Monday, July 9, 2012

Adventures in Tea Tree Oil Mosquito Repellent

A while back, I attempted to use tea tree oil as a mosquito repellent after seeing a few sites that listed it for that purpose.  I mixed pharmaceutical strength tea tree oil with aloe vera gel, which is listed as a good carrier oil.  It smelled wonderful!

I rubbed the mixture all over my skin, eager to test it out.  The mosquitoes are pretty voracious in Minnesota during June and July, so I knew it'd be a good time to test it.  I even waited until the early evening, in order to achieve maximum results.

For the first few minutes, the tea tree oil worked very well.  The mosquitoes hovered, but they didn't land.

But then the aloe vera dried.

Once that happened, the tea tree oil lost its pungency, at which point...



I came back inside with a nice, large collection of mosquito bites, and spent the night itching like crazy!

You would think that I'd have given up on tea tree oil after such a failure, but I can be a bit stubborn.  In this case, I believe the problem had to do with my aloe vera carrier.  The mosquitoes hovered, but didn't attack until after the mixture had dried.

If I used a carrier that didn't dry out so fast, though...

Who knows?  Maybe it'll work.

Next, I think I'll try coconut oil as my carrier.  It doesn't dry quickly like the aloe does, so maybe it'll work.  Plus, coconut oil has the benefit of not clogging pores like other oils do.  It's a fabulous moisturizer!

Until I finally build a fountain to attract more dragonflies, Mosquito repellent is my only real option.  I swear by tea tree oil for just about every other problem that occurs, so why not as a repellent?

Wish me luck!!!
(I think I'll need it!)

15 comments:

  1. Ah, now I understand your interest in gnats. At least I don't itch after a bout with the gnats. I used to live in Houston and the mosquitoes were bad, but the fire ants were worse. Their bites itched like crazy for a week. Anyway, I hope you find an effective, human-friendly mosquito repellent.

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    1. Fire ants are one thing that I've been free of since moving up here. They were horrid in the desert southwest, but I've yet to come across any in this area. I feel your pain! I'll take mosquitoes over fire ants *any* day!
      And thanks for the well wishes on the mosquito repellent!

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  2. let us know when you find the right solution.. good luck

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  3. I found an all natural mosquito repellent that seems to work..contains peppermint oil vegetable oil citronells and cedar oil...100%natural seems effective so far think the cedar is most effective

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  4. I never even *considered* looking at cedar oil. I like this idea!!! Thanks for the heads-up!

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  5. So what did you finally end up doing that worked? We just moved to a place where mosquitoes are rampant in the summer.

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  6. Unfortunately, it's still a work in progress. I got a bit lazy after a woman at the farmers market sold me her own personal repellent blend... which was awesome, but, a secret recipe, of course.

    Great timing, by the way, because I just moved within view of a river's edge a couple of days ago, so I'll get right back onto it! What I *do* know for certain is that she used witch hazel as a carrier.

    I'll get some witch hazel, then I'll get right to it. Where there's a will there's a way, right?

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  7. Rebecca, how are you trials and errors going? Found a sure fire repellent?

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  8. Ahahaha! I'm afraid not. I *have learned that witch hazel is the best choice for carrier oil, and that vanillin (fake vanilla) is an important ingredient. Evidently, mosquitoes don't like it very much, so it adds to the power of the overall mixture. As soon as I get some lemongrass oil, I plan to try that as the main ingredient, as well. From what I've read, and from cross-referencing, that seems to be the most valid option. Things are a bit crazy in my neck of the woods right now, so it'll be a while before I have a chance to try it, but as soon as I can, I will.

    P.S. I'm still giggling about your choice of words - "Fire repellent" is a pretty good description of the feeling that comes with those darned bites!!!

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  9. How is the trials by fire going? Have you found a natural repellent that works for a while? I am anxious in finding out since I live in MO and am going to visit friends in GA soon. Also, I am tired of being "drained' by those huge flying vampires every time I go outside.

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  10. Sadly, the craziness I mentioned became crazy enough that I ended up in a completely different - but wonderful - state. Why is this sad? Because I need a new testing ground for mosquito repellent. My new place is joyously mosquito free. So far...

    So it's great for me... but not so great for mosquito repellent testing!

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  11. Ok... I just saw something about using it in a spray bottle... Of tea tree oil.. Dawn dish soap, water, and lavender...i live in Arkansas in the mountains... And will giving it a try..

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  12. Catnip oil has been shown to be up to 4x as effective as DEET. I have read that the canadian catnip oil is the best!

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  13. Have you tried it yet? Mosquitoes seemed to enjoy hovering above my catnip plants, so I'm a bit skeptical... but if this is correct it'd be AWESOME! Let us know how it goes if you try it.

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