In the perpetual hot and humid climate in Thailand, mosquitoes are active all year long. DEET products contain chemicals that many believe are harmful to humans as well as other species. Fortunately, many essential oils act as natural mosquito repellents and, importantly, they are safe for both pregnant women and young children.
To avoid exposure to toxic chemicals and to stay safe from mosquito bites, there are some pure essential oils that you can apply instead of store-bought sprays or lotions. In addition to their bug-repellent properties, they offer numerous health benefits. Additionally, they are all readily available in Bangkok, as they can be found at markets such as Chatuchak Weekend Market or at local retailers such as Siam Botanicals and Novessence.
DIY Mosquito Repellent
To get started, we focus on lemongrass, rosemary, lavender, geranium, cinnamon, and tea tree. Get a clean glass spray bottle, and add 25 to 30 drops of these essential oils (any combination will work), depending on your preference. Then shake to mix. Next, put in half a cup of witch hazel (also available from Siam Botanicals or from Lazada) and shake again, adding half a cup of distilled water.
Tips on Using Your Homemade Mosquito Repellent
- Shake well before each use as the water and oil may separate over time.
- Avoid spraying on face, eyes, mouth and other sensitive areas.
- For young kids, spray the mixture on their clothing or gear (instead of directly on their skin).
If you have leftover oils, you can use them for their additional healing properties, as listed below.
- Lemongrass oil
- Stimulates blood circulation and lowers blood pressure
- Prevents the growth of fungus and bacteria
- Helps reduce pain and inflammation
- Relieves diarrhea and flatulence
- Rosemary oil
- Relieves bloating, flatulence, cramps, and constipation
- Helps remove oral bacteria and reduce bad breath
- Strengthens the immune system
- Stimulates mental activity
- Lavender oil
- Alleviates anxiety and depression, including postpartum depression
- Improves mood and reduces stress
- Promotes healthy hair and skin
- Relieves headaches
- Geranium oil
- Promotes the removal of toxins from the body, including urine from the bladder, and acids and bile from the liver
- Helps blend skin discolorations (caused by acne scars, stretchmarks, surgeries, etc.)
- Accelerates the wound healing process
- Helps relieve muscle aches and pains
- Cinnamon oil
- Alleviates the symptoms of sore throat, congestion, and influenza
- Provides relief from muscles stiffness and joint pain
- Promotes oral hygiene
- Boosts brain activity
- Tea tree oil
- Disinfects minor cuts and scrapes
- Helps destroy head lice
- Soothes inflamed skin
- Controls body odor
The safest way to use these oils is to diffuse them into the air with a steam diffuser in a particular room. Just be sure that you leave enough time for the oil’s scent to dissipate before allowing your children into the space. In some cases, the oil can be applied topically to the skin in tiny amounts, or in some specific cases even consumed (please consult the brand and label first!).