Using an All-Natural Bug Spray
All over the country, people are purchasing insect repellent products made with DEET. They are spraying them on their skin, soaking their clothes in the chemicals, and even eating foods after they have spread lotions containing DEET on their bodies with their bare hands. There’s little doubt that DEET is effective at repelling insects such as mosquitoes, but growing questions remain about the health consequences of using DEET.
DEET is a known eye irritant and can cause rashes, soreness, or blistering when applied to the skin. DEET has also been linked to neurological problems. According to the EPA, at least 18 different cases of children suffering adverse neurological effects, as well as the deaths of two adults, have been associated with DEET.
DEET has been shown to have a negative impact on wildlife and water sources in production and during use. DEET is toxic to birds and aquatic life and it has been found in approximately 75 percent of U.S. water sources.
Make your own natural bug repellent:
Save money while you protect the earth and your health from toxic chemicals like DEET, by making your own natural insect repellent at home. Some people claim that applying rubbing alcohol, Vick’s Vaporub, or pure vanilla to the skin works as an effective insect repellent. Other recipes are slightly more complex, relying on essential oils to repel bugs.
The simple rule of thumb with essential oil-based homemade bug spray is to choose an oil that repels insects and mix it with a carrier, usually an alcohol or oil. Insect repellent essential oils include clove oil and citronella (also called rose geranium), which are the most effective against mosquitoes, as well as lemongrass, eucalyptus, castor oil, peppermint, tea tree oil, lavender, and cedar. A homemade insect repellent of essential oil can be made by combining 1 part of your selected essential oil with 10 parts rubbing alcohol, witch hazel, vodka, olive oil, or jojoba oil.
It’s important to remember not to use essential oils internally—they are designed to be used on the skin and on clothing. Also, test oils on a small patch of skin before applying widely to your body to avoid allergic reactions or skin irritations.
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