Create Freshness and Repel Pests Simultaneously!

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Chances are you’ve heard about the wonderful benefits of essential oils; it may seem everyone is using oils these days. Essential oils are becoming the go-to remedy for everything from stress management to household cleaning. Oil use has becoming increasingly popular over the last three years, and Grand View Research, Inc., predicts that the global essential oil market is expected to reach $11.67 billion by 2022.

What’s the reason for this spike in interest? The growing consumer awareness is the result of widespread support surrounding health benefits of these natural and organic personal care product options. It’s also spurred by the growth of the organic product industry, growth so notable that major manufacturers are working to shift their own offerings from synthetic to natural additives.
Essential oils, also known as volatile oils, are the basic materials of aromatherapy. They are made from fragrant essences found in many plants; these essences are made in special plant cells, often under the surface of leaves, bark or peel. When the plant is crushed in a natural way, the essence and its unique fragrance are released and what is extracted from plants becomes essential oils. Oils that are made with chemical processes are not considered true essential oils.

While essential oils do not cure or treat diseases, they are another effective tool in an arsenal of ways for humans to improve health and wellness. Pure essential oils are very potent and should almost always be diluted with carrier oils such as fractionated coconut oil, jojoba oil, almond oil and grapeseed oil.

When using essential oils for non-topical uses, the carrier needs to be something less oily, so witch hazel and distilled water are excellent ways to dilute the concentrated oils. Essential oil recipes in this form make excellent household cleaners, sanitizers and and pest control products to kill or deter household pests such as ants, lice, bedbugs and bees.

A popular essential oil that will do damage on household invaders without harming human or pet occupants is all-natural peppermint. Rather than using harmful chemicals in and around the home, more and more homeowners are choosing to use peppermint essential oil to rid their abode of crawling and flying visitors.

“All-natural peppermint essential oil is considered all-purpose oil when it comes to combating household pets,” noted wellness advocate Tena Pettis. “Homeowners can add undiluted peppermint oil to cotton balls and leave these balls in the corners of their homes, cabins and RVs to keep bugs and even mice away. Peppermint oil added to witch hazel makes a great spray version of this repellent as well. I highly recommend people be sure to purchase a high-quality brand of oil because these oils are 100 percent true essential oils. Though it’s typically safe to use around pets, cats tend to tolerate and process oils differently, so I encourage cat owners to do some research before using oils in their homes.”

Pettis added that it’s always best to store oils in colored glass bottles instead of clear ones. Oil can be damaged by light and therapeutic benefits will be weakened or lost entirely; colored glass bottles prevent UV light damage. It’s best to store in a cool place; never leave oils in a hot car, window sill or direct sunlight. ■

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Essential Oil Spray Recipes for Home Invaders
With these recipes, general use instructions include sprinkling a thin layer of Epsom salts at the bottom of a four-ounce glass spray bottle. Add ingredients from the recipes below and swirl with the salt to mix. Fill the rest of the bottle with distilled or filtered water or witch hazel. Shake bottle to mix ingredients and shake again before each use.

Natural Ant Repellent
• 30 drops clove
• 30 drops peppermint
• 4 ounces distilled water
Mix essential oils and water in a spray bottle. Shake well and spray anywhere you see ants. Repeat if necessary.

Bed Bug Away Spray
• 5 drops clove
• 5 drops peppermint
• 5 drops lemongrass
• 5 drops frankincense
• 4 ounces distilled water
Spray on mattresses and sheets liberally.

Head Lice Prevention Spray
• 5 drops melaleuca
• 5 drops eucalyptus
• 5 drops rosemary
• 4 ounces distilled water
Spray liberally on hair, backpacks, hats and brushes.

Dust Mite Killing Spray
• 10 drops lemongrass
• 10 drops lavender
• 10 drops melaleuca
• 4 ounces distilled water
Spray around the house where dust mites like to hide.

DIY Kid-Friendly Basic Bug
Spray Recipe
• 2 oz. witch hazel
• 2 oz. distilled water
• 10 drops lavender
• 10 drops citronella essential oil
Shake well before use; spray on clothes and exposed skin but avoid spraying this mixture on faces.