Healthy and Effective DIY Bug Spray

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Bugs are a reality of suburban life and the cottage culture of our part of the country.  Unfortunately, most commercial bug repellant products contain an ingredient called DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide). Although the research is mixed on DEET, most experts agree that it’s not good for us and should be used carefully and sporadically, if at all.


More natural alternatives eliminate the risk of any side effects and can actually have some great benefits to the skin. This particular bug spray recipe helps kill bacteria and nourish the skin at the same time.

Have fun fiddling with the blend of oils and let me know the blend that works best for you!

Homemade Bug Spray Recipe

8 oz. spray bottle

¼ cup clean water (distilled or reverse osmosis)

½ cup witch hazel

50 drops of essential oils (you choose - see the list below)

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

1.  Mix all ingredients in the spray bottle

2.  Spray anywhere you get bitten but AVOID eyes and mouth.

Which Essentail Oils?

A quick internet search will supply dozens of essential oils to use in bug repellant.  The most common essential oils you will find are:

  • lemon or lemon eucalyptus (use 10-15 drops of the first of these 3 oils)
  • lavender
  • eucalyptus
  • rosemary
  • citronella
  • thyme

Other essential oils:

  • peppermint
  • tea tree
  • catnip
  • neem
  • cinammon
  • sage
  • clove

The oils you choose will depend on the scent you prefer and the effectiveness of your blend.  Keep a record of each batch of bug spray you make so you can compare effectiveness and decide which is the best blend for your family.


Dr. Shawna Dingman

Dr. Shawna Dingman

HI! I'm Dr. Shawna Dingman and I am the co-owner of Elevate Health Centres with my husband, Dr. Craig Dingman.  I operate Elevate Women's Health Centre in Sunderland, where our family lives.

Speaking of family, I'm a mom of 3 amazing kids: Jackson, Jenna and Cole.  I've always been passionate about the care of women and children, probably because I began my career as a pediatric and pregnancy chiropractor as a young mom with an infant!  Aside from clinical practice, I also co-host a podcast for women chiropractors and coach women chiropractors who want to have practices that are a great fit for their families.  In my "spare" time, I love to cottage with my family, hang out with the kids, read a book, catch a great show on Netflix, go for a run or have coffee with friends.