By far, the best essential oils for bug bites and general owies are lavender and tea tree oil. Always keep these on hand to tackle any mystery bump or bite (diluted in carrier oil, of course).
I became a loyal fan of lavender when I saw a few drops of it heal a red, hot, spreading spider bite on my toddler, a growing skin infection (cellulitis, I believe) from a mosquito bite, and a blood infection that was a black line travelling up someone’s arm from an infected burn. It only took a couple drops, and all of these things went away completely. The blood infection vanished within two hours of applying the oil once and the infected bites within two days after applying it a couple times each day. (This was before I knew to dilute them, though. I strongly believe in diluting them now so that you don’t become sensitized to them.)
And my husband had a bad spider bite on his knee that made his knee hot and swollen and red. We tried various oils on it, but the only one that worked was Tea Tree Oil. It healed it within a few days.
If you only ever buy two oils, make it these two.
(And always do a patch test of any oil you want to use. And research safety information and dilution ratios and what kind of people that particular oil should not be used on, especially babies, young children, pregnant women, and people with compromised immune systems. Or click on my “essential oil” label, and look up the post “My Basic Safety Rules for Essential Oils.” Always be careful when handling essential oils. Never use them undiluted.)
Here are a few of the ways that I use these on a regular basis:
Owie Spray:This is my “go to” spray when we have owies or bug bites or feel sick. It is mild and generally safe for most people.
In 2 oz. hard-plastic spritz bottle filled with filtered water, add 10-12 Lavender, 10-12 Tea Tree, 3-4 Chamomile, (can also add 3-4 Frankincense). This is a little stronger than my 12 drops per ounce rule, but it is a pretty safe blend to use for most people. I spray it onto pillows, pajamas, and chests when we are sick or I spritz it around the room. You can also spray it onto rashes or bug bites. (Just maybe not onto really broken skin or deep cuts. I will spritz it onto scrapes and infections, though.)
You could also make an oil-based blend by adding 10-12 Lavender, 10-12 Tea Tree, and 3-4 Chamomile (3-4 Frankincense, optional) to 2 oz. of a carrier oil, like olive oil. Rub on feet and body when feeling sick or on skin owies and bug bites.
Lavender Oil:This is a super simple one. Just mix 10-15 drops Lavender (or do half-Lavender, half-Tea Tree Oil) per oz. of carrier oil. I use olive oil. Keep it handy for any sores, infections, acne, bug bites or times when you’re feeling sick and need the immune-boosting help. Any and every suspicious-looking bite or bump or rash gets a layer of this rubbed on right away.
And Lavender is good for sunburns, too, so you could put this on after being in the sun, along with aloe vera. This also might be good for repelling mosquitoes. I once rubbed diluted Lavender oil on my arms when I had nothing else available, and they didn’t seem to bother me.
I once got the worst sting ever right in a tendon by my toe. I’m not a cry-baby, but it hurt worse than almost anything. (And I had one c-section and three drug-free homebirths!) I tried all the home remedies I could think of: vinegar, baking soda, meat tenderizer, salt to draw out toxins, cornstarch. Nothing worked … until I tried honey. (I also added coconut oil, but I think it was the honey that did it, if I remember correctly.) As soon as I put it on, the stinging stopped and I was able to stop rolling around on the floor in pain. (But there are essential oils, such as lavender, that are good for stings, too. You can try mixing a drop of one of them with a little honey and put it on the sting.)
Also research the “drawing out” properties of the plantain plant, a weed that grows abundantly in backyards everywhere. Once, after putting on honey and lavender, I also put on a plantain leaf that I chewed-up (or slice it really finely and mash it around to draw out the sap). And the swelling went away. Apparently this is a great plant to reduce swelling and to draw out toxins. I am drying some this year to save for winter, if I need it.
In a 6 oz. spray bottle, I add 5 oz Water, 1 oz Witch Hazel, 1 teaspoon Olive Oil, and 10 drops each of these essential oils: Spearmint, Orange or Lemon, Lavender, Tea Tree Oil, Eucalyptus, and Citronella. (Use less if you want it less strong or are using it on younger children.) Then just shake and spray on clothes and lightly on your arms and legs. Be careful about wearing too much of this in direct sun because citrus oils will make your skin photosensitive. If you need to be in the bright sun, maybe just spray your clothes and hair. (See caution below about Eucalyptus)
Or avoid the citrus oils altogether and try 5 oz. water, 1 oz Witch Hazel, 1 teaspoon Olive Oil, and 25 drops Tea Tree Oil, 25 Lavender, 5 Eucalyptus (or Citronella), and 5 Spearmint (or Peppermint for kids over 6). (CAUTION: It is recommended by experts to not use Peppermint on kids under 6 or Eucalyptus on kids under 10. If you want, leave them out and try it with just the Lavender and Tea Tree.)
I do not like to spray faces because essential oils can sting your eyes. Spray clothes and hair and arms and legs (but not with citrus oil if you will be in the sun). Or maybe spray your hands and pat a little bit on your cheeks and forehead.
I also rubbed the Lavender Oil that I make (10-15 drops lavender per ounce olive oil) onto my arms and it seemed to keep the bugs away just fine.
Everyday “Stay Healthy” Blend:
I picked oils for their germ-fighting power and for congestion/sinus issues associated with colds and flu.
In a small spray bottle (for water-based) or squirt bottle (for oil-based), for each ounce of water or carrier oil add 4 drops Lavender, 4 drops Tea Tree Oil, 2 drops each Chamomile, Lemon, and Eucalyptus (plus a drop of Frankincense, if desired). (Use a little less for younger children.)
[Caution: Do not use this on the face of a small child because the eucalyptus oil may cause an asthma reaction. You can take out the Eucalyptus for younger kids and replace it with something more gentle - Cypress, Pine, Patchouli, or Spearmint - depending on what age your kids are and what “health benefit” you are going for, such as “stimulate immune system” or “colds/flu,” etc. But this spray has never bothered my kids because we don’t use a lot of it and I don’t apply it topically in large amounts. So the Eucalyptus is well-diluted and hasn’t been a problem for us. But I never did use it on babies, just children over 3-4 years old. And do not wear lemon essential oil – or any other citrus oil - on your skin in the sun because it causes sensitivity to sunlight.]
I use this mix of essential oils like this:
1. Rub the oil-based blend on feet, chests, or behind knees, or spray the water-based blend all around in the air, on pillow, on clothes, on chests, etc. when someone is sick. Use regularly throughout the sick season to protect yourself from germs. (FYI, It doesn’t smell very good, though.)
I send a small bottle with my husband to work so he can use it throughout the day, rubbing it on his arms and hands as an anti-bacterial oil. And he rubs it behind his knees as soon as he feels like his legs are getting achy. (Just don’t rub your eyes with your hands after using essential oil products. It stings. So maybe it’s best to not put it on the hands of children.)
2. I make an all-purpose cleaner for my bathroom and other surfaces using this selection of essential oils. All-Purpose Soap Cleaner: Fill a large spray bottle (30 oz.) with water. Add a ¼ cup or so of liquid castile soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s) and 10 drops Lavender essential oil, 10 drops Tea Tree oil, 5 drops Chamomile, 5 drops Lemon, 5 drops Eucalyptus, and add 10 drops Orange essential oil, too. Spray surfaces and wipe or scrub. Follow with the “All-Purpose Disinfectant Cleaner,” if desired.
Another option (soap-free): All-Purpose Disinfectant Cleaner: Fill a 30 oz. spray bottle with half water and half white vinegar. And then add the same amount of essential oils as listed above. This is good for wiping down mirrors, bathrooms, and counters, and as a follow up for the Soap Cleaner above.
3. Make a pre-mixed batch of just the essential oils (no carrier oil or water) at a ratio of 4 drops Lavender, 4 drops Tea Tree oil, 2 drops each Chamomile, Lemon, and Eucalyptus and store it in a glass bottle with a dropper. Then add 2-3 drops of this blend to an essential oil diffuser during sick season and let it clean your air. (You can use this pre-mixed blend in the recipes above, too: 12-14 drops of the pre-mixed blend for every ounce of water or carrier oil, or 35 drops of it to the all-purpose cleaners and then add the extra 10 drops of Orange.)
(What's a "grapfruit," you might be wondering?
Yeah, I have no idea either.
It should be "grapefruit"...
but I'm sure you figured that out.
Actually, I'm guessing that you probably
didn't even notice the typo till I pointed it out, did you?)