Not only is it a fantastic baking ingredient, and prized throughout the world for its strong flavor, vanilla extract can actually act as a natural insect repellent. Depending on the type, insects can be very annoying, even dangerous, so it is best to safeguard your home and skin against their bites.
It's very simple to make a concoction with vanilla extract as a main ingredient. This natural substance works well against insects such as mosquitoes, flies, and gnats; however, prior to creating this solution, make sure that you are not allergic to the vanilla. Put a drop of vanilla onto your skin to see if it causes any irritation.
Step 1 - Purchase the Vanilla
Visit a local health food store and purchase some pure vanilla extract. It comes in rather small bottles, and the product contains vanilla derived from the vanilla beans. It is crucial that the vanilla you will be using is pure. Some shops sell vanilla that has a number of additions to it such as sugar and alcohol. This will not be suitable to use to make an insect repellent. In fact, it can actually have the opposite effect since the concoction will be rather sticky and may cause insects to be attracted more. So, do make sure that the vanilla you use is pure.
Step 2 - Place the Vanilla in a Container
Place some vanilla in a small container. One tablespoon will suffice.
Step 3 - Mix in the Water
Next, mix a tablespoon of water in with the vanilla. Vanilla extract can also work wonders if mixed with other ingredients such as citronella oil, lemongrass oil, and peppermint oil in addition to the water. These are all known to be effective natural insect repellents.
Step 4 - Apply Some to Your Skin
Once the concoction has been mixed well, just dip some cotton balls into it and apply to your skin. Place the mixture into a small bottle or container so you can reuse it or carry it along when you go out.
Step 5 - Reapply
Vanilla extract is usually effective as an insect repellent for about half an hour. So if you are outdoors for a longer period, just apply some more to your skin, especially on exposed areas such as the neck and pulse points. Also consider reapplying more often if you are exposed to very high temperatures which may cause it to evaporate quickly, and in cases of being diluted with perspiration, rain, or other water elements.
Using vanilla extract as an insect repellent can be much cheaper than chemical deterrents, and it can be easily made up in just a few minutes. Additionally, it is always best to use a natural insect repellent rather than the commercial artificial sprays, as long as vanilla does not irritate your skin. Most insect repellents contain a lot of chemicals which can cause several problems if they are used frequently and on a routine basis. Their toxic effects are especially unsuitable for children. Furthermore, vanilla has the advantage of having a pleasant perfume.