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Topic: Bug repellent soap/spray?  (Read 2584 times)
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RavingRosemary
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« on: May 18, 2010 02:05:44 PM »

My latest challenge: I know certain essential oils are supposed to be good for bug repellents (tea tree, citronella, peppermint, etc).  Has anybody made a bug repellent soap?  How successful was it?  I was thinking it'd be a great thing to whip up for summer, but wasn't sure if the scent from a CP soap would linger long enough--maybe a spray or solid perfume is the best way to go....

As always, your thoughts are appreciated!   Grin
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« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2010 08:18:24 PM »

I've made my own sprays, heavy on lemon eucalyptus (which smells like citronells) but never tried a soap. No idea if the scent would linger on your skin long enough?
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« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2010 06:24:46 AM »

Hmm... I've found a few soaps online that claim to get the job done, like http://www.soapshed.com/store/Bug-Me-No-More-Insect-Repellent-Soap-pr-16289.html.  It looks like pennyroyal, tea tree, eucalyptus, citronella and cedarwood are all good bets... might be a little stinky.  But, awesome!

Oh man, I'm so excited.  Time for new soapy experimentation!  (Or at least, an excuse to buy more essential oils.)  Anyone else on board?
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noturavggeek
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« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2010 08:49:16 AM »

My Mom was given citronella soap last year from one of my SILs friends. It definitely smells like citronella, so much in fact that none of us have ever used it. It sits on my parents enclosed porch and keeps the bugs away from our dogs. We don't use it for a few reasons, one being such a strong smell, we don't know how it'd react with our skin. And secondly, it aggravates my allergies to no tomorrow. I can't go remotely close to the citronella candles or anything with citronella in it in stores in the summer time without sneezing like a crazy person.

So not sure how it works as usable soap, but just on its own it keeps our dogs bug bite free. I know some people also swear by garlic juice mixed up in a spray, but not sure how well that'd translate into soap.

http://hilltownfamilies.wordpress.com/2007/05/29/lemos001/ - whole list of EOs to use as bug repellants
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RavingRosemary
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« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2010 05:57:11 AM »

Thanks for the list!  This project got put on hold for a while, but I still want to give it a shot--think I'll make up one MP bar to see how it works before dedicating a full CP batch to it, though.  Yay, soapsperimentation!  Wonder where I could buy neem oil? 

Also thinking of a sunburn relief bar with aloe & peppermint.  It's, er, rather inspired at the moment (by a nine-mile hike with no sunscreen) (ouch!).
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noturavggeek
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« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2010 07:55:09 AM »

I hope it works out! I'm also definitely with you on the sunburn bar! I'm gonna try the aloe and olive oil mp from WSP I think, and probably ship some down to my niece and nephew, as they got the irish pasty skin curse like me Undecided
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dreadlocklove
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2010 01:39:25 PM »

How about trying neem oil?

Edit:  Oops, I now see that neem oil was mentioned.  I live in Canada and can buy from Canwax and New Directions Aromatics.  There is an NDA in the US (if that's where you live) that you can probably purchase from.
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« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2010 03:19:37 PM »

Thanks for the tip, dreadlocklove!  I'll see if I can find it locally (cough hippie co-op), but if not, might order some.  Have you used it in soap?  Any tips?

Ordered some EOs for these projects today... I'm pretty excited!  I'll let you guys know how they turn out.  Noturavggeek, I also have the curse... my dad's a freckled red-head, and I seem to have gotten his genes.  Alas!
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dreadlocklove
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2010 06:35:17 PM »

I've only used neem for two batches, and have a tiny bit left that I may use for a single oil experiment to test its effectiveness in treating skin conditions.

The first time I used it (March 15 2010), my formula consisted of olive oil, coconut oil, neem oil, palm oil, cocoa butter, white cosmetic clay, ground juniper berries, and some essential oils.  I'm not sure if you've ever smelled it before, but the aroma is very distinct.

(For gardening purposes, it's used as an insecticide though I wonder if it serves as an effective bug repellent in soap.  Likely moreso in a lotion or other leave-on product, or as an oil/water combination spray like for gardening.  I wasn't soaping with the intent of figuring that aspect out at the time.  It is apparently used in India as a remedy for head lice but again, my research hasn't determined whether the oil alone is used for this purpose or if it is incorporated into a shampoo bar.)

Anyway, back to the scent, sometime after I poured the mixture in the mould, it really started to smell like pot in the house.  And when my boyfriend got home from work, it was the first thing he commented on.  I asked in a soap forum if this was typical and was told no, so I assumed it was the combination of essential oils that I used.

Fast forward to last night, when I experimented with olive oil, coconut oil, hemp seed oil, and neem oil (15% of the formula).  I left it unscented to see how potent the neem scent would be and today it continues to be as strong.  I can only detect a faint hemp scent (I used more than 15%) and only when I put the bar against my nose.  Apparently the neem does fade with time so I'm very interested in the results to come.  Mind you, as much as some are turned off, I don't feel so bothered by it.

That's really the only limited information I can share at this time, other than you'll need to heat the container/oil up if you store it in the fridge (unless the container opening is big enough that you can spoon it out).  Hopefully someone else can add their experiences!
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RavingRosemary
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« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2010 06:44:16 PM »

Anyway, back to the scent, sometime after I poured the mixture in the mould, it really started to smell like pot in the house.  And when my boyfriend got home from work, it was the first thing he commented on.  I asked in a soap forum if this was typical and was told no, so I assumed it was the combination of essential oils that I used.

Ha!  Too funny.  I'll watch out.  I already worry that my neighbors think I'm running a meth lab every time I wander by the windows with my soaping gear on.

That kind of answers my unasked question--if I use neem like a base oil or botanical.  It sounds like you treated it like the former, and I'll give it a shot, too.  I'm not sure if this bug repellent bar will actually work, but it'll be a fun experiment.  Besides, NDA seems to attribute a host of curative properties to neem oil, so if nothing else, I could end up with a funny-smelling bar that helps my cousin's acne.  Who knows?
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