When you get your first whiff of Citronella, you will more than likely think of summer nights, fire flies and yummy grilled food because it is often used in insect repellants. Many of you have probably used citronella candles to repel the pesky bugs from outdoor meals or functions. Now you can have the effectiveness of the plant in an easy-to-use oil, for not only household use, but personal use as well!
Citronella has long been considered the natural and safe alternative to DEET (N-diethyl-meta-toluamide), a controversial ingredient in most insect repellents. Citronella can be used alone or with other essential oils, such as Beeyoutiful’s Eucalyptus Oil, to form a wonderful combination insect repellent. The plant itself does not produce enough pungency to repel bugs from your yard, but the oil can be diffused in small patio areas or used mixed with a carrier oil or water and lightly wiped on furniture, doorways, or other items to help repel the pests!
What you may not know is that Citronella also has several other very good uses from antiseptic to fever-reducer to deodorant to skin-balancing! Citronella can be an irritant to the skin and therefore should be used with caution, always diluted with a carrier oil. Test on skin with a small amount of oil and on a small area before using liberally. Never use straight on the skin or ingest without diluting.
Beeyoutiful’s Citronella Essential Oil can be diluted with Beeyoutiful’s Jojoba Oil or Sweet Almond Oil. Citronella pairs well with Beeyoutiful’s Lavender, Geranium, Orange, and Lemon Essential Oils. And, last but not least, Citronella mixes wonderfully with Eucalyptus Oil for a boost to the insecticide properties. (see below for Insect Repellent Recipe)
Insecticide: You can simply rub the oil, diluted with a carrier oil, on your skin with a paper towel or cotton-ball. For easy-to-use convenience, you may want to make up a larger recipe. You will need a fine mist spray bottle and either distilled water or a high proof alcohol (Vodka is appropriate for this, not rubbing alcohol. Vodka is usually preferred to other alcohols due to the fact that it is clear, high proof, and relatively cheap to purchase.) If using simply the Citronella, add 3 ounces of either distilled water or alcohol to the spray bottle. Then add 30-60 drops of Citronella. Please test for sensitivity. You may want to begin with 30 drops and test for effectiveness, then add if needed. Shake before using. Note: You must shake well before using or you could be applying straight oil, which could result in burns.
You should also add small amounts (5-10 drops) to your lotion, sunscreen or shampoo for guaranteed coverage! This is especially good for ticks, which like to hide in your hair!
Multi-Oil Insect Repellent:
· Citronella Oil- 15-20 drops
· Lavender Essential Oil- 15 Drops
· Eucalyptus Essential Oil- 10 drops
· Lemongrass Essential Oil- 7 Drops
· Spray bottle, at least 4 oz., but make sure that you can achieve a small enough mist to adequately cover skin well.
· Either distilled water or alcohol. (High proof alcohol only, i.e. Vodka, not rubbing alcohol.)
I first mix my oils in the spray bottle and allow them to assimilate. You may want to start with only half the amount suggested and increase if not strong enough; it depends on the sensitivity of your skin and the coverage needed. If you are particularly susceptible to bug bites, you may want to use the full amount. Add 3 to 4 ounces of water or alcohol to fill the spray bottle. Make sure to shake well before using, if not you could be dispersing straight oil, which could cause burns. May be reapplied as needed!
Antiseptic- Citronella is especially good at cleaning sick rooms during and after contagious illnesses. You can diffuse the oil in the room or use as a disinfectant by adding it to your water or natural cleaner. Also, when a few drops are added to bath water, it can help disinfect the skin.
Deodorant- Such a light, lemony smell will help deodorize the body. Also helps to disinfect the bacteria that cause foul odors. Add a small amount of Citronella Essential Oil to coconut oil to be used as an underarm deodorant. In addition to the odor “eater,” it also helps to combat excessive perspiration! Can you beat that? Plus, it has none of the toxic metals or chemical used by conventional antiperspirants or deodorants that have been alleged to cause cancer and many other ailments. Allow time to soak into the skin first so you don’t end up with oil marks on your clothes!
Fever- Citronella Oil, like Lemongrass, can be used to help reduce fever. The light, clean smell is usually a pleasant background smell when sick as well. You may diffuse in the room, use as a massage oil in a carrier oil, mix with a high proof alcohol and rub on the abdomen, feet, arms and legs (checking for skin sensitivity first!). Citronella has been used historically to bring down high fevers and to eliminate the cause of the fevers as well.
Skin- The clearing benefits and balancing effects on the skin are definitely worth using Citronella Essential Oil in your daily regimen. It helps to reduce oily skin and can also be tremendously helpful in reducing bad bacteria that can lead to acne. Use a drop in your water to rinse your skin, add a drop to your facial cream, or make a witch hazel and citronella astringent by adding one drop per ounce of witch hazel and applying as needed.
We are excited to be able to offer Citronella Essential Oil in addition to the rest of Beeyoutiful’s essential oil line. Citronella Essential Oil has become a cherished favorite in several of our staff homes as we, quite literally, “field” tested it. Since some of our staff can be fondly described as mosquito bait we had the perfect individuals to test the efficacy of the oil. We have been happily using it ever since!
For additional information on the use of Essential Oils, please read the following article: The Essentials of Essential Oils