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DIY: Drive the pests away with homemade bug spray

The hottest part of summer is finally behind us, which means that the weather is perfect for outdoor activities like camping! It also means you'll spend less time putting on sunblock and more time putting on bug spray. And if you’re like me, you hate the potent and highly chemical smell of it.Story: What's the best way to avoid mosquito bites?So I set off to try and make my own DIY version that
DIY expert Chelsa Skees makes a homemade bug spray that's chemical free and easy on the nose.
DIY expert Chelsa Skees makes a homemade bug spray that's chemical free and easy on the nose.Chelsa Skees

The hottest part of summer is finally behind us, which means that the weather is perfect for outdoor activities like camping! It also means you'll spend less time putting on sunblock and more time putting on bug spray. And if you’re like me, you hate the potent and highly chemical smell of it.

Story: What's the best way to avoid mosquito bites?

So I set off to try and make my own DIY version that would repel bugs, but not friends. I gathered a few different essentials oils I knew were natural repellants like citronella, lemon and bergamot and also grabbed a couple different fragrant waters like rose and orange blossom to use as the base. Then I began my experiment.

I understand that fragrance is subjective, which is why I made a few friends smell each of my (several) concoctions. We eventually came to a consensus on which had the best scent. Below is the winning recipe and a short explanation of each ingredient.

Chelsa Skees

Ingredients:

  • 3.5 ounces rose water (Using rose versus orange blossom water helps reduce the essence of acidity in the overall smell.)
  • 15 drops Bergamot essential oil (using slightly more Bergamot oil in your mixture is great since it's still a citrus but less pungent than citronella or lemon
  • 10 drops orange essential oil (If you've ever peeled an orange, you know exactly the smell this oil gives off; it’s a classic fresh citrus note.)
  • 10 drops lemongrass essential oil (This oil has an amazing summery fresh aroma that helps balance out the rest of the citrus notes in your potion.)
Chelsa Skees

I used a 4-ounce spritz bottle in order to give myself working room with the liquids in case I wanted to add more water or oils, depending on the smell. Add all of the ingredients listed above into the bottle and adjust or top off with more rose water to your liking.

Chelsa Skees

Remember to shake well before each use, since the oils will naturally separate from the water. I've used this recipe the last two weekends while spending time outdoors, and typically without a spray, I end up with bites all over. I can proudly say I haven't had one bite over the last two weeks — not to mention my friends still wanted to hang out after I sprayed myself with it!

Chelsa Skees is currently working as a freelance fashion stylist and writer. Her favorite color is gray, and she can beat just about anyone in a bubble-blowing contest. 

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