Warm weather often sparks a desire to be close to nature. Unfortunately, that desire can come back to bite us - literally. Bug spray can be an essential in the spring and summer months if you hope to do less scratching and more exploring. This blend of essential oils with an avocado-oil base provides an opportunity to try a natural, DIY bug spray.
DIY Avocado Oil Extraction
Essential oil blends often require a carrier oil: an oil that dilutes the other oils mixed into it. Avocado oil is among the most commonly used carrier oils as it is easily absorbed into skin.
To extract avocado oil, begin by slicing three avocados and removing the skin and pit. Mash the green pulp of the avocado with a mortar or food processor.
Three avocados will yield approximately 37.5 ml of oil: a bit over 2.5 T. For larger quantities, gather your green guts, keeping in mind that a single avocado will produce roughly 12.5 ml of oil. Spread the avocado mash on a baking pan in thin layers and place in an oven at 155°F for 5 hours. This will dry out the pulp and prepare it for oil extraction.
When the pulp is brown, but not black, remove it from the oven. Use a cloth to wring the dried pulp over a bowl to catch the avocado oil. Strain and restrain until there are no avocado chunks in the mixture. Once smooth, your avocado oil is ready to combine with essential oils.
Combine with Fragrant Essential Oils
Essential oils are oils extracted from a single herb or flower that may carry purposeful perks. Those with bug-busting benefits generally include citronella, lemongrass, patchouli, and lavender.
Depending on the insect you hope to avoid, some oils are more effective than others. Lemon, eucalyptus, and rosemary are among those that tend to target mosquitos specifically, while cedarwood oil works well against fleas and ticks. Choose the bugs you want to send flying and the oils that correspond.
Combine 20 total drops of essential oils with approximately 30 ml of DIY avocado oil (2T). How much of each oil you choose to incorporate is up to you, so long as you maintain this ratio. Stir and enjoy trying this new, natural approach to bug spray.
You may wish to apply a few dabs of your blend to your skin to test whether you have adverse reactions to any of the ingredients. A good practice is to apply the DIY avocado oil to skin first to verify that no reactions occur to this ingredient alone. Many advise against the direct application of essential oils to skin in the absence of a carrier oil.
When applying the insect repellent mixture, avoid the mouth, eyes, and open wounds, as essential oils can cause these areas to burn. If all goes well, set out on your natural adventure and reapply as needed.
For more DIY avocado projects, visit the Avocados from Mexico blog.