With every season change, comes the blood sucking mosquitoes! I don’t know about you, but I literally hate them!
I’ve never had to face a problem with mosquitoes, till I moved to Kanpur in 2015! In Varanasi, Mussoorie, Pune, Bangalore, Guwahati – never in my life have I faced all this much trouble with mosquitoes!
With my baby being born here, in Kanpur I was all the more flummoxed as to how to get rid of mosquitoes naturally as I didn’t want any kind of chemicals near him!
And before you mouth mosquito patches, mosquito roll-ons and mosquito mats – let me tell you they are drenched in harmful DEET chemicals. And this is not me saying this! It’s the EWG – Environmental Working Group! When will we have something like this in India!
Coming to the newest fad on the block “natural and herbal repellents”. Here’s the low down on them!
Yes, some of them are good, and I will mention the ones I have found to be the safest. Majority of the brands, including MamaEarth – have been using a very underhand technique in my opinion! I am not instigating that MamaEarth has all bad ingredients (in fact their products are rated better than most brands on EWG) but I would only be comfortable using their products when they disclose their entire ingredients list!
Instead of stating all the ingredients – many companies are using a new phrase “Key ingredients” to list the safe and natural ingredients – which catches a parent’s eye! As a concerned parent who is shelling out a bombshell for natural and organic and safe products – don’t I have the right to know all what goes into this product?
And this trend is not limited to only one brand. I have seen many, many brands starting to use this strategy! Did you know that for a product to be labelled “organic” only 70% of the ingredients have to be certified organic? What about the rest of the 30%?
The most harmful chemicals have been found in the casually slipped in “fragrance”. The problem with fragrance is that companies use it as a catch phrase for whatever “secret ingredients” companies want to add to baby and personal care products.
The fun part? They are even not obligated to tell us paying customers what’s contained within this ‘fragrance’. Majority of the times it’s usually made up of coal and petroleum-derived synthetic chemicals.
And the icing on the cake? Although law compels companies to list the ingredients under the fair packaging and labeling act, they are many work-arounds to this by protecting them under the garb of “trade secrets.”
With companies being downright deceptive when it comes to what they are putting in their products, I chose to rely only on homemade mosquito repellents.
If you are skeptical, like I was when I began exploring natural ways to repel bugs, read this:
A study conducted in 1995 at the Malaria Research Centre in Hardwar found that neem oil was an excellent mosquito repellent!
A mixture of 2% neem oil mixed in coconut oil when applied to the skin provided good protection from various mosquitoes. Neem oil was 96-100% effective against anophelines (the ones that cause malaria), 85% for Aedes ( the one that carries dengue fever) and 61-94% for Culex spp. (known to carry West Nile virus)
So mommies, what are you waiting for? Dig out your essential oils and a bottle sprayer and make your own mosquito repellents! Here are some natural mosquito repellents that you can try:
Neem Oil : This is potent stuff! Dilute neem oil with coconut oil, in ratio 1:50 and apply on your skin to repel mosquitoes.
Mosquito Net: Yes, it’s not a repellent in that sense, but I will still not it down, because well – there’s nothing better that keeps them from biting you.
Garlic: Mosquitoes cannot stand the smell of garlic. Crush some and place around your home.
Cintronella: Citronella has been used as mosquito repellent is many ways. Some people plant shrubs of this plant around their home or in pots on their balconies. It’s concentrated citronella essential oil is also used to make bug sprays. Add a few drops to a bottle of water and spray away!
Lemongrass: Lemongrass is also a plant used to keep bugs away. Many DIY and homemade bug recipes have Lemongrass essential oil.
Vanilla Extract or Vanilla Essence: Vanilla extract are not just helpful in whipping up desserts and ice creams, they are also a very good mosquito repellent! Apply a few drops to your pulse points and keep mosquitoes away!
Camphor: Again, the smell of camphor repels mosquitoes! In a small bowl, fill water and put a camphor tablet in it. Keep around your room in a couple of places and watch the bugs fly away!
Please Note: There is a lot of debate on essential oil safety for babies and kids so never apply on their skin in pure form. Ingesting essential oils can be harmful for babies and kids, so keep all bottles well out of reach. Always research carefully and dilute essential oils before using, diffusing or for making creams or lotions for babies.
I use a lot of essential oils diluted in a spray bottle around the house. Have many recipes, will update them soon!
How are you keeping mosquitoes away this season? Which products do you consider safe for your kids?