47 responses to “natural insect repellents- outdoor challenge”

  1. Wasp Catcher

    What a stylish way to repel insects! Sometimes it’s really hard to get kids to wear repellent, but if you make it a part of their outfit, how can they say no?!

  2. Raquel

    a truly inspired site, in my quest to return to nature, and provide a safe and imaginative environment for my children, i love your creative work, and have myself used some of the herbal and natural remedies you list here – and during a particularly endemic bug infestation which set in during renovations when the house was empty, i can attest that these remedies do work! fleas, ants and even mozzies during the hight of a humid australian summer have not touched our children (9months, 7,11, and 14) and are safe for all the kids.

  3. damhaza

    i would definitly try this! thanks for the tips :)

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  5. Annie

    Oh my gosh! Thanks for this Lisa. Can’t wait to try this when I go to my cabin next month!

  6. Pumpkinbear

    I use vinegar for everything else in my life, it seems, so the natural next step is to try out that natural bugspray business. How fun!

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  8. Ashley

    I feel the same way about using DEET on my little ones. I’m always looking for safer products to use on my children so I was pleased when I discovered Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. The Environmental Protection Agency and Center for Disease Control and Prevention Agency both recommend OLE as the only plant based active ingredient for insect repellent. It is proven to work as well as DEET but without all the harmful effects. Cutter and Repel both make an Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus product that is sold at Target and most local sporting goods stores. Give it a try and see how it works for you.
    P.S I love your idea about the cloth strips, I will have to try that.

  9. Tamra

    I’ve been away on vacay and am getting back to catching up on my blog posts… love this one about bug repellents! Thanks!

  10. Juliet Robertson

    How interesting about the vinegar. Here in Scotland, one pharmaceutical company is experimenting with bog myrtle – a native plant in Scotland. It is whiffy – I often just crush the leaves and rub if I’m walking past some.

    In Scandinavia and Scotland, the process of creating charcoal can also be used to extract pine resin that can be diluted down to make an insect repellent.

    Here in Scotland a traditional torture method for enemies was to strip a person naked and leave them tied to a stake in a bog. The midges – our no-see-um equivalent – would get them. I’ve lived in part of Scotland that are so midgey that the only think that works is midge nets – these are finer than mosquito nets.

  11. min

    Love to participate in the outdoor challenge!

  12. Shady Lady

    I need to bookmark tis post. Lots of good information here!

  13. Dianne

    Thanks so much for sharing… I’m always looking for ways to keep mosquitoes, no see-ums, sand fleas, ticks, etc at bay… We have a LOT of bugs in Florida. Having contracted Lyme from a tick working in the field and having had viral meningitis TWICE, likely from mosquitoes, I don’t get out as much as I would like to anymore, because I hate using DEET. The white vinegar method sounds interesting too…. It’s also great at cooling sunburn. I’m going to tell my daughter about the cloth strip method to use on my grandbabies!

  14. Rana

    This sounds interesting. We will have to try this out.


    Sidenote: I don’t think I could stomach the apple cider vinager. I’ll stick to the cloth bands. :-)

  15. kendra

    i can’t remember where i found this out, but another really great essential oil to use is catnip!

  16. Darcel - The Mahogany Way

    What a great idea! My girls would love to wear the bands in their hand, and around their wrist and neck like your girls.
    Thanks for posting this.

    Here is out post for the outdoor challenge

  17. AG Ambroult

    yeah, we have not had much luck with the store bought natural repellants. Thanks for these tips and recipes. And I love the fabric strip idea!

  18. Olivia

    We usually brave the bugs of summer repellent free! Maybe we’ll try some homemade natural repellent this year!

    Here are our outdoor challenge bubble-blowing photos: http://moomama96.blogspot.com/2010/04/bubble-blowing-babies.html

  19. Becky

    Cool post.
    We had an amazing outdoor adventure yesterday . . . releasing just-hatched mantises into our vegetable garden.

  20. Heather

    We have done the cloth strip method, and it works so well for hiking, camping ,etc. Thank you for all this great info!

  21. Brynn

    What a great thing to make! Thanks for the idea.

  22. renee ~ heirloom seasons

    We used to make our bug spray in a bottle of lavender water. I love the idea of making the cloth strips! Definitely will have to try …
    Happy weekend!

  23. Michelle

    The natural insect repellent is great – black fly season is just around the corner, so we will try your recipe out – thanks for sharing.

