Creating your own insect repellent lotion is a great way to get away from the chemicals and create an insect repellant that is actually pleasant to use. Made with oil, water, and essential oils, the lotion will moisturize as well as repel insects.
Insect Repelling Herbs
There are many herbs that repel insects naturally. Mix and match these herbs to create a scent that pleases you:
Note: Pennyroyal should not be used by children, pregnant women, or women looking to become pregnant. Citronella should also be avoided by pregnant women.
Optional: Herbal Oil
Any number of oils can be used to make a lotion, but olive oil is a good place to start. A trick to strengthen your insect repellant is to make a herbal oil. The oil itself can be used as a repellant, or used in your lotion.
Method 1 - Use a Crock Pot
Place several cups of torn fresh herbs into a crock pot. Cover the herbs with a layer of olive oil, add another inch of oil. Turn the heat in the crock pot on low and heat for about three hours. After heating, strain the oil through cheesecloth, squeezing out any additional oil. Store the oil in a sterilized bottle.
Method 2 - Use a Glass Jar
Place several cups of torn fresh herbs in a glass jar. Cover the herbs in olive oil. Seal the jar and place it in a sunny place for five days. Shake the jar once or twice a day. At the end of five days, strain the oil through cheesecloth, squeezing the oil from the herbs. Store the oil in a sterilized bottle.
Method 3 - Seal a Jar
Place several cups of torn fresh herbs in a glass jar. Heat the olive oil to 160 degrees F. Pour the oil over the herbs until they are completely covered. Seal the jar and store in a dark place for between a week and a month. Strain the oil through cheesecloth, squeezing out any additional oil. Store the oil in a sterilized bottle.
Create a Lotion
Gather a bowl, steel whisk, distilled water and oil. Place 2 ounces of water in the bowl then add 2 ounces of oil, whisking briskly as you do. The oil and water will combine to create a creamy white lotion.
Next, add essential oils to the lotion. Add 120 drops of essential oils to 4 ounces of lotion and stir well. Choose from the list of herbs above. Different combinations of herbs will smell differently, some more appealing to you than others. Some combinations may work better on your local insect population than others. You will have to experiment to find the best combination for you.
Warnings and Notes
Different people have sensitivities to some herbs, especially at the concentrated level of essential oils. Always test a new mixture on a small portion of skin for a few hours to see if you have a negative reaction. Keep the lotion away from your eyes and mucus membranes.