Homemade Bug Repellent

Have you ever read the ingredients list on the back of your bug spray? Here are some of the common ones and what you should know about each:

  • Deet- According to the Environment Protection Agency, “wash [Deet] off your skin when you return indoors, avoid breathing it in and not spray it directly on your face.” In studies conducted on lab rats, Deet caused brain cell death and behavioral changes after prolonged usage. In humans, Deet has been known to cause memory loss, headache, weakness, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, tremors and shortness of breath. Click here for a short article from MedMinute regarding the dangers of Deet.
  • Citronella oil- Direct application of citronella oil has been found to raise the heart rate of some people. Canada Health is starting to phase out using citronella oil in products because of uncertainties regarding its safety.
  • Neem Oil- Can be irritating to the skin and eyes. In cats, neem oil has caused sluggishness, excessive salivation, impaired movement, trembling, twitching, and convulsions. In one study, pregnant rats were exposed to neem oil and their pregnancies ended shortly after.
  • Ethanol-  associated with skin irritation or contact dermatitis
  • Fragrance- aka chemicals. Virtually unregulated by the FDA and could contain any number of harmful chemicals.
  • Aminomethyl Propanol- The EWG gives it a toxicity rating of 3. According to the EWG, research has shown it to be an irritant, an endocrine disruptor, and as having respiratory effects
  • Sodium Benzoate- has been linked to asthma attacks, hypertension, and ADHD.
  • Prallethrin- Can cause headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive salivation, fatigue. Severe cases involve fluid in the lungs and muscle twitching. Seizures may occur and are more common with more toxic cyano-pyrethroids
  • Sodium Nitrite- large amounts can cause rapid heart rate and rapid breathing, as well as seizures, coma, and death. Excess contact with skin and eyes causes redness, itching and swelling. Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/283826-sodium-nitrite-dangers/#ixzz2aep7Kzb3

The great news is that it is easy and inexpensive to make your own bug repellent, and you know exactly what you are putting on your body. Here is my favorite recipe:


  • 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)


  1. Fill spray bottle (I used 8 ounce) halfway with distilled or boiled water
  2. Add witch hazel to fill almost to the top
  3. Add 1/2 tsp vegetable glycerin (optional)
  4. Add 30-50 drops of essential oils to desired scent

What does your family use for insect repellent? Do you have a recipe that is tried and true? 


By Courtney Perry


Apple Cider Vinegar: The Ultimate Problem Solver

Deciding to go chemical-free can be overwhelming, hence the reason for this blog. Take one day at a time, learn about your options, and make baby steps. An easy way to start is by doing research about the items you may already have in your house that can take the place of other harsh, toxic products! Today I am going to highlight one of my favorites: apple cider vinegar. 

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) can be used for so many different things it should be a staple in your home. In fact, one week ago I went to the doctor with bright red, swollen, spotted tonsils, a fever, and chills. A positive strep test sent me into hysterics because I am severely allergic to most antibiotics. I went home and decided I was going to cure my strep throat with apple cider vinegar, and I did just that. For a week I gargled the vinegar diluted in warm water. Within 12 hours, my sore throat was gone. I went back to the doctor after 6 days to get another strep test and lo and behold, it came back negative! From extensive online research, apple cider vinegar has been known to cure strep throat along with several other ailments. Please note, strep throat can be a very serious sickness with potential life threatening side effects if not treated. See your doctor and choose the best treatment plan for you

When choosing an apple cider vinegar brand, the more organic and natural the better, as with most things. My favorite brand is Bragg, it contains something called  “the mother” which looks like a big ball of snot in the bottom of the bottle. Do not be afraid. This goopy, snotty looking mass is what makes the vinegar so good for you. It has a ton of enzymes and good bacteria! 


So, what else can apple cider vinegar be used for?

(suggested amount is 2 teaspoons per day diluted in water)

  • High cholesterol
  • Weight loss
  • Skin disorders (eczema, psoriasis, acne, warts)
  • Diarrhea (if bacteria is causing the problems)
  • Hiccups
  • Prevents indigestion
  • Sinus congestion
  • Sore throat
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Fatigue
  • Teeth whitening
  • Leg cramps
  • Gas and bloating
  • Sunburn relief
  • Dandruff


  • Apple cider vinegar has antibacterial properties and absorbs odor so it makes a great cleaning product! Simply mix one part ACV and one part water and spray on any hard surface in your home (even wood). Wipe immediately with a dry towel
  • Mix one tablespoon of ACV with water and rinse your hair with it. You will be amazed at how shiny and healthy your hair looks! 
  • Dab onto your skin blemishes for quick healing 
  • If you are brave, try using ACV as a deodorant. The vinegar smell only lasts for a few minutes and it has been known to keep people smell-free! 
  • Rubbing ACV onto your pet’s skin or adding a little to his or her water bowl can help repel and kill fleas 
  • Clogged drain? Pour 1/4 cup of baking soda into the drain and chase it with 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar. Rinse with hot water
  • Mix one part ACV with one part water and clean your windows. You’ll be amazed at the streak-free, shiny results
  • Garlic, onion, and fish smelling hands can be fixed by simply washing with the ACV
  • Smell remover- place a bowl of ACV on the floor and let sit overnight. It has been proven to work on cigarette smoke, beer, vomit, and several other unpleasant odors! 

What other uses have you found for apple cider vinegar?  

By Courtney Perry