Lemongrass oil is extracted from the fresh and dried leaves of lemongrass plant by the steam distillation process. Pure yellow to reddish yellow in color, this lemon-scented oil has a water-like consistency. This essential oil not only smells pleasant, but is also a storehouse of several active ingredients. The uses of lemongrass oil in cooking and aromatherapy treatment are known to many of us. Using lemongrass oil as an insect repellent is a great option for repelling blood-sucking insects like mosquitoes, fleas, lice, and ticks, amongst others. In contrary to commercial products, it is less expensive, and there are no major side effects.
Tips for Using Lemongrass Oil as an Insect Repellent
When it comes to pest control, we first search the market for a chemical-based insecticide, which is not only pricey, but also harmful for the environment. Given a choice, it is always a better approach to use natural insect repellents. Lemongrass essential oil is as potent as any commercial insecticide. It contains citronellol and geraniol, and is effective against a wide range of biting insects. It can be applied on skin directly, used with lotions, or sprayed over clothing and other surfaces, according to personal preferences.
While using lemongrass oil as a topical insect repellent, always use a diluted version. Remember that it can cause skin irritation in children and adults having very sensitive skin. Mix it with water, say about 2 drops pure oil in ¼ cup water. If it is not effective enough to deter insects, you can increase the concentration.
Mix with Carrier Oils
This oil, mixed with other essential oils like neem, rosemary, and lemon eucalyptus, becomes a more effectual concoction for avoiding insect bites. However, not all plant oils are safe for applying topically. Hence, conduct a brief research about toxicity of essential oils that act as insect repellents, and then only, use them. Be careful with the usage concentration.
Add in Lotions
Similar to the above method, a few drops of lemongrass oil can be added in lotions and liquid soaps. As long as its concentration is below 3 percent, there are hardly any adverse effects on the skin.
Use with a Sprayer
A simple recipe for pest control is to combine it with distilled water or rubbing alcohol. The amount of lemongrass oil to be added depends on whether you are using it alone, or in combination with other essential oils. Add it along with water in a sprayer, shake well, and use for spraying over surfaces.
Burn Lemongrass Oil
Another popular way of using lemongrass oil for getting rid of pests is to fill it in an oil burner, or simply burn it in candles. Its lemony scent and strong fragrance will spread to larger distances, and ward off insects. This method is applicable for controlling infestations in backyards, patios, or other large, open spaces.
To achieve best results, make sure that pure, unadulterated lemongrass essential oil is used for the above mentioned methods. The best way is to grow the lemongrass plant in pots, and place them in the vicinity of your home. This will control entry of insects, and you can harvest the leaves for culinary uses as well.