    We did some biking for our challenge yesterday:


  24. Valarie

    That is the most beautiful insect repellent idea I’ve ever seen. Thanks so much for sharing. Here’s our link to the Great Outdoor Challenge. Happy Weekend.

  25. Cat Blessed Adventures

    Thank you, We love to do things natural~

  26. Ana

    lisa, this challange is a fantastic idea, and, although I’m too lazy to take photos and put them on my blog daily, I must say that me and my son participate in this challange wholeheartedly.
    Thanks for sharing all those lovely ideas!

  27. Dawn Suzette

    This looks great. I will be making some up for our buggy season! Thanks!

    It was a bit hard to get out the door on our rainy day yesterday… thanks for the inspiration!

  28. Erin

    I love this wearing the cloth idea! So practical … Thanks for the tips :)

  29. Sarah M

    Excellent and adorable way to keep the bugs off! We just use a spray bottle of white vinegar.
    It dries within 10 seconds (so no after-smell!) and works VERY well. I used to be the “bug buffet” of my family and friends (as in, I would have 20 bug bites after an hour…everyone else would have none!) and it’s the only thing I use now!

    I love your outdoor challenge–I just found your blog yesterday, we are outdoors everyday these past few weeks, for hours at a time. My kids have never slept so hard :)
    Today, we’re meeting a friend and her daughter here:

    Sarah M

  30. Indigomumma

    Great idea, thanks for sharing. Here’s our day outside http://www.wherewildstrawberriesgrow.com/uncategorized/the-restaurant-next-door/
    love to all xxx

  31. Ötli

    Adorable way to present repellents !!!

  32. Denise

    Thanks so much for including us in todays post, we are thrilled.
    Great ideas for keeping bugs at bay.
    Have a lovely weekend outside

  33. Our School Time Adventures

    We didn’t do much adventuring outside today…just a simple burrito and rice picnic party.


    We use, “All terrain herbal armor”, for insect repellent. I love the smell of the lemongrass and citronella mixed together. Hey I love the idea of putting the oils on a cloth. I usually just rub them on!


  34. Satakieli

    We’ve been outside all day for the past two days putting together a vegetable garden. My toddler has been helping to pull the weeds!

    Thanks for the insect repellent tips, we’re going to be needing these as it starts to get warmer here in Germany!

  35. Rachel Fee-Prince

    I love the cloth strip idea, as I have become more and more cautious ab/applying essential oils to the skin, even diluted. Another fabulous combo is using yarrow tincture as the base and some neem oil. Even the no-see-ums will leave you be!

  36. Lisa

    That’s brilliant! I wish we had known about that recipe and the cloth strips last week. The mosquitoes were mostly after my son and we decided that it was the ginger cookie scented shampoo he’d used.

  37. Debbie

    No commercial/chemical sprays for us either. We have used the apple cider vinegar like Renee suggested and I find it works. We have SO many mosquitoes in our back yard because it’s so damp. They don’t even wait until night-time they are out all day. Thanks for all this info. We’ve tried some of these; will have to try more. -Debbie

  38. Ginny

    We will definitely try this! Thank you! We have to actually go to wearing those lovely mosquito netting hats in the summer so that we can garden. The deer/black flies are so bad here!
    I am participating in the outdoor challenge today, here is my link:

  39. angelina

    wonderful post lisa!
    thank goodness the bugs are underground slubering here for now!

  40. starsunfower

    What a clever idea! This will work very well for the warm days when long pants and sleeves are not an option. Thank you so much for sharing. :)

  41. Ivy

    I really don’t like using commercial bug spray on my kids, thanks for this tip. We’ve used vanilla extract to keep gnats and mosquitoes away and that has worked fairly well. I know some people have used ambisol (spelling?) too although I don’t know why.

  42. Cara

    Sometimes I think we live in tick and mosquito central, so can’t wait to try this!

    Our submission is up for the day, too…

  43. renee @ FIMBY

    LIsa, have you tried Apple Cider Vinegar (drinking it). This is something we are field testing, or I should say hike testing. There’s a lot of bugs in the maine woods and we’re out there every weekend. We were head nets and long, breathable clothing but we need more! We started this the end of last hiking season and will test it more this year. Basically you drink 1 oz. of acv (or as much as you can stomach) before going out for the day. We dilute ours in water.