Bug spray seems like a waste of money to me. Why? Because when you get the bug spray that doesn't have 5000 chemicals (like DEET and all that), you end up paying a lot of money for something that is mostly water and an alcohol-like substance (such as witch hazel). My favorite bug spray to purchase is California Baby Bug Repellant; however, it's over $15 for a 6.5 ounce bottle. Time to find a homemade version! Everything needed to make this bug spray is stuff that we already have around the house...but if you're new to the whole DIY cleaning/body/household products thing, you might not have these in your arsenal yet. GET THEM. You'll use them for a million different things.
What do you need?
This! Okay, well not ALL of this...but these are the oils I had.
Essential oil(s)*: tea tree, citronella, clove, lemongrass, rosemary, cajeput, eucalyptus, cedarwood, catnip, lavender, and mint.
* You don't need all of these--you can use just one or use all of them, it doesn't matter. Make it so you like the smell of it. For mosquitoes, citronella and lemongrass are the superpowers (though all of them work). If you have ticks in your area, make sure you throw in the cedarwood and tea tree oil.
Distilled water (or boiled water that has cooled)
Jar (w/lid) for mixing
Funnel (makes things a LOT easier)
Fill your jar up halfway with distilled (or boiled) water and the rest of the way with witch hazel (this picture is an old peanut butter jar, so it's about 9 ounces, give or take). Put in 30-50 drops of whatever essential oil(s) you've chosen. The more oil, the stronger the scent and the better it works.
Now, put the lid on and do your shaking dance! Shake it until the oil is well-integrated (it will look cloudy like this instead of the previously clear liquid). The only thing left is to put it in bottles!
Use a funnel to put it in a bunch of small bottles, a larger bottle, whatever you have with a pump on it. Trust me, the funnel makes it easier. I put it in four small bottles so I can send one with JR to work, keep one at home, one in the car, and one in the diaper bag. The finished product looks like this:
I can't do a complete cost breakdown on this one, because I don't remember how much some of my oils cost (some of the oils are a little pricey, but most of them are in the $7-15 range). The witch hazel was $4 for the bottle, and the amount I used was less than a quarter of the bottle. I used old Garnier shine spray bottles (I don't use product any more...you can see what I use HERE), so that was essentially free. Out of the oils I used this time (citronella, cedarwood, tea tree, lavender, eucalyptus), it was probably a total of about $0.50 worth. So...I guess we can say that 10 ounces of this bug spray was about $1.50.
A little better than the $15 for the other organic stuff, eh?