Child Care

Getting the Bugs Out

It’s definitely summer – hot, sticky, and buggy!  Many of the children at the center are apparently delicious, at least to bugs, as a lot of them are sporting a variety of bug bites.  There are over the counter sprays you can purchase, but most of them are not good either for children or the environment.  A PromiseLand parent / board member just sent me a link to a site with some recipes for homemade bug spray, using items you may already have at home.  They look simple, sound like they would smell pretty good and, according to my “source,” are working for her daughter: she doesn’t mind wearing it and she has fewer bites – so, the link and recipes are printed below!


Essential Oil Bug Spray

·             Essential oils: choose from Citronella, Clove, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Cajeput, Eucalyptus, Cedar, Catnip, Lavender, Mint

·             Natural Witch Hazel

·             Distilled or boiled Water

·             Vegetable glycerin (optional)

How to Make Homemade Bug Spray with Essential Oils

1.          Fill spray bottle (I used 8 ounce) 1/2 full with distilled or boiled water

2.          Add witch hazel to fill almost to the top

3.          Add 1/2 tsp vegetable glycerin if using

4.          Add 30-50 drops of essential oils to desired scent. The more oils you use, the stronger the spray will be. My personal favorite mix is: Rosemary, Clove, “Cajeput,” Lavender, Cinnamon and Eucalyptus… it works great and smells good too!

Fresh or Dried Herbs Bug Spray Ingredients

·             Distilled water

·             Witch hazel or rubbing alcohol

·             Dried herbs: peppermint, spearmint, citronella, lemongrass, catnip, lavender, etc. I recommend using at least one herb from the mint family. Basil is also said to repel mosquitoes and I’ve used fresh basil leaves in the garden with great success before!

How to Make Bug Spray from Fresh or Dried Herbs

1.          Boil 1 cup of water and add 3-4 TBSP of dried herbs total in any combination from the above. I use 1 TBSP each of peppermint, spearmint, catnip and lavender, and also throw in a couple of dried cloves.

2.          Mix well, cover and let cool (covering is important to keep the volatile oils in!)

3.          Strain herbs out and mix water with 1 cup of witch hazel or rubbing alcohol. Store in a spray bottle in a cool place (fridge is great because then its nice and cool!)

4.          Use as needed. Added bonus: it smells great and is very refreshing to the skin!

(Thank you to

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