Today I wanted to share our absolute favourite homemade bug spray for kids. It’s summertime and we all know that means long days under the sun, outdoor adventures, Nerf wars, and bugs. Lots and lots of bugs. If you are anything like me you are picky about what you put on your body, plus want to save a few pennies. Combine that with a product that works really really well and you will know why we love this essential oil bug spray so much!
Homemade Bug Spray For Kids
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The Downside of Summer – Bugs and Allergies
We live on the prairies of Canada, an area known for it’s nasty and copious amounts of mosquitoes every year. This year they actually issued a warning because we have a particularly vampirous (I don’t think that’s a word, but it is very accurate for these super aggressive blood suckers!) mosquito species that is appearing in record numbers. In addition to mosquitoes we also have fleas and ticks, plus all sorts of nasty little buggies. Venturing outside can be a scary ordeal! So when it comes to bug spray, we have tried them all.
And I hate bug sprays.
I have extremely sensitive skin. A ton of allergies. I react to everything. Those little bugs? If they bite me I get these massive swollen lumps. I react to everything. Including lots of bug sprays.
A Homemade Solution – Buzz Off Bugs!
Over the years I have tried tons of bug sprays. Some of them worked beautifully, but triggered my asthma or a skin reaction. Others didn’t work at all, in fact, I am sure some of them attracted more bugs than they repelled.
I started buying all natural bug sprays, and some of them worked really well. Plus, no reactions… when I picked the ones with the right ingredients. But they totally broke the bank. They were sooooo expensive and when you have multiple people outside most of the day, you can go through a whole bottle in no time.
Bug Spray For The Kids
Plus the kids actually enjoy using it!
Another huge bonus is that my youngest, for whom bugs are a big trauma trigger, can use this spray as he needs. I can even send him to activities without me, with a bottle in his bag, and he can safely and confidently use it himself. If you have a child with trauma history, you know how important it is to give these kids the tools they need to deal with triggers, especially when we aren’t around to help them.
Even better, this bug spray is so simple to make, the kids can make it themselves. I love teaching them how to make these products themselves, so they don’t feel the need to buy the stuff at the stores. It also gives them a better appreciation for what is in the products they are using on their bodies.
Our Favourite Homemade Bug Spray Ingredients
1/4 cup witch hazel
1/4 cup distilled water
10-15 drops each of citronella essential oil, lemongrass essential oil, lavender essential oil and patchouli essential oil
2-3 drops Argan oil
1 teaspoon Vitamin E oil
Step-by-Step – How To Make Kid Approved Bug Spray
Step 1: Add witch hazel and distilled water to bowl. Mix.
Steps 2: Add essential oils to bowl. Mix.
Step 3: Add Vitamin E oil and Argan oil.
Step 4: Mix all the ingredients together completely. Simply stir gently with a spoon.
Step 5: Pour mixture into spray bottle.
Shake well before applying and spray yourself just before heading outside. Reapply as necessary.
The Best Bottle For Your Bug Spray
Normally I’ve always been told to keep my essential oil products in coloured glass. It helps prevent any degradation of the essential oils, but if you are going to let your child cart this around in their bag, or take it to summer camp, or even just haul it around yourself, I highly recommend using a plastic spray bottle. Also, make sure you get one that mists nicely.
Bug Spray Recipe Adjustments For Under 10 Years Old
My kids are older, but if you have kids under 10 years old I recommend decreasing the drops of essential oil to only 5 drops of each type.
The best part of this recipe is how adaptable it is. If you or your child prefer slightly different ingredients or scents, you can just adapt it as you see fit.
We have created variations of this spray using these different essential oils to suit different preferences (anyone else have a smell sensitive child?). I recommend always using Citronella and Lavender but have played with the other essential oils. Just remember if you increase the number of essential oils you are adding to your spray, decrease the number of drops you are adding of each one to ensure you don’t make it too strong.
Here are some other oils we have tried:
- Tea Tree Oil (great for keeping ticks and lice away)
A Note About Safety
As with anything, but especially with essential oils and definitely with children, always test for possible reactions. I react to a lot of different things and find the best way to test is to apply a small amount to the inside of the wrist or elbow. And, as always, consult your family doctor if you have any concerns or questions. We love this, but your family may have different needs.
Of course, also use extreme caution when spraying anything around the face. I usually spray my hands, then gently apply to the cheeks if the bugs are severe enough. Usually spraying the body is enough to keep them away though.