Non-Toxic Bug Repellent Recipe with Coconut Oil

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Delicious Obsessions: Non-Toxic Bug Repellent Recipe with Coconut Oil Featured on CoconutOil.com Follow Me on Pinterest

NOTE: A few weeks back, my recipe for bug repellent was featured on the CoconutOil.com website. Since there are still some high days of summer left and the bugs are in full swing, I wanted to share my recipe for non-toxic bug repellent on here too!

by Jessica Espinoza
CoconutOil.com 

Looking for an all-natural, non-toxic insect repellent that doesn’t contain the chemicals (like DEET) that most of the commercial brands do? There are many natural, non-toxic ingredients that can be used to make a bug repellent that won’t harm you and your family. Most homemade bug balms and bug sprays utilize the strength of essential oils. The most common essential oils used as bug repellents are:

  • Catnip
  • Cedarwood
  • Cinnamon
  • Citronella
  • Clove
  • Eucalyptus
  • Geranium
  • Lavender
  • Lemongrass
  • Patchouli
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Tea Tree

Note: Some citrus oils, like lemon, also have strong bug repellent properties, but are also considered “phototoxic”, meaning that the skin could damage or burn easily if those oils are applied to the skin and then exposed to any source of ultraviolet (UV) light. In the case of phototoxicity, it depends on the type of oil and how the essential oil has been processed as to whether the oil could cause a phototoxic reaction. Because of this, it is advised to use caution when adding citrus oils to your bug balms and sprays, even though they are strong repellents. If you do add citrus oils to your bug repellents, you should always keep your skin completely covered to avoid UV exposure.

Natural bug repellents are not going to be 100% bugproof, nor are they going to last all day. Rather than spraying yourself once with a commercial DEET-based repellent, you may need to reapply the repellent, depending on how much time you spend outside and how many pests you have in your vicinity. The benefit is that you will avoid exposing your skin and respiratory system to harsh, toxic chemicals that could harm your body. You also gain the benefit of smelling fresh and herby, rather than smelling like bug spray all day. When possible, use standard biting insect precautions, like wearing long sleeves, pants, socks, and shoes, as well as avoiding the times when insects like mosquitoes are most active (dusk to dawn).

Recipe Ingredients – Delicious Obsessions Trusted Product Recommendations

I am always asked about my favorite brands, so I want to share with you the places I get my ingredients.

For more information about the essential oils I use for myself and my family, click here.

My affiliate partner, Vitacost, has really good prices on some of the ingredients in this recipe. If you sign up through this link, you’ll get a coupon for $10 off your first purchase from Vitacost, and when your order ships, I’ll get a $10 off coupon for referring you. The cool thing about this program is that you can then refer your family and friends through your own link and YOU can get the $10 coupons too! 🙂

Thrive Market is another exceptional online grocery store. They are like Costco and Whole Foods combined in an online format. They have great pricing on all sorts of natural and organic foods. If you sign up through this link, you will get 15% OFF your first order and I will get a coupon for referring you.

Amazon, of course, has everything you need for this recipe. Their prices are often very good, though I love to shop around and sometimes find that Vitacost and Thrive Market have better deals. If you like saving money, it’s good to shop around! 🙂

In addition, my affiliate partner, Tropical Traditions, is where I get all of my coconut products from and if you make a purchase from them through any of my links, you will receive a free copy of their Virgin Coconut Oil book, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you.

I buy all of my cosmetic butters, waxes, and cosmetic clays from Mountain Rose Herbs (an affiliate partner). Their quality is outstanding and while I may try other brands every once in awhile, I keep coming back to them.

Sources:

Learn more about skin care from my videos!

Since I am a fanatic about keeping my skin and body care non-toxic, I get a lot of questions about what my routine is and what products I use. I created this video to discuss all of that and more. The video below that features a lot of the hair care products that I use, including henna and my favorite clean shampoo.

Paid Endorsement Disclosure: Delicious Obsessions is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to AMAZON.COM. This post may contain affiliate links and/or ads. We only recommend products or services that we have personally tried and love. When you make a purchase through any of these links, we earn a small commission on each sale, which allows us to cover a portion of the cost of this site. This has no effect on your sale price and is simply a cost of doing business for the company you are purchasing from. All funds received help with the continued maintenance of this website and free content. You can view it like leaving a tip. Thank you! Read our full terms and conditions here.



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About Jessica Espinoza

Jessica is a real food wellness educator and the founder of the Delicious Obsessions website. She has had a life-long passion for food and being in the kitchen is where she is the happiest. She began helping her mother cook and bake around the age of three and she's been in the kitchen ever since, including working in a restaurant in her hometown for almost a decade, where she worked every position before finally becoming the lead chef. Jessica started Delicious Obsessions in 2010 as a way to help share her love for food and cooking. Since then, it has grown into a trusted online resource with a vibrant community of people learning to live healthy, happy lives through real food and natural living.

Discussion

17 comments

  1. Oh, boy. This will come in handy in the buggy deep south! All the rain this year has made for quite a mosquito season. Thanks!

    reply 

    Anne
    Posted 08/28/12

  2. Great recipe!

    reply 
  3. Are there different combinations that work better than others? Also, I have always been told that citronella and lemongrass are the same thing……

    reply 

    Emily Blanchard
    Posted 06/07/13

    • Hi Emily – Any of the essential oils listed above work well. You can experiment to find a scent combo that you like. Some people can’t stand the smell of certain essential oils, so this allows you to experiment with s combo that you like best!

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 06/07/13

  4. How long is this good? Will it keep until next summer, or do I toss it in the fall and make more next year?
    Thanks!

    reply 

    mbw
    Posted 07/03/13

    • Hi there — It should keep for quite awhile. I am still using on a batch that I made last year and it’s fine. If you want, you can always cut the recipe in half and just make a smaller amount each time. Enjoy!

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 07/05/13

  5. Hi Jessica, I love this and can’t wait to try it. I was wondering, if I were to add more beeswax, could it me used as a candle or is the coconut oil content too high? Just wondering as I would like to have something for my patio during summer evening gatherings 🙂

    reply 

    Deidra
    Posted 04/22/14

    • Hi Deidra – That is a great question and I am not sure the answer. I’ve never tried it, but will put it on my list to try this summer out of curiosity! If nothing else, you could find a super basic homemade candle recipe online and then add in the essential oils that I use in the recipe above. 🙂

      reply 

      Jessica Espinoza
      Posted 04/22/14

  6. Do you have a recipe for SUNSCREEN? that doesn’t smell, or burn the eyes or look white and is GREASY? I hard if not impossible thing to find. I tried zinc oxide last summer, but it was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO greasy, I couldn’t tolerate it, nor could my clothes or car seat, and I didn’t slather it on. I went sparingly!
    Sigh!
    Kate

    reply 

    Kate
    Posted 05/07/14

  7. Is this safe for little children? If not what essential blend would be?

    reply 

    Laura
    Posted 06/16/15

    • Hi Laura – I am not yet well versed in what oils are safe for kids (I don’t have kids yet, so I’ve never had a need to research it). I am currently expanding my EO knowledge in that area, but in the interim, I’m sure you could find some information online too! I do know that you must use extreme caution when applying EOs to children and babies, so my gut feeling is that some of the essential oils used in this recipe may not be suitable for children.

      reply 

      Jessica Espinoza
      Posted 06/16/15

  8. Hi Jessica, I love your site. Are the oils in this recipe diluted enough to be safe for babies? thanks.

    reply 

    Jackie
    Posted 06/16/15

    • Hi Jackie – Thanks! Since I don’t have kids, I am not yet well versed in what oils are safe for them. I’ve never had a need to research it, but I am currently expanding my EO knowledge in that area. In the interim, I’m sure you could find some information online regarding which oils are safe for babies, but I do know that you have use extreme caution when applying EOs to babies. My gut feeling is that this recipe may not be suitable for babies.

      reply 

      Jessica Espinoza
      Posted 06/16/15

  9. Hi Jessica how much water do you use?

    reply 

    Awilda
    Posted 02/01/16

    • Hi Awilda! Are you referring to the water in the double boiler? If so, it will depend on the size of your pot and bowl insert. You want the water to be just a little below the bottom of the insert. Hope that helps!

      reply 

      Jessica Espinoza
      Posted 02/03/16

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