With the onset of monsoons, insects and pests have made a comeback. Whatever you do to clean your house, however regular you are, you will still find some insects or pest lounging in your abode. It is that time of the year, and there is only so much you can do about it.
There are many types of insect sprays, bug repellents, liquids, chalks and powders available in the market to deal with the crawlies. However, all these come with the warning of being poisonous and hazardous. And if you, like me, have small children and pets in your home, you are not going to want to bring in a chemical repellent that so clearly mentions poison. Too many accidents have been reported across our country due to mishandling of these kinds of insecticides, and more often than not, kids and pets are the unsuspecting victims.
So how to avoid this and deal with pests and insects at home? Worry not because we are here to bring you a few insect repellents that can be easily made at home. These DIY repellents are made from everyday household items found in your kitchen, man-made or natural, but all of them completely non-hazardous. These items are so simple and clean that even if touched by children or licked by pets, it may cause nothing more than a mild irritation. And yet, these repellents are a sure shot defence against the pests and insects in your house.
One point to remember is that many of these homemade insect repellents require the use of various essential oils, which you may need to buy separately.
Lemon Eucalyptus oil repellents
One of the safest, easiest and best-smelling insect repellents is a mix of lemon eucalyptus essential oil with another commonplace oil. Mix one-part lemon eucalyptus essential oil with 10-parts sunflower, almond or neem oil and shake it well in a spray bottle. Spray it on your balcony railings, curtains, doormats, corners of your house or even on your clothes and body.
The strong, sharp odour of eucalyptus oil is so effective in killing insects and keeping them away that it is actually used in farms and orchards to protect crops and fruits. The lemon will keep the smell fresh, and all you need to do is regularly spray a bit around. This combination is perfect for keeping mosquitoes, ants, cockroaches, and bugs like aphids, whiteflies, earwigs and mites away.
In most cases, the strong smell of eucalyptus helps keep pets away so that accidents are avoided, but even then, if a pet or a child comes in contact with eucalyptus, it is quite safe.
Spraying diluted mouthwash on yourself in another way to protect yourself from mosquitoes. If you are out of all the ingredients needed to prepare a DIY insect repellent, simply mix your mouthwash with equal amounts of water and spray on your clothes, curtains, corners of your house etc. to ward off mosquitoes.
Most mouthwashes contain the essence of eucalyptus, which puts out a strong odour that repels mosquitoes and other insects. However, there are claims that this is effective for a very short period.
Your kitchen cabinet is a treasure trove of essential supplies. All you need to know is what to use and how. Did you know that you can make a super-effective bug repellent from your kitchen spice cabinet, without actually buying anything new?
All you need are rubbing alcohol, a combination of herbs like peppermint, lavender, catnip or spearmint, cloves and water. Boil the water, cloves and herbs to a full bubble. Let it cool, strain the herbs and add the rubbing alcohol to it. Store it in a spray bottle.
Spraying them at all the possible locations of insect entry, like doorways, balconies, windows, outlets, drains and pipes can help keep the insects at bay. The pungently sharp odour of the combination herbs and the antibacterial properties of the rubbing alcohol will repel all types of crawlies and keep your house safe.
Peppermint and Vanilla mix
A problem with chemical insect repellents is also the odour that is left behind after the spraying is done. It is not only bad, but too much exposure can cause quite critical health issues. Therefore, homemade insect repellents are considered better than the chemical ones.
Imagine that you want to rid your house of bugs and insects and you get a DIY repellent that not only effectively kills insects and pests but also leaves your home smelling heavenly. This super-effective peppermint-vanilla mix bug repellent is an ideal solution for your pest problems with the advantage of a pleasant fresh odour. The only condition is that you need to prepare this concoction in advance for it to be effective.
Mix one cup vodka, one tablespoon vanilla extract, one tablespoon cloves and one tablespoon peppermint extract in a spray bottle and shake it well. Keep it in a cool dark place for a month before use. This repellent works best when it is stored for up to a month. You can strain the cloves if you wish. Make sure to shake the bottle well before each use.
Lemongrass and rosemary essential oil
In olden days, when houses used to be mopped, the woman of the house would add a few drops of lemongrass oil in the water. They used to say that this will cleanse the floor where the family sits to eat and pray. It is a proven fact that lemongrass oil is highly effective in repelling bacteria and fungus, along with all sorts of pests and insects.
According to research, the olfactory senses of mosquitoes and houseflies are quite sensitive, and lemongrass oil contains an active substance which can irritate these pests. So mixing lemongrass oil and rosemary oil with water and spraying them or using it to mop floors can help keep the bugs away.
Lemongrass oil can also be mixed with coconut oil or almond oil to be applied directly on the skin to keep mosquitoes and houseflies at bay. One of the oldest tricks in the book is to wipe surfaces using water and a few drops of lemongrass oil to keep house flies out.
Tip: Buy a braided cord bracelet and dip it in any of the above repellents. Once dried, wear it whenever you go out of the house. It is an excellent way to repel mosquitoes when out of the house.
There are many more items that can be worked around to make a safe and effective insect repellent without relying on the chemical ones. They may need regular checks or renewal, but it is a small price to pay for instead of dealing with hazardous chemicals.