Filtering herbs

Herbal Bug Spray


There is much controversy over whether bug sprays are harmful or not. I’m not here to debate the issue or get into the specifics. I personally don’t use them because I don’t like putting weird chemicals on my skin and I don’t love the idea of “hey, this may or may not be safe”. I live in the United States in a fairly urban area and while mosquitoes may suck (literally) I thankfully don’t have to worry about getting malaria. So, for me, a natural, herbal bug spray is the way to go. I did use some pretty hardcore bug spray when I was in Africa, but this city girl wasn’t about to mess with scary, African mosquitoes. 

The following is my recipe for an herbal bug spray. It’s super easy to make with ingredients that are completely safe for all ages and pretty easy to come by. You will need to reapply the spray fairly often, but I think it’s worth it. I like knowing exactly what I’m putting on my body, cuz if it’s on my body, it’s getting absorbed into my system and I’m not ok with just ingesting any old thing. 

Herbal Bug Spray

This bug spray takes about 4 weeks to make so start it way before you're going to need it. Basically, you just put all the ingredients together and then leave it to do its thing so it's super easy.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 oz

Equipment

  • Fine Mesh Filter
  • Funnel optional
  • 4oz Spray Bottle
  • A canning jar or something with a tight-fitting lid

Ingredients
  

  • .25 oz dried basil
  • .25 oz dried lavender
  • .25 oz dried lemon balm
  • .25 oz dried peppermint
  • .25 oz dried rosemary
  • 8 oz witch hazel You can also use apple cider vinegar but expect to smell like a salad.

Instructions
 

  • Place the herbs in the jar.
  • Pour in the witch hazel.
  • Shake well.
  • Store the jar in a dark, cool room like a pantry or cabinet for about 4ish weeks. It's best to shake the jar every day at least once. Don't worry if you forget though. Just shake it whenever you think about it.
  • After your concoction has infused for about a month, pour the liquid through the fine mesh strainer. You can also use a coffee filter.
  • Using the funnel, pour the bug spray into your spray bottle and label carefully. None of the ingredients are poisonous, but witch hazel sure doesn't taste good.
Keyword Herbal Bug Spray

 

Lavender Hydrosol

DIY Lavender Hydrosol

Jump to Recipe

 

DIY Lavender hydrosol is such a great thing to have on hand and it’s pretty easy to make. You also probably already have the supplies you need to make it. The first time I made hydrosol, I was concerned that it would be hard, messy, and yield a sub-par product. How wrong I was on all counts. The hydrosol was a little cloudy (which you want) when it was done, but mostly it just looked like the distilled water that I had used to make it. I was pretty disappointed thinking that it hadn’t actually worked. So, like any good herbalist, I tasted it, and boy was I wrong! I had absolutely made hydrosol and it was kind of awesome! I feel like it took a minute or two for the smell to show up which probably isn’t even remotely true, but I swear I couldn’t smell it at first. Now I use my lavender hydrosol every day for my facial toner, and I absolutely love it!

DIY Lavender hydrosol is great to have on-hand for:

  • Facial toner
  • A spray for sunburn relief
  • Linen spray (lavender is super relaxing and helps quiet the mind for sleep)
  • Wound care spray (it is antiseptic, helps with pain, and will help the wound heal faster)
  • Room spray
  • Bath additive
So, let’s talk now about how to make it.

First off, you will need a few supplies. 

  1. A stockpot or some type of fairly tall pot. You are going to boil the lavender in the pot, and you want the steam to rise up and condense on the lid and then fall back down into your collection bowl.
  2. A heat-safe bowl, a clean brick, or something to keep your collection bowl out of the water at the bottom of your pot. You will place this in the middle of your stockpot. It just keeps your collection bowl raised up a bit. 
  3. A collection bowl. I like to use a glass Pyrex measuring cup for this so I can then easily pour my hydrosol into the container I’m going to store it in. 
Setup for making hydrosol
My Pyrex sitting on an upside down Corningware dish inside my stockpot with water and lavender all around.

Next you will need some ingredients.

  1. 1oz dried lavender
  2. 4 cups of distilled water

Now to actually make the hydrosol.

  1. Place one heat-safe bowl inside your crockpot upside down to form a little platform. Then put another heat-safe bowl on top of that one only right-side-up. 
  2. Pour in your distilled water and your lavender. You don’t really need to stir it or anything.
  3. Place the lid for the stockpot on the pot, but upside down. You want the steam to rise from the simmering lavender, condense on the lid, roll down the lid to the center, and then drop into your collection bowl.
  4. Place it on the stove and turn the stove to a medium heat just until it starts to boil.
  5. Lower the temperature so that you just get a nice low simmer.
  6. Allow the lavender to simmer for 20-30 minutes. If you let it go for too much longer, your hydrosol will start to have a slightly bitter scent to it. Make sure to keep the lid on the whole time. If you have a clear, glass lid, you can actually watch the process.

Bottle and storage

  1. Once your collection bowl has cooled, pour your hydrosol into a spray bottle. 
  2. Store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. 

Lavender Hydrosol

 

Here’s your printable recipe card for DIY Lavender Hydrosol.

DIY Lavender Hydrosol

This recipe is for lavender hydrosol, but can easily be made with rose petals, dried oranges, rosemary, or any other dried herb or flower.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes

Equipment

  • 1 Stockpot with lid or any large, tall pot with a lid
  • 2 Heat-safe bowls 1 for collecting the hydrosol and 1 for placing upside down in your stockpot.
  • 1 4oz Spray Bottle

Ingredients
  

  • 1 oz dried lavender
  • 4 cups distilled water

Instructions
 

  • Place 1 bowl upside down in your stockpot and place the other bowl right-side up on top of that one. This just keeps your collection bowl out of the water and herbs.
  • Pour in the distilled water and herbs.
  • Put the lid on your stockpot upside down. This allows the steam to rise, collect on the lid, roll down the lid, and drip into your collection bowl.
  • Simmer on low heat for about 20-30 minutes.
  • Allow your hydrosol to cool then store it in a cute jar or spray bottle. If you plan to use it sparingly, store it in the fridge. For everyday use, you can store it at room temperature for a couple of weeks.

Hi! I’m Traci

I’m a massage therapist, sound healer, soap maker, and perpetual student of herbalism. I like to think of myself as a homesteader, or at least as much of one as