Last week we wrote about natural ways to repel insects in order to keep your food stores safe – and to keep disease-carrying critters off of you and your pets, but you can also make your own insect repellent products from natural ingredients, which saves you money, is less toxic, and in certain situations can be an important survival skill.
Essential oils are oils extracted from plants by distillation or cold press. Oregano, rosemary, citrus, lavender and eucalyptus are plants that repel fleas, ants, roaches, flies and more. You can buy essential oils in most natural food stores and they’ll keep for a long time if they’re stored in cool, dark place. However, you can also make your own. Because cold press requires a big piece of equipment not practical for home use, the next best thing is make an infusion by immersing plant leaves or citrus rinds in olive oil for a few weeks.
The best option is to invest in a distillation kit so you can create more potent essential oils. You can buy a home essential oil distillation for around $500.
Place the rinds or the plants in the kettle of water and collect the liquid that runs out the nozzle. Store in sterilized bottles in a cool, dark place.
Making Citronella Candles
Citronella candles are a popular way to keep mosquitos away from the party. However, most commercially produced citronella candles simply don’t’ work because they don’t contain real citrus oil; if they don’t use essential oil as the foundation, they’re just “citronella scented.” You can also add eucalyptus oil to the mix for even more mosquito control. Making these candles yourself ensures that you’re not wasting money on insect repellant that doesn’t work, and it’s a great recycling project. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Clean tin cans
- Candle scraps
- Wicks (Buy online, at a local craft store or you can make your own.)
- Double boiler (or place an old metal mixing bowl over a pot of boiling water)
- Lemon essential oil
Melt the candle scraps in the double boiler. Glue or tape the wick to the bottom of the tin can and tie the top end to a pencil placed horizontally across the mouth of the can. When the wax is melted, add 1 oz of essential oil per pound of wax. Pour the wax into the can and wait 48 hours. When the wax has hardened, trim the wick from the pencil.
Make Your Own Insect Repellant Spray
Commercial insect repellant is expensive and contains toxic chemicals. You can make your own and enjoy the fact that it’s totally safe, and you’re saving money. Here’s what you need:
- Spray bottle
- Witch hazel
- Boiled water cooled to room temperature
- Essential oil
Pour a 50:50 solution of sterile water and witch hazel into the spray bottle then add 30 – 50 drops of essential oil. Spray on skin or around the entry points of your home. Pay special attention to the areas where pipes enter the house. Spray regularly around food stores – it’s perfectly safe.
Rosemary is an excellent flea repellant. Immerse 2 cups of rosemary in a gallon of boiling water. Steep for 30 minutes then cool to room temperature. Use a spray bottle to apply to pets and let dry.