Peppermint may feel more wintery at first, but this refreshing scent could actually be more useful during the warmer months. If you don't want to use a bunch of chemical-laden bug sprays, peppermint essential oil is one of the best natural bug repellents.
It's not exactly clear why, but bugs — such as mