We have a hard time around here keeping up with insect repellent. I buy some every year and it gets left outside to suffer miserably in the elements. Not to mention my husband complains every time he puts it on, and I hate spraying my daughter with it reminding her to keep her eyes and mouth closed. And we all know how nasty it feels on your skin!
This year I've decided to try something different; homemade insect repellent. One of my favorite natural substances with multi-purpose functionality is coconut oil. I use it as a moisturizer for my skin as well as an eye makeup remover. With a quick Google search you can find dozens of uses for it outside of being an incredibly healthy cooking oil.
I had heard you could use it as an insect repellent so I went to work and found a recipe to make it myself using what I have on hand.
DIY Insect Repellent
Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (I use Nutiva brand that I purchase on Amazon.com)
Peppermint Oil (You can buy this at GNC or any store that sells essential oils)
The recipe I found says to use about 3 tablespoons of coconut oil, melted, then add 5-6 drops of peppermint oil. I found the container I want to store the oil in and started scooping out tablespoons in to the container. I was able to fit 9 tablespoons in to my little Glad brand plastic cup.
I then took the oil and transferred it in to a microwave-safe bowl and heated it for 10 seconds to melt the oil down, then poured it back over in to my Glad cup. Since I used about 9 tablespoons I added 17 drops of peppermint oil, then stirred it around to mix it all together.
Place the lid on your container and store it in a place where kids or pets won't get to it. My dog has eaten an entire jar of coconut oil so I know this will be enticing if left somewhere accessible. It's best if you store it in a cool place where it can harden back to a solid form. it's easier to work with that way in my opinion.
Apply to exposed skin before venturing outside.
There you have it, homemade safe and natural insect repellent!!
~ If you sweat or are swimming you'll need to reapply occasionally. Unlike commercial bug repellents this stuff doesn't stick to your skin (which means it doesn't leave behind a really gross sticky residue and make you feel yucky). It's like a lotion so just as you would reapply sunscreen that's not water proof, reapply this.
~ Coconut oil has a melting point of 76 degrees so as soon as it comes in contact with your skin as a solid, it quickly turns to a liquid. Keep that in mind while traveling or leaving your container outside. It melts fast and can be messy if not stored in a container that will contain leaks. Be careful when opening a container just in case it has melted... I opened the Nutiva bottle on vacation and poured oil all over the bathroom, whoops!
Coconut oil has so many benefits, one of them being an anti-itch remedy! If you lather it over a mosquito bite it will not only help subside the annoying itching, it will also reduce the swelling of the bite in about 30 minutes. I have also read that it works great with the itching and burning of those evil fire ant bites! I wish I had known that when I was a kid living down south. Thankfully we don't have fire ants in Kentucky that I know of or have seen.