What you need to know about natural mosquito spray and Zika virus protection
DIY Natural Mosquito Spray Recipe and What You Need To Know For Zika Protection
Mosquitos… I hate ’em! For some reason they are more attracted to me than anyone else in my family. If I walk outside for just a couple minutes, to take #RescueDog out for a quick pee before bed, I get covered in bites!
A few nights ago, I was over at our neighbor’s house, watching our kiddos play outside. She was wearing regular store bought mosquito spray, with Deet ®, and I had my bottle filled with my recipe for natural mosquito spray. I noticed the mosquitos were hovering around her, and avoiding me. I didn’t get any bites! Her kids kept coming to her for more spray because they were getting bit, but my kids had no issues. Her kids had been sprayed with the Deet ® spray, and I’d spritzed my kids prior to walking over to their house, using the bottle with my recipe.
I know my recipe works, but there’s something you absolutely need to know about natural mosquito repellants.
According to an October, 2015 study, conducted by researchers at New Mexico State University, the natural repellants they tested had varied results.
“The products were tested against two mosquito species, the yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti) and the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus), both known vectors of dengue fever, chikungunya, yellow fever, and other diseases.
With some, the repellent effect was gone after as little as 30 minutes, and a few had no effect at all. However, Cutter brand Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellant was effective for the entire 240 minutes of the test, others lasted about 120 minutes.
We’ve used the Cutter one before and it worked pretty well, but I’m just a fan of DIY and make-my-own recipes, so I wanted to try a recipe of my own, using lemongrass and eucalyptus, like the Cutter one, that also used an organic soap concentrate to help the oils stick to my skin. The soap also repels bugs (farmers use it as a fly-spray for cattle) and helps slow the evaporation of the essential oils. I know a lot of people who use that concentrate with just water, to repel mosquitos, but I’ve found it works even better when you add the oils. With Zika seeming to spread across the United States, I prefer to maximize protection for me, and my family.
Because DIY recipes haven’t been tested so we know how long they last, I highly recommend reapplying every hour to 90 minutes, to ensure you’re protected on summer evenings.
How to apply any type of mosquito repellant to the face and neck:
Don’t spray your face! Even if you’re using a natural repellant with essential oils, rather than a Deet ® spray. Spritz your hands, then dab your neck and cheeks.
Which do you apply first, repellant or sunscreen?
Mosquitos are attracted to, and repelled by odors. If you apply sunscreen over repellant, then you’re covering up the repellent’s odor and rendering it less effective. Always apply sunscreen first, then mosquito repellant.
What would I do if I were pregnant and even more concerned about Zika?
Bottom line, the tiny amount of Deet in traditional bug repellent is far less harmful for baby than the Zika virus. But, I’ve found, just by hanging out with friends who are using Deet, that my recipe seems to actually be repelling better than their spray. It could be coincidence, those friends might just be more appealing to mosquitos. Or their spray might be expired.
Personally, I’d want to hedge my bets and use every tool in my toolbox. I would apply my spray to my exposed skin, and spray my clothing with the Deet spray for an extra layer of protection.
5 oz water
1 tsp Eucalyptus oil
1 tsp Lemongrass oil
1/4 tsp Geranium oil
1.5 tsp liquid coconut soap or non-toxic dish soap.
Combine ingredients in a dark spray bottle.
Light can render the oils ineffective, that is why my bottle is wrapped in Duck tape.
Spray liberally to exposed skin. If you spray your clothing, be sure to use premium quality essential oils, cold steam distilled in order to preserve the delicate compounds that get destroyed by heat, and contain no filler oils (“pure” essential oils are allowed to contain up to 50% fillers!)
This spray smells really good. I get a lot of comments from people about how good it smells! But, the bugs HATE the odor. This spray is also a very effective bug killer, since the soap concentrate kills bugs, without harmful toxic fumes.
Why does this recipe need soap?
Soap slows down the evaporation of the essential oils, and helps keep the repellant clinging to skin. Liquid soap (diluted in water) alone will help repel bugs. Combining effective oils, and liquid soap makes for a more effective recipe.
How to treat an itchy mosquito bite?
Apply a dab of liquid soap immediately, to help dry out the bite.
Next, pay attention to how you feel. If you start to develop any flu-like symptoms, get to your Doctor.
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Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links to help support my blogging activities. However, my personal recommendations and opinions are my own and always honest.