It’s no fun to get covered in bug bites, but it’s also not ideal to use chemical insect repellents. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, accidentally breathing or swallowing DEET can cause serious problems.
Instead, I recommend these 10 natural and harmless ways to keep insects off your body, as well as out of your home.
1. Don’t Let Insects Mistake You For a Meal!
It’s best not to smell delectable when spending time outdoors. According to the University of Zurich, various types of insects are attracted to floral scents.
The evolutionary reason for this is that the insects get some tasty nectar from flowers, while the flower benefits from being pollinated by the insect in the process. Bees and wasps are among the most likely insects to be attracted by a flowery aroma.
Avoid floral and fruity scents for soap, body lotion, sunscreen, and perfume. You should also avoid using such scents for laundry detergent, fabric softener, and dryer sheets.
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2. Reduce Sweating to Avoid Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes and other insects that feed off of animals, including humans, are attracted to the scent of sweat. So, it’s common sense to use antiperspirant to keep sweating to a minimum.
However, there is a neat tip you can use in addition to this. Avoid eating high levels of salt and potassium for about 24 hours before your outdoor trip.
This is because consuming lots of these minerals increases your sweat’s lactic acid content. According to the American Mosquito Control Assocation, the scent of lactic acid is particularly attractive to mosquitoes.
3. Keep Ants at Bay with Vinegar
White vinegar is a good natural ant repellent, according to Pest Kill. Put some in a clean spray bottle and lightly spritz any areas in your house where ants are particularly fond of hanging out. This works best for non-porous surfaces like countertops.
The vinegar should have little to no odor once it has dried completely. If the smell persists, use a mixture of half water and half vinegar instead.
4. Use Eucalyptus for a Natural Solution
According to Dr. Andrew Weil, eucalyptus oil is a natural oil that can be as effective as store-bought chemical insect repellents, but with fewer side effects.
Mix a couple of drops of eucalyptus essential oil with unscented body lotion to keep insects off of you when you’re outside. Or, use it in an essential oil diffuser indoors to keep insects out of your house.
5. Use Fragrant Cedar Wood
According to WiseGeek, cedar can help keep insects at bay because the scent camouflages any other scents present that the insects may be attracted to. Traditionally, this wood has been used to keep away moths, but it can work for other insects as well.
Place mesh bags of cedar chips anywhere you want insects to stay away from. Alternatively, diffuse cedar essential oil throughout the whole room in a vaporizer.
6. Sidewalk Chalk?
Strangely, the common chalk used for sidewalks and blackboards is another way to keep ants out of your home. According to LifeHacker, ants won’t cross a chalk line possibly because they don’t like the particles sticking to their feet. It probably makes it hard for them to walk.
So, simply take a stick of chalk and draw some good thick lines around your house. Pay extra attention to where ants enter your house. You can also draw chalk lines indoors, around cracks and nooks where you see ants emerge from.
7. Citrus Peels: Spider Repellent, Not Garbage!
Next time you peel an orange or any other citrus fruit, save the peel. Rub the inside thoroughly on any areas where you often see spiders lurking.
Although it works on any hard surface, it’s especially nifty for wood as the oils in the citrus peels make a natural furniture polish.
Do this regularly to keep the aroma fresh, and you should see fewer and fewer spiders in your house.
8. Citronella Is Great For General Insect Shooing
Though it doesn’t repel insects per se, you can stop various types of insects from being attracted to you or your home with citronella essential oil, according to Dr. Joseph Mercola. This is also known as lemongrass oil. It works by disguising scents that might attract insects, and is nontoxic.
Mix lemongrass oil with unscented lotion for natural repelling lotion. Alternatively, light a citronella candle in your home or use the essential oil in a diffuser.
9. Use Rosemary as an All-Natural Herbal Repellent
According to Erika Yigzaw of the American College of Healthcare Sciences, one scientific study compared the effectiveness of 21 different essential oils against wasps. Not all oils were effective, and rosemary was counted among the effective oils.
The ways you can use rosemary essential oil to repel insects are essentially the same as the other plant oils I’ve mentioned. Dilute with lotion and apply to the skin, use a diffuser, or light a candle made with rosemary oil.
10. Clove Oil Does The Trick
The same study I mentioned that found rosemary to be effective against wasps also found that clove oil works. However, clove oil may also be particularly effective for dispelling houseflies. What great news for summertime when flies tend to run rampant!
You might be able to increase the effectiveness of any anti-insect essential oil by blending it with a few others that have the same purpose. This video will tell you more about how to make essential oil bug sprays.
Get Rid of Insects In Your Home Naturally
Test these tricks out and see the number of bugs in your home go down. Use these tricks when spending time outdoors to see that they’re just as effective as DEET. Some of these natural solutions you might already have laying around the house.
These methods are convenient, harmless, effective, and cheap! Try using vinegar, chalk, citrus peels, cedar chips, or essential oils to keep insects away.