I’ve been on a quest for the past few years to find a good natural alternative to DEET based mosquito repellants, especially for my kids. I have health concerns with DEET even when it is used properly. The proper way to use DEET, according to package instructions, is to wash it off after the threat of mosquito bites is gone. How practical is this? Am I really suppose to bathe my children every time we have been outside and applied mosquito repellant? This could be two or three times a day. I think it is irresponsible for Health Canada to approve a product and say it is safe if used ‘properly’ when the proper use is almost impossible to achieve.
I’ve tried many different brands of natural repellants from the health food store and online but I am usually dismayed at the amounts of active ingredients. A typical citronella repellant has 5% citronella essential oil and 95% water and emulsifiers(to keep the oil suspended in the water). Even if citronella was the best at repelling mosquitoes(which I’m not convinced of), such a low concentration won’t last long.
About two years ago I came across some research on lemon eucalyptus oil. In the research it was comparable to the lower concentrations of DEET. I’ve seen some commercial brands with lemon essential oil and eucalyptus essential oil but never with true lemon eucalyptus essential oil. So I went on a mission to find some of this elusive essential oil and I found it in only one place in Canada at www.well.ca. I ordered a bottle last year but didn’t really get a chance to try it out.
Welcome spring 2011 in Alberta – the perfect conditions for mosquito repellant testing. I used 20% Lemon Eucalyptus Oil and 80% water in a little spray bottle. I don’t have anything that acts as an emulsifier so it has to be shaken before spraying. So far it has been working amazingly well. A few squirts before my son’s soccer practice lasts for the full hour and a half we are on the field. I have read that instead of using water, an alcohol based solution such as witch hazel, rubbing alcohol, or vodka is better. They evaporate quicker so the spray is less wet feeling. This also sounds better for spraying on clothes.
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