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This DIY Insect Repellent Actually Works (and Smells Good, Too)

A woman is surrounded by bugs as she spays herself with repellent.
encierro/Shutterstock.com

It’s no secret that bug repellent sprays are effective at warding off pests like mosquitos. Unfortunately, they don’t always smell all that great. However, there is an option that’ll keep those bloodsucking insects off of you without making you smell like a chemical factory.

You can make a DIY bug spray out of peppermint essential oil and witch hazel, and there’s even science to back up its efficacy. A study published in Bioresource Technology found that peppermint oil was effective at repelling three different types of mosquitos with efficacies between 82-100%.

There are a few different reasons why it works, though. First, peppermint features menthol, a biocidal compound that will kill mosquitos. Secondly, mosquitos (as well as other common garden pests) are repelled by the very scent of the essential oil making them avoid areas where it’s found, a.k.a. your skin.

Clear Empty Fine Mist Plastic Mini Travel Bottle Set

Take your bug repellent on the go with these travel-sized bottles.

As for making your own repellent, it’s an incredibly simple process. You need a spray bottle, peppermint essential oil, and witch hazel. In the bottle, combine one part of essential oil with 10 parts of witch hazel. If you add 10 drops of peppermint oil, you’ll want the equivalent of 100 drops of witch hazel. Shake it up and take it on the go.

If you’re not a fan of traditional repellents, this DIY option will have you smelling nice and bug-free.

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is an Atlanta-based writer who has written about everything from whether Crisco is a good moisturizer to how to KonMari your space. Her work has appeared in Bustle, My First Apartment, and Make It Grateful. Read Full Bio »
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