Essential Oils for the Great Outdoors


Aw spring, a time of bright sunshine, warm breezes, flowers, hiking and – zzzzz –



It’s that time of year again.

We spend all winter awaiting spring with rose-colored glasses on, pining after warmer weather while forgetting those relentless invaders that bite, buzz, and march through these sunny days.

Not to mention, have you ever looked at a can of bug spray? Have you read those ingredients? On average, bug sprays contain Deet, a chemical developed by the U.S. military in the 1940s. While this ingredient is quite adequate, it has many unwanted side-effects, most mild (skin or eye irritation), but some scary (seizures and other neurological issues).

There’s got to be healthier options without the potential cost to our health!

Hey, Bugs – Buzz-Off!

With summer fast approaching, we curated a list of essential oils that are ideal for outdoor adventures and alternative deterrents to nature’s most-annoying side-kick.

Arborvitae Essential Oil

In Latin, arborvitae means ‘tree of life,’ which is a beautiful concept. But to us, arborvitae means BUG DETERRENT. Diffusing arborvitae in your home as well as wearing it on your clothing or skin (with a carrier oil) is a useful, healthier surrogate to most bug sprays on the market. Plus, arborvitae is derived from arborvitae trees — so along with its insect-repelling properties, you have the opportunity to smell like mother nature!

Lemon Essential Oil

Combined with a carrier oil (jojoba, coconut, almond, etc.), lemon essential oil is effective at keeping creepy critters away. This oil also blends well with other oils, giving it an added bonus of smelling great and having a plethora of uses.

Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Lemon eucalyptus is the most popular kind of eucalyptus for bug repellant and has been a favorite, healthier alternative to Deet since the 1940s. Eucalyptus oil is approved by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as an active ingredient in mosquito repellent.

Other effective essential oils used for deterring bugs:

  • Lavender
  • Catnip
  • Basil
  • Vetiver
  • Neem
  • Tea Tree
  • Lemongrass
  • Peppermint
  • Cedar
  • Geranium
  • Citronella
  • Rosemary

One recommendation: scan yourself with your iTOVi scanner and see which options pop-up! That way you can get a completely personalized options for these recipes, below.

Bug Spray Recipes

Homemade bug spray is pretty simple to make. Start by combining the oils above with the following ingredients:  

  • 1/2 tsp Vegetable Glycerin
  • 1/2 bottle of distilled or boiled water.
  • We recommend using an 8oz amber bottle rather than plastic.
    • Amber glass will protect the essential oils from UV light and tends to hold up better with citrus essential oils than plastic.
  • Witch’s Hazel (fill almost to the top)
  • 30-50 drops of essential oils of your choice.

The following essential oil combinations are some of our favorites.

Blend 1

  • 25 drops of Peppermint
  • 25 drops of Lavender

Blend 2

  • 10 drops of Basil
  • 10 drops of Lemon Eucalyptus
  • 10 drops of Vetiver

Blend 3

  • 10 drops of Lemongrass
  • 5 drops Tea Tree
  • 5 drops of Basil
  • 10 drops of Lemon Eucalyptus

Blend 4

This last recipe comes from Wellness Mama.

  • 30 drops Geranium
  • 30 drops Citronella
  • 20 drops Lemon Eucalyptus
  • 20 drops Lavender
  • 10 drops Rosemary
  • 1 TBSP vodka or rubbing alcohol
  • ½ cup natural witch hazel
  • ½ cup water (or vinegar)

Now, Get Out and Go!

Now that you’re all prepped to battle the buggy elements, get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather! We’ll be sure to keep you posted on more tips, tricks, and techniques you can use for this balmy season.

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