repellents. It is structurally related to a naturally occurring chemical, and it can offer up to 2 hours of protection from mosquitos.
- 2-undecanone: Like IR3535, this is also found in some more “natural-minded” bug repellents. It is known to offer up to 4 hours of mosquito protection.
- Soy-based products: According to a 2002 study on insect repellents, the soy-based Bite Blocker for kids was an effective natural alternative to DEET-based products. It even showed better results than some lower-concentrated DEET products.
Natural DIY Recipe Using Essential Oils
In addition to the natural options listed above, below you will find an organic DIY recipe for crafting your own repellent. In less than 5 minutes, you’ll have a healthy alternative that is nearly just as effective as your typical repellent.
First, the ingredients:
- 1/2 c. of witch hazel
- 1/2 c. of apple cider vinegar
- 15 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
- 15 drops of citronella essential oil
- 15 drops of lemongrass essential oil
- An 8 ounce glass spray bottle
Now, the instructions:
- Mix the apple cider vinegar, witch hazel, and oils in the glass spray bottle.
- Spray over all exposed skin on your body.
- Avoid spraying the repellent near your eyes or mouth.