Thursday, May 4, 2017

"Shoo Fly, Don't Bother Me" Organic Citronella Salve

Spring is in the air...among many other, pollen and bugs. If you love the green on the trees and the blooming flowers, there is no avoiding these things, but there is relief. Often times we turn to bug sprays and mosquito repellents with chemicals to fight off unwanted friends when enjoying dinner on the porch or an evening by the fire. These are great, but often times they come in aerosol cans that are harmful to the environment or are chock full of ingredients that no one can pronounce. Do we really want to spray these chemical repellents all over our skin to be absorbed or inhaled in the process? Even more frustrating is the price tag that comes with these bug sprays. Although mosquito bites are uncomfortable, is it worth $5 for a can that will probably go missing and expire in the closet by the time I find it again? If you answered no to either of these questions, my "Shoo Fly, Don't Bother Me" Organic Citronella Salve is for you.

"Shoo Fly, Don't Bother Me" Organic Citronella Salve

Prep Time , serves 10


  • 20 Drops 100% Citronella or Insect Repellent Blend Essential Oil, undiluted
  • 2 oz. Coconut Oil
  • 1 Resealable Plastic Container


  1. Note: To make a safe to use 2% dilution of any essential oil, follow my 2-20-2 rule. For a 2 % dilution, combine 20 drops of essential oil with 2 oz. of carrier oil.
  2. In your plastic container, measure out 2 oz. (approx. 4 TBSP) of coconut oil. Microwave for about 10 seconds until soft and stirable.
  3. Drop ~20 drops of essential oil into coconut oil, stir until combined. To minimize product loss, stir with toothpick or similar.
  4. Let mixture cool. It will be firm at room temperature.
  5. Apply salve to body and rub into bite-worthy areas!  Reapply as necessary.
  6. Store at room temperature for easy application (don't keep this in your car, purse or hiking bag during will melt).

Cost Breakdown

In total, these ingredients cost me $12, but I can get multiple batches of salve from both the essential oil and coconut oil. Each ingredient cost $5.99, but at 14 oz, there are 7 batches of salve in the coconut oil, bringing the coconut oil cost to $0.85 per recipe. In a 1 oz. bottle of essential oil there are roughly 600 drops. By using 20 in this recipe, I get 30 recipes from a single bottle of oil, bringing the cost of oil per recipe to $0.20. All together, the grand total for this organic, two ingredient recipe is $1.05, approximately 80% cheaper than chemical-laden, aerosol alternatives, a no-brainer in my book!

You may be wondering...

  • Why the coconut oil? 
  • Why can't I just apply the undiltued essential oil directly to my skin? 
  • Wouldn't this be cheaper and stronger in fighting off the bugs?
These are valid thoughts, I had them too when first learning about essential oils, but undiluted essential oils can be harmful to the skin. All essential oil needs to be diluted using a carrier oil or butter. Carriers include coconut oil, sweet almond oil, olive oil and cocoa butter, among many others. Oil based carriers are suggested over water based carriers because they do absorb or evaporate as quickly, keeping the essential oil on the skin longer. For topical applications, 2% dilutions are the general go-to, which means always follow my 2-20-2 rule (for a 2 % dilution, combine 20 drops of essential oil with 2 oz. of carrier oil.).

Check back in the coming weeks for more DIY Essential Oil Recipes!