Some people think that now that it’s past Memorial Day, it’s officially summer. However, summer doesn’t technically start until June 21st this year (the summer solstice). This hasn’t stopped the bugs from coming out in full force though! Growing up I can distinctly remember the smell of those citronella candles that supposedly repelled bugs. They were usually in a big metal container of some sort and had an overpowering scent. Before buying one for this summer, I decided to do a little research to see if they really do the job.
Seems like a lot of citronella candles only contain citronella scent, and not the actual essential oil- which is what has the bug repelling properties. Also, they come in ugly buckets… So, I made my own! They were super easy to make and I put them in cute little mason jars. I also added eucalyptus and lavender essential oil, which also have bug repelling properties. They smell so much better than the store bought ones! I have yet to use them but I plan to soon and want to take them with us when we go camping later this summer.
On a side note, one place we do not have a bug problem is on our deck. I decided to add two planters to the deck this summer and I am growing some fresh herbs in them. It has been so convenient to just take a few steps out onto the deck and grab whatever herbs I need while I’m cooking. Anyways, the point of all this is that my mini herb garden has been working like a charm to keep away bugs. Seriously, I never see any out there. The herbs I have are lavender, basil, rosemary, mint and parsley. All of which I picked just because they are what I use the most in my cooking. Turns out, all of them are known to repel bugs! A lovely coincidence for me 🙂
Making Your Own Citronella Candle
Adapted from: Growing Up Gable
What you need:
– glass jar or container (I used an 8 oz canning jar and my directions are for a jar that size so adjust accordingly)
– soy wax candle flakes
– candle wicks
– Citronella essential oil
– Eucalyptus essential oil
– Lavender essential oil
– Optional- these little double stick tape things to keep your wick in place
1. Set up your glass jars with the wick. Lay a pencil over the top of the jar and wrap the end of the wick around the pencil to keep it straight and centered. Set aside.
2. Place an old pot or cleaned out metal coffee tin in a large pot filled with water about 2 inches high on the stove – to make a double boiler type set-up. Turn the heat on medium. Add soy wax flakes. For my 8 oz container I used about 2 cups. Stir with an old metal or wooden spoon continuously until the wax is totally melted and clear.
3. Very carefully remove the pot with the melted wax from the bigger pot with a pot holder and slowly pour the wax into the jar.
4. Add all of the essential oils into the wax. I used 20 drops of citronella, 10 drops of eucalyptus and 10 drops of lavender.
5. Don’t move the candle until it has completely cooled and set. Cut the extra wick off the candle, leaving only 1/4 inch.
* To maintain your candle, let it burn for a decent time the first time you light it, so that a significant pool has formed around the wick. This will ensure that the candle burns properly. One hour should do the trick.