Friday, April 20, 2012

catnip insect repellent


i am pretty sensitive to insect bites and tend to swell easily.

yesterday when i was working in the garden i got bit by something close to my eye and now look like i was involved in a serious boxing match.
since i am not willing to hide inside all summer long i thought i would do a little research about making my own insect repellent.

i was excited to find a recipe made from a few simple ingredients including catnip which is something i have quite a bit of growing in my garden.

although it may have to be applied more regularly, it is claimed that catnip (nepeta) is more effective than deet. 


there are a few different methods of making the repellent, all of which don't require much time or materials.

to make an oil-based infusion of the plant, gather catnip leaves and stems and finely chop. fill a clean jar with the chopped greens and cover with olive oil. cap jar tightly and shake to bring air bubbles to the top. then fill completely with the oil. let sit in a cool dark place for six weeks to infuse.


an alcohol-based infusion is what i decided to try. i like the idea of spraying something cool and light onto my skin on hot summer days.

gather the catnip leaves and stems, chop and fill a jar with the greens. use 100-proof vodka to fill the jar. cap jar tightly and set aside for six weeks. after straining the alcohol from the plant, you will now have a tincture. fill a small spritzer bottle halfway with the tincture. top the rest of the bottle with water.


you will need to re-apply the catnip repellent, whichever form you choose, about every 30 minutes to maintain optimal effectiveness.


the most simple method of all is to simply take a sprig of catnip and crush it in your hands, releasing the oils and scent.


tuck it into your shirt pocket, hat, around the neckline of your clothes and other places that are exposed. You can also rub the plant directly onto your skin.

here's to keeping the bugs away!


  1. That makes me wonder if a little pocket sized catnip sachet would work as well? I made insect repellent just yesterday out of essential oils, now I'm thinking I should add some catnip oil to the mix!

  2. love this.. although in my crazy mind I imagine a trail of cats dancing around me trying to get to the catnip. =)

  3. What a great idea! Let us know how this works, okay?

  4. I did not know this about cat nip! I only knew about geranium, eucalyptus & rosemary oils having repellant qualities. I really like your alcohol mist idea!