The last thing you would want at any backyard party would be uninvited guests. You want your party to have the sounds of laughter and music not the sounds of slapping mosquitoes or the screams of, “Bees!” Back in the day, we thought nothing of spraying on the aerosol bug spray. “Hey, if it kills bugs on crops, why not kill bugs on my skin?” Although there are a variety of safe chemical bug sprays, they are still chemicals. If you want to avoid a list of ingredients that reads like a chemistry exam, then consider making your own safe bug repellents. You might be surprised at the ingredients you can pull from your own cabinets to keep the bugs away.

1. Spice Powders

How often do you cook with garlic, cinnamon or cayenne pepper powder? If the answer is, “Quite a lot,” then you’ve probably got a good supply of these powders in your spice rack. It turns out that the little creepy crawlers don’t much care for the spices. You can sprinkle a heavy line of these powders around the foundation of your home to create a kind of anti-bug force field. This would be for the crawling variety like ants.

2. Vinegar and Herbs

No, you’re not making a salad dressing. (Although you could!). However, apple cider vinegar makes a terrific base for safe bug repellents. You might not appreciate having the smell of vinegar on your body. That’s what you want to blend in herbs like mint, lavender, sage or thyme. Add a little water to a spray bottle that is half-full of the vinegar and top it off with your herb of choice. Let it all steep over night and you’ve got a wonderful repellent with zero chemicals.

3. Essentials Oils

Don’t put away the vinegar just yet. You can make another bug repellent mixture with vinegar and essential oils. Try 10-15 drops of mint, tea tree, spearmint, lemon, clove or eucalyptus in a spray bottle that is half vinegar and half water. Voila. Bug repellent that smells nice.

4. Witch Hazel

If you’re not crazy about using vinegar in your bug repellent, then you can swap out Witch Hazel in the same recipes as mentioned above. This bug repellent might have a bit more of a “kick” when applied to the skin. Just beware of it stinging any cuts or scrapes. On the other hand, it will clean out those boo-boos rather nicely.

5. Vodka And Essential Oils

Vodka and drops of essential oils also make for a wonderful DIY bug repellent. Although you might find it hard to part with the vodka for killing bugs, it will certainly make for a cool conversation starter. “That spray you’re using? It’s vodka!”

Once you made your safe bug repellents, they’re also great for camping and beach days. When was the last time you were bitten bad by bugs?