Choosing a Natural Insect Repellent

Choosing a Natural Insect RepellentMay 18, 2011

Surfer Gnat

Mosquitoes in Lake Charles are a different kind of awful than I’m used to encountering. Applying a little bug spraybefore an evening cookout always got the job done in Mississippi.Here,I’ve been getting bitten throughout the day and through my pants while covered in my go-to bug spray. That isn’t to say Burt’s Bees Herbal Insect Repellent doesn’t help at all (I get twice the bites when I forgo wearing it), but it definitely isn’t providing optimal protection. And since my supply is dwindling, I thought I’d do a little research on what to buy or make next.

The following five natural bug sprays have very low hazards scores in the Cosmetics Database (either a 0 or a 1):

  • Vidoma Naturals Out & About Insect Repelling Spray

Ingredients-Distilled water (Aqua), witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), and neem oil (Azadirachta indica), with cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica), peppermint (Mentha piperita), organic lavender (Lavandula augustifolia), manuka (Leptospermum scoparium), lemon (Citrus limon), and eucalyptus (Eucalyptus citriodora) essential oils.

This spray contains witch hazel, neem oil, lavender essential oil, and eucalyptus essential oil, all of which are absent from Burt’s Bees Herbal Insect Repellent ingredient list.


Ingredients-Natural Essential Oil Blend (Lemon Eucalyptus and other natural essential oils), Saponified Organic Oils of Coconut, Olive & Jojoba, Organic Aloe.

Maybe the coconut, olive, jojoba, and aloe would at least make this spray more soothing, if not more effective.


Ingredients-Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel); Organic Apple Cider Vinegar; Organic Cymbopogon Nardus (Citronella) Essential Oil.

Apple cider vinegar is a miracle worker.


Ingredients- 23%*Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, 10% *Ricinus Communis (Castor) Oil, and Essential Oils of 4% *Cymbopogon Nardus (Citronella), 2% *Cedrus Atlantica (Cedar), 2% *Cymbopogon Schoenanthus (Lemongrass), 1.5% *Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary), and 1% *Mentha Piperita (Peppermint),Water and 0.5% *Gaultheria Procumbens (Wintergreen).

I’d like to smell this bug spray before buying it. Sometimes wintergreen is a little too much to handle, you know?


Ingredients-Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil — 2 %, Geranium Oil —- 2 %, 96.00%, Aqua (Purified Water), Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Lecithin, Citric Acid, Sodium Bicarbonate, Benzoic Acid, Sodium Benzoate.

I wonder what purpose the baking soda serves.

Some of the above ingredient lists are similar to my current bug spray, but I’m not writing them off immediately since it’s reasonable to assume that different proportions can result in varied performance. I wish there were more reviews of these products online, but I had a lot of trouble finding any reviews at all for most of them.


Homemade Options:

According to one article I came across (5 Homemade Chemical Free Bug Repellents That Work), vanilla extract and lavender flower both repel mosquitoes. You can also mix witch hazel with a few drops of tea tree, lavender, and peppermint oils for an all over spray repellent. I plan on trying all three of these suggestions!

This article onNatural Homemade Mosquito Repellent lists plants, oils, and vitamins that all act as mosquito deterrents and ends with its own recipe for natural insect repellent.


How about you guys? Do you have a favorite natural insect repellent? Have you tried making your own?


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