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Nothing ruins the beauty of getting outdoors quite like a bug fest, does it? Especially when the bugs are feasting on you! With the widespread outbreak of West Nile virus this year, I have been making sure to cover the whole family in bug repellant. But not just any old repellant–homemade repellant! It costs pennies per use and there are none of the harmful chemicals in it. It is super simple to make and we’ve had great success with it this year. Not a single bite during our six day camping trip early this month!

There’s nothing exotic or weird in this formula. Several essential oils are well-known to repel mosquitoes and other bugs, so feel free to pick and choose based on what you have on hand. I use jojoba oil as my main carrier oil for the repellant, because it has the added benefit of making your skin super soft! It is really easy to make, and I keep it in one of those .99 liquid containers you can get in the travel section at any major store. Any of these essential oils work well: lemon eucalyptus oil, rosemary oil, peppermint oil, lavender oil, or cinnamon oil. Tea Tree oil also repels other bugs, so I use it as well in my personal mixture.



Update: while this photo shows a collection of different oils, I now exclusively use the Young Living brand,

as I have found it to be much more effective. Read this post here to find out why I switched and how to order your own.


  • 1/4 cup of Jojoba oil
  • 10 drops Tea Tree oil
  • 15 drops Lavender oil
  • 10 drops rosemary oil
Pour the Jojoba oil into your bottle. Add the essential oils, one at a time, then shake well to blend. To apply, shake well, then take 4-5 drops onto your hands and spread over any exposed skin. It takes less than you think! It will spread evenly and protect for 2-3 hours. It leaves your skin baby soft as well.

We’ve been using it all summer and have used less than half of what we made up. It takes only a few drops on your hands to cover large areas. I usually rub it on arms and legs and then a small amount around faces and ears. Just last night I put some of this out and went out to read in our hammock. The sun was setting, which meant the mosquitoes were out in force. (Dawn and dusk are the worst times for mosquito bites.) I laid in the hammock reading, for more than 90 minutes, without a single bite! They were around me quite often, because of the light on my iPad. But they never bit or even landed on me. That has been our experience all summer while wearing this mixture. LittleMissSunshine is very prone to bites, as am I. The only time we get bit is when we forget to apply our repellant before going out.

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