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Topic: Bug repellent soap/spray?  (Read 2046 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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« 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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« 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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« 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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dreadlocklove
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2010 04:53:37 AM »

Though suppliers recommend a usage rate of about 10%, it seems as though it's most commonly used at a higher percentage in Ayurveda. 

Either way, it's definitely an oil I'd like to play around more with.
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« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2010 08:17:03 AM »

I've made a melt and pour bar for a friend at her request with citronella and eucalyptus oils.  She tells me it works like a charm.
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« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2010 11:03:07 AM »

Oh, neat!  Do you remember what percentage EOs you used?  (There is no way to phrase this without sounding awful.  What I mean is, how much EO:soap base?)
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Lindylu
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2010 11:46:27 PM »

I have seen a recipe for an insect repellant soap for campers and of course now I can't find it.....  I too am allergic as all get out to citronella as well as any citrus so I'm always on the look-out for alternatives.  Dread - good to see you here  - I hadn't thought of using Neem this way so now I need to experiment... cool

Lindy
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dreadlocklove
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2010 05:34:55 PM »

Lindy, I think it'd be great if the neem did work in soap and shampoo because when you mix it with water to use as an insecticide in your garden, for example, the solution is only good for so long.  You would either have to apply the oil neat, which would have a really unpleasant smell, or make small but frequent solutions (AKA: PITA!)

The 20% neem soap I mentioned in a previous post can be used now.  I'll make a point of washing with it then spending some time outside to see if the mosquitoes leave me alone.
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Lindylu
« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2010 09:55:54 PM »

Perfect!  I'm looking forward to hearing how it works....
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« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2010 12:47:56 PM »

Awesome!  I look forward to hearing your report as well.
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« Reply #17 on: June 29, 2010 09:15:00 AM »

I live in Minnesota.  Where the state bird is a mosquito.  Wink I look forward to seeing how this works out too!
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Lindylu
« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2010 07:35:16 PM »

Hey DreadLockLove how did it work???
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« Reply #19 on: July 14, 2010 10:05:02 PM »

Oh man, if you find a recipe that effectively turns bugs away, please update! You'd be my hero. I just got back from a hike, and even with a full on spray of jungle juice (98% DEET!!), and I still had 16 bug bites. They were all centered around one spot on my back, so they must have just beelined for the one unsprayed portion of my body. Last year, I had 119 bites (not hyperbole) from a single hike where I forgot bug spray. I looked like I had leprosy.

Actually, if you can't figure it out and need something to distract the bugs while you sit outside, I can just come sit on your lawn and act like one of those bug zappers without the zap.  Cool

(I probably seem obsessed with bugs after this post and my last post, sorry).
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« Reply #20 on: July 15, 2010 05:56:42 AM »

Ha ha, poor kitten.  I still haven't made a bug repellent soap, though I hope dreadlocklove did.  I did made a sunburn soothing soap!  Have yet to test it, though, as I got my big summer sunburn in June & haven't burned since (will only go so far for my soapies... soap licking, yes, purposeful sunburn, no)!  Maybe I'll try some bug repellent MP recipes if we don't hear from her soon.
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« Reply #21 on: July 15, 2010 09:38:23 AM »

Haha, now I can't stop imagining soapers doing terrible things in the name of the craft. The image of someone psyching themselves up to go get a sunburn for their soaps is hilarious. I'm seeing goggles, gloves, SPF in the trash and a face full of determination.
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« Reply #22 on: July 16, 2010 05:26:39 AM »

Haha, now I can't stop imagining soapers doing terrible things in the name of the craft. The image of someone psyching themselves up to go get a sunburn for their soaps is hilarious. I'm seeing goggles, gloves, SPF in the trash and a face full of determination.

If this were Facebook, I'd "like" this comment.
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dreadlocklove
« Reply #23 on: July 22, 2010 04:47:33 AM »

I did try the soap and it smells A LOT of neem while washing - not so much on the skin after though - but unfortunately, the bugs aren't bad at this time of year so it's hard to determine whether it repels them or not.

But I am going on holidays to my cottage mid-August and I'm sure the bugs will be out there.  I'll keep you updated.
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