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It's been a wet, hot Summer over much of the world, which means the mosquitoes are going to be plentiful, hungry, and ticked off. (Little known fact: all mosquitoes are angry. Always.) So what can we do to protect ourselves from being attacked by swarms of bitter bugs? The easiest thing to do, of course, is stay inside; well-sealed windows and doors do a terrific job keeping out unwanted, blood-sucking guests. However, if you absolutely MUST go outside, you'll need to be prepared with some sort of bug repellent.

When faced with the proposition of being blitzed by a battalion of biting bugs, most people make a beeline to their local store to pick up some OFF Spray, or similar DEET-laden repellent. Store-bought bug sprays are fine, but some people have serious skin reactions to DEET, which if sprayed directly onto plastic can cause it to bubble and warp. Would you want to put that on your skin? If you're like me, and you enjoy rolling your own bug-off juice, here's an effective recipe that I find keeps the mosquitoes away just as well as the name brand stuff.


  1. 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar
  2. 1/3 cup witch hazel (or cheap vodka)
  3. 5 drops of citronella or eucalyptus essential oil
  1. Spray bottle
  2. Funnel

A few minutes


Ok, this is pretty tough, so make sure you follow along closely. I don't want you getting confused.
  1. Using the funnel, pour all the liquid ingredients into the spray bottle.
  2. Shake the bottle to mix the liquids.
Tada! You're now holding a bottle of effective, organic bug repellent. You can also spray your DIY repellent around areas that you'd rather not have bugs, such as the picnic table or your dog's head. Unlike the store-bought sprays, this stuff isn't water-proof (or sweat-proof, for that matter), so you'll need to reapply as necessary. Unfortunately, it won't keep ticks at bay, so you might have to use the DEET version if you're going to be traipsing into the deep woods. However, if you're just looking for a little extra protection during your next barbecue, this might be right up your alley.

[via DIY Network ]

  • mary

    What a great idea, I can not wait to try it I hate those smelly repellents from the store and most make me break out.

  • Dean

    This is the worst Martini I've ever tasted -- but it does keep the mosquitoes away.

  • GW

    I don't want to smell like a pickle. ;) I prefer to stick with the DEET, myself. I will pass your tip along to those who can't use DEET, though. There is a new powder form of Off! available now, I hear. Just heard that tonight.

  • Leonard Barnes

    Let's see, witch hazel or vodka, vodka or witch hazel?????

  • Leonard Barnes

    Really great idea, will have to try this

  • kaj

    We are at the peak of a strong mosquito season here in south Florida and your tip inspired us to give this formula a tryout in our backyard this evening. I can report that it works very well. We just spritz it on from time to time (same as we would do with one of the chemical "majors") and really feel a lot better about doing organic in the process. We probably should all make more effort to support simple organic solutions wherever possible.

    Thumbs up! - and the new site looks beautiful.

  • marek

    I suggest that when you drink the rest of the vodka, you wont be bothered by any mosquito.

  • Jason_w

    Sounds good to me...

  • D. Carr

    I'm going to try this. I don't like the idea of using deet all the time. We have a mosquito eater, candles, coils, etc. and we still have mosquitos. We're also in the process of butting up bat boxes.

  • mary

    what a great idea, Im going to try it

  • Joe K

    I have a friend who has a mosqito misting system. It costs thousands of dollars. I'm wondering if I couldn't mix this and push it through a misting hose like I can buy at Lowe's and accomplish the same thing for much less money.

  • 11 Comments / 1 Pages

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