Deterring Mosquitoes and Relieving Bites Naturally
DEET is a very common and dangerous chemical used in conventional insect repellents for use directly on the skin. It's known to cause short- and long-term health effects including brain cell death and behavioral changes, especially in children. There are plenty of natural ways to deter insects and also relieve insect bites without the use of any chemicals. Learn toxic-free methods of protecting yourself and your family from insects this summer.
6 Quick Ways To Relieve Insect Bites
1. BANANA PEELS
Treat the area first with soap and water, and then hold the inside (meat side) of the banana peel on the bite for 5-7 minutes, rubbing the peel onto the skin occasionally. The banana peel should relieve the itch and dry the skin out quickly.
2. APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
When you first notice the itchy bite, try applying a small amount of apple cider vinegar directly to the affected area. If you have many bites, you may want to take a very hot bath in a tub filled with water and up to 3 cups of the vinegar. You're best to use organic apple cider vinegar whenever possible.
3. LEMON SLICE Both lemons and lemon juice work very well to relieve insect bites. Even the peel from a lemon or lime will work effectively and keep the wound from becoming infected.
4. BAKING SODA A very simple and effective remedy for mosquito bites is to make a thick paste of baking soda and water and then apply it generously to the affected area. You should feel the swelling and itching subside shortly afterwards.
5. LAVENDER AND TEA TREE OILS Both lavender and tea tree oils work exceptionally well to temporarily relieve bites. Others include rosemary, neem, and witch hazel. Take a small amount and dilute it with water, then apply directly to the bite.
6. ONION SLICE Other than making you produce tears, a fresh slice of onion can also help take the sting out of a bite. Simply place a fresh slice on the affected area for several minutes until the itching subsides. Be sure to wash the area thoroughly afterwards.
Natural Insect Repellent Recipe
Need a natural insect repellent without DEET? you'll get a more effective repellent if you combine a few different insect-repelling natural oils. If you are making large amounts of insect repellent, a good rule of thumb is to mix the repellent so it's 5-10% essential oil, so mix 1 part essential oil with 10-20 parts carrier oil or alcohol. For a smaller batch use:
10-25 drops (total) of essential oils
2 tablespoons of a carrier oil or alcohol
The essential oils that work well against biting insects (mosquitoes, flies, ticks, fleas) are:
cinnamon oil (mosquitoes)
lemon eucalyptus or regular eucalyptus oil (mosquitoes, ticks, and lice)
citronella oil (mosquitoes and biting flies)
castor oil (mosquitoes)
orange oil (fleas)
rose geranium (ticks and lice)
Safe carrier oils and alcohols include:
any other cooking oil
Mix the essential oil with the carrier oil or alcohol. Rub or spray the natural insect repellent onto skin or clothing, using care to avoid the sensitive eye area. You'll need to re-apply the natural product after about an hour or after swimming or exercise. Unused natural insect repellent may be stored in a dark bottle, away from heat or sunlight. If you wish, you may combine the oil with aloe vera gel to change the consistency of the product.
April McCarthy is a community journalist playing an active role reporting and analyzing world events to advance our health and eco-friendly initiatives.