Dealing with insects is a fact of life, but knowing that doesn’t make it any more pleasant. What makes an infestation worse is the toxic products that many people resort to in hopes of getting rid of the critters. Various sprays and poisons used to kill bugs can also hurt your pets and cause health problems in humans as well, especially elders and very young children. If you’re looking for a less harmful alternative that’s still effective, here are some ways that you can make your own insect repellent against some of the most common invaders.
Few things are more annoying than mosquitoes, especially in the summertime. Mosquito spray that you can buy in stores often contains insecticides such as DEET, a poison so toxic that even the Environmental Protection Agency instructs people to rinse it off their skin within a few hours and avoid breathing it in. That pretty much defeats the purpose of using it, and fortunately there are safer ways to keep mosquitoes at bay.
Several essential oils are hated by mosquitoes, including neem, catnip, rosemary, lemongrass, peppermint, cinnamon oil, and citronella. To make an insect repellent that combats mosquitoes, mix 30 to 50 drops of your preferred essential oils and 8 ounces of witch hazel into a spray bottle that holds at least 8 ounces of liquid. You can add in a half teaspoon of glycerin or aloe vera gel if you want to make the mixture more soothing to your skin. Also, keep in mind that using a mixture of oils will make the insect repellent stronger and more effective. For instance, you can use 10 drops of rosemary, 10 drops of neem, and 15 drops of citronella. To use the spray, simply spritz it onto your clothing — this is best for kids, as essential oils can irritate the skin. If you’ll be in water, spraying it directly onto your skin is fine.
Ants are so common that just about everyone will have to deal with them eventually no matter what part of the country you’re in. While taking measures to prevent attracting the bugs is an option, such as tightly sealing away sugar, flour, food items, and keeping counters free of crumbs and drips, you may still find the occasional parade of ants traipsing through your home. There are a lot of essential oils that ants don’t like, but you’ll need to be persistent when it comes to battling them. This is the case even if you were to use commercial poisons and insect repellents — ants are persistent and stubborn, but you can get rid of them. Spray often and eventually they’ll get the hint and stay away.
You can either use distilled white vinegar on its own, a mix of vinegar and essential oils, or water mixed with essential oils. When using water, many people opt to add a bit of vodka to the mix to help the essential oils stay suspended, but you can just shake it up before using the spray instead. The most effective route to take is white vinegar with essential oils mixed in a spray bottle, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand. Cinnamon, clove, peppermint, citrus, and eucalyptus are especially good at getting rid of ants.
Another method that some people use is to sprinkle cinnamon around entryways to keep ants out. You can do this if you have an abundance of ground cinnamon that you don’t mind putting to use as an insect repellent, and it also works well in combination with a DIY spray.
On one hand, spiders are creepy, make people feel uneasy, and some are dangerously poisonous. On the other hand, most spiders that people encounter are not dangerous and the creatures can actually help keep the population of other pests in your home under control. That said, if you’re someone who doesn’t want to live with spiders at all, try making a spray that’s full of ingredients they detest. Peppermint, tea tree oil, and any citrus oil such as grapefruit, lemon, or orange are all great choices that will keep spiders out of your way. Peppermint tends to be the most effective, but combining several is the best way to go.
To make an insect repellent geared towards combating spiders, mix 12 ounces of warm water — it can be distilled or tap water — with a tablespoon of white distilled vinegar, 1/2 a teaspoon of dish soap, and 7 drops of peppermint, tea tree, or citrus oil. Give it a good shake and then get ready to spray after you do a bit of prep work. First, remove any spider webs or egg sacs that you see around your home with a vacuum or broom. If you use a broom, try slipping an old pair of pantyhose or stockings over it to keep the webs and sacs from getting stuck within the broom. Next, spray your solution behind furniture, along doors and windows, in corners, around cracks, by plants, in closets, and anywhere else that you’ve seen spiders hanging out in your house. If you spray near plants, remember to keep the solution off of the plants themselves and their soil, just put it around the containers. The severity of your spider infestation will determine how often you need to spray, and you can use the solution as often as you’d like.
Roaches are not only one of the most feared bugs, they’re truly disgusting. This is one bug that you don’t want around if you have pets, babies, or small kids. A roach suddenly making an appearance while you’re entertaining or visiting with friends is also a huge embarrassment, but it’s easy to keep them away. Using straight distilled white vinegar repels roaches of all types. If you’d like to boost the effectiveness and kill roaches even more quickly, add 25 to 30 drops of mint or tea tree essential oil to 8 ounces of white vinegar. Use a combination of the two oils if you prefer.
Apply the spray around windows, entryways and doors, baseboards, under your cabinets, and anywhere that you’ve noticed roaches. Yes, the smell of vinegar isn’t all too pleasant, but the odor will quickly dissipate and it really works. Besides, the smell of vinegar isn’t much worse than the smell of chemical-packed commercial roach sprays, right? The great thing about this natural roach spray is you can use it in your kitchen and bathrooms without worrying about poisoning your pets or family members.