Have you ever went to the store, shopped for just the right mosquito repelling product, asked questions from the staff, just to get home and find out you could not stand the product because of the smell or chemicals that it contained?
Using mosquito repellents bought at local stores can be costly, smell terrible, and leave a person with mosquito bites still.
It is not uncommon to find out that some people are allergic to the chemicals included in mosquito repellents. Some homemade mosquito repellents can keep costs low and mosquitoes at bay.
Following the simple tips below can help a person or family stay safe from Lyme disease and stop pesky mosquitoes from biting in the first place.
1. Using plants to fight mosquitoes naturally
Some plants are natural mosquito repellents. Plants like vanilla and lavender are natural repellents to mosquitoes. People commonly take vanilla leaves or lavender flowers and rub them around their wrists, knees, and the nape of the neck.
Breaking open the leaves is one way to get more of the oil from the natural leaf on one’s body allowing for more repelling aromas from the plants to get on a persons’ skin.
Using pure vanilla extract is another way to stop mosquitoes from biting. Applying a few dabs of pure vanilla extract to one’s pulse points on the body is a great way to keep pests from biting all evening.
One note on this method, vanilla extract can be costly.
Planting pots of catnip, citronella, marigolds, vanilla, and lavender around ones yard, deck, or patio is a great way to naturally deter pests without having to place the oils on ones own body.
For cookouts and gatherings, the potted plants can be moved around the yard or close to the patio for best coverage for all guests. A word of advice with catnip, it does draw stray cats to the yard.
2. Make homemade essential oil repellents
Take cinnamon, eucalyptus, or citronella essential oil and mix 10-25 drops of it with 2 tablespoons of cooking oil or witch hazel. This mixture can be placed in a cool, dark place in a tightly closed container for safe storage.
Adding a few drops onto the skin or clothing will repel mosquitoes for hours. Be sure to reapply once an hour during and after swimming and exercise.
The essential oils can also be mixed with 1/4 cup water or apple cider vinegar instead of the cooking oil, if one prefers.
3. Garlic, mineral oil, and lemon juice.
This recipe takes a bit longer to make because the garlic and oil need to sit for at least a day before using.
- Mince four or five cloves of garlic
- Cover chopped garlic with Mineral oil
- Place covered in a cool, dark place for 24 hours
- Strain through cheesecloth or a coffee filter to get rid of floating particles
- Mix 1 tsp. of garlic and mineral oil mix with 1 tsp. lemon juice
- Apply a few drops to skin as needed
These homemade mosquito repellents takes 24 hours to prepare and need to be stored in a cool, dry place away from fires. Straining the mixture keeps the liquid clear and from molding.
4. Cloves, vodka, and lavender oil
This mixture takes four days to prepare so make sure to mix ahead of time.
- 1/2 liter Vodka
- 3.5 ozs or 100 grams of cloves
- 100 ml lavender oil
To prepare this mix, four days is required for preparation time. Add the cloves to the vodka and store in a container with a lid for four days. It is important to stir the mixture twice a day.
Once in the morning and once before bed is fine. After four days, add the oil and put the mixture in a spray bottle if desired.
Spray onto skin or place a few drops on clothing to safely keep mosquitoes from biting. Be sure to keep this mixture away from fires, flames, or sparks.
It is safe to use alcohol on skin but it is not advised for women who are nursing, are pregnant, and for young children.
5. An unexpected laundry item that drives away mosquitoes
An unexpected find that really worked as a mosquito repellent is fabric softener sheets. For some reason those pesky mosquitoes cannot stand dryer sheets.
Taking one dryer sheet and rubbing it over exposed skin worked to control pests all evening long. This does not include activities like swimming and exercise. Dryer sheets must be reapplied after vigorous or wet activities.
Each of the mosquito repellents has its own pros and cons. For instance, essential oils can be irritating to a person’s skin.
It is not recommended that children under the age of three, pregnant women, or women who are nursing use essential oils. Use of these oils can cause skin irritation and dry skin patches.
The cloves and vodka repellent takes four days to prepare; if one has time this works well but it takes the longest to reach full potential. Dryer sheets can be costly especially if a family of five or six uses them daily.
Vanilla itself is expensive and extract can be used instead of the essential oil but even then pure extract is still expensive to buy on a regular basis.
Some of the best and cheapest ways to keep down mosquito bites are through avoidance and prevention. Using a little common sense can go a long way to keeping a family safe from excess mosquito bites.
Mosquitoes are most commonly active at dusk and dawn. They are nocturnal insects that come out to feed at dark.
Keeping children and family members indoors with movies and fun activities at this time of day can be really helpful in cutting down the number of bites a person receives.
Another way to keep mosquitoes down is to keep containers that can fill with water turned upside down or emptied often so mosquitoes cannot lay eggs and breed in them.
Using mosquito screens and nets on strollers and beds also helps. Buying a screened in porch for outdoor use is a great way to invest in mosquito free evenings.
Finally, one of the best ways to prevent mosquitoes without using anything on a person’s body is by planting naturally repelling plants in one’s yard.
Citronella, lemon grass, tiger grass, lemon balm, lavender, vanilla, eucalyptus, and peppermint are all plants that repel mosquitoes. They can be combined with plants like geraniums and marigolds to ward off fleas and ticks, too.
Plants like catnip can be used but in moderation because of the draw on stray cats.
Placing plants in pots can help when group functions are happening because they can be moved around and placed where a person needs them to fight off mosquitoes.
Using some common sense knowledge, homemade mosquito repellents, and a little creativity, families can keep pesky mosquitoes at bay all summer long.
Homemade mosquito repellents are not meant to prevent Lyme disease but they can lower a person’s chances of getting it by preventing mosquito bites in the first place.
Taking the time to figure out what is right for each individual family is always recommended and encouraged.