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Essential oils are used as a natural insect repellent. Mixing 20 to 100 drops of an essential oil with water or a carrier oil in a 1-oz. spray bottle will create an effective, all-natural insect repellent that does not contain the potentially harmful diethyl-meta-toluamide, or DEET. Certain essential oils are better than others at keeping away deer flies.
Eucalyptus oil, approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an insect repellent, is used to ease muscle aches and soreness and relieve congestion. In addition to its qualities as an deer-fly repellent, eucalyptus oil is antiseptic and also good for removing residue left behind from adhesives. When combined with citronella and peppermint oils, it makes a pleasant-smelling concoction that keeps pesky deer flies at bay.
In addition to driving your cat up the wall, catnip oil is also an effective insect repellent. It contains nepetalactone, which has been found to be 10 times stronger than DEET. Catnip oil is an herb in the mint family and is both commercially grown and found growing wild. Folk medicine uses include making tea from the leaves to ease cramps, reduce fevers, soothe colds and relieve migraine pain. Catnip oil is also used a meat tenderizer and in the making of some yellow dyes.
Citronella oil has been used for 50 years as an nontoxic insect repellent that is safe for humans, animals and the planet. While the oil is nontoxic, some skin irritation may occur. It is commonly used in soaps, lotions, perfumes and candles. Citronella oil is extracted from dried grasses and can be combined with eucalyptus oil and peppermint oil or with lavender, lemongrass and tea tree oils to make a natural insect repellent.
Lavender oil, in addition to being very calming, is used in conjunction with other oils to make a fragrant and powerful insect repellent. Lavender oil is also used on burns and to ease headache pain, muscle aches and soreness. It is also used to relieve sinus pain. When combined with citronella oil, lemongrass oil and tea tree oil, it is effective at keeping deer flies away.
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