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This is such an easy and cheap homemade bug spray! Each batch is probably less than $0.25 to make depending on where you get your ingredients.
I started learning more about insect control last year so I could start sharing more chemistry solutions for you.
But now that it’s summer, we need to keep the bugs off of our body!
Thanks to chemistry, you can whip up a batch of this homemade bug spray in a few minutes. Stay tuned below the recipe for chemistry tips on why this works!
4 tbsp witch hazel (like this natural one)
3 tsp lemon infused rubbing alcohol (MUST be lemon infused)
35-40 drops of citronella oil (I use this one)
Glass spray bottles (These are affordable & good quality)
To make lemon infused alcohol, simply add lemon peels to a glass jar. Cover all the lemons with rubbing alcohol and allow to sit for 2 weeks. You can leave it for months if desired, it will continue to get stronger the longer it sits. I also keep a jar off lemon infused vinegar on hand for things like this bathroom cleaner too.
There are some projects in the ebook with lemon infused alcohol too.
I like to mix this up in a small test tube, shake it up, then pour into the spray bottle.
If you have a small funnel, you can pour the ingredients right into the spray bottle. Anything you have to mix it up that pours easy will work great
ALWAYS shake before use since the oils will separate while it sits.
Just spray over the main parts of your skin like ankles, neck, wrists, or legs. Also, make sure to spray your clothes! Mosquitoes can get through clothes too. I like to give a few sprays to each area.
Reapply if you are out in the sun after a few hours.
This deters most mosquitoes, flies, and gnats. I live in North Texas, and this has helped keep the bugs off us in my area.
Chemist Tips for Homemade Bug Spray
After researching different homemade remedies and solutions, I narrowed down these ingredients to be the most effective and affordable to use for a bug spray. There are many different bug repellents that use only essential oils, but they don’t seem to work as well. They also cost more money. Many essential oils can get pricey.
Instead, you can create this combination for just a few cents per batch.
Why this DIY Bug Spray Works:
Witch Hazel is an astringent that comes from the leaves and bark of a witch hazel shrub. It has been used for centuries for a wide variety of medicinal uses like inflammation, bleeding, and skin irritations. Due to it’s astringent properties, it naturally repels insects. This makes it a great base for homemade bug spray.
Lemon Infused Rubbing Alcohol
This is a great chemistry hack! Lemon is a natural bug repellent, so lemon oils are very popular to use for deterring insects. When you add something to alcohol and allow it to sit or infuse, you are creating an extract. Basically, you are extracting the natural lemon oils into the alcohol. Just like when you make vanilla extract or chocolate extract.
Obviously, this is not for internal use since we are using rubbing alcohol, but it makes it a wonderful topical option for adding to the bug spray. You are getting the lemon oils which deter bugs along with the rubbing alcohol itself which is an astringent.
Citronella is one of the most popular options for repelling bugs. It comes from different species of the lemongrass plant, and is highly effective for keeping insects away. By using the oil, you get a really concentrated dose. I love the option of this oil because it is very affordable and effective!
Can I use other oils?
I know this question may pop up. Can you use other essential oils? You can’t substitute the citronella oil! This must be the essential oil you use! If you want, you can add in other essentials oils you have on hand like lemongrass, eucalyptus, even other lemon oils. Anything besides the citronella is optional and won’t effect how the bug spray works, so if you want to add another kind, that is up to you 🙂