Last summer, I was visiting a friend and one evening we decided to take a walk down to the creek near their home. It was hot and humid and there was no shortage of mosquitos. As I retrieved my homemade mosquito repellent, my friend’s husband proceeded to spray down their young daughter with a bug spray containing DEET. She was just as horrified as I was and naturally, an argument ensued. She was so upset because those chemical bug sprays are filled with toxic chemicals, not the least of which is the pesticide DEET, which is so poisonous that even the EPA advises to wash it off your skin when you return indoors, avoid breathing it in and not spray it directly on your face. Sounds to me like the advisory should be more along the lines of “Do not use this product.” If I shouldn’t breath it or spray it on my face, what am I doing using it at all?
DEET is just like any other pesticide. If it’s designed to kill small creatures, it’s going to do cumulative damage to us larger ones, too. And don’t forget that everything we put on our skin is absorbed directly into our bloodstream.
I live in a very arid region of Colorado and mosquitos are generally much less of an issue here than where I grew up in North Carolina. However, this year, we’ve had an unusually moist spring and I’ve been making good use of this spray. This simple and effective mosquito repellent is made with natural essential oils that are unappealing to mosquitos. Be sure to cover your skin thoroughly with it. Sometimes I offer it to people and they direct one spritz on each arm and leg. That’s not going to do the trick. Make sure all exposed skin is well-covered and you can definitely spray this on your face!
All-Natural Mosquito Repellant
1/2 c witch hazel (you can buy it here)