Consider this my family’s little introduction to DEET-free insect repellent.
Last summer, my daughter’s best friend moved to Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Yeah, I have no idea where that is either. But off she went.
As a proper send off, we scheduled a weekend stay at a family house in Maine with my daughter’s friend (her mom and dad included). Two days of hiking, beach, bonding, giggling, the works. Oh happy day.
Instead, we ended up in the ER for the first seven or so hours with our screaming, half-blinded child. To ward off the massive army of mosquitoes that chose that particular weekend to invade Maine, we had covered her in bug spray. Bug bites aren’t going the ruin this vacation, no sir!
Do the math. Hot sun equals sweat. Sweat equals bug spray migrating into eyes. Bug spray in eyes equals burning eyes. Math done. So was the fun vacation. Not so proper a send off anymore, eh?
Since then, I have become über-aware of safe bug spray ingredients. One such one under fire is DEET. A WWII invention of the U.S. Army for use in jungle warfare, it’s considered a “moderate” chemical pesticide. Just for fun, if you’re bored, it also can dissolve some plastics, synthetic fabrics, leather, and painted or varnished surfaces. And I’m supposed to apply this stuff to my skin and my child?
Mosquitoes don’t like it. Guess what? Neither do I.
Here are a few of the best DEET-free repellents I’ve found. All work well for bite-free outdoor time.
Jason Natural Quit Bugging Me Natural Insect Repellant Spray: Always looks like I’m spraying her with Windex when I use it.
California Baby Citronella Bug Repellant Lotion: A lotion that repels bugs with citronella while it soothes the bites you already have
OFF! Clip-on Mosquito Repellent: Why spray, when you can just hang? A great clip-in on with a refillable disk.
We managed to salvage the last bit of the trip. They’re even coming back to visit this summer for 10 days. Twenty bucks says we won’t be going to Maine.
Do you use DEET-free insect repellent? Do you have any alternatives to commercial bug sprays? Would love to hear about them in a comment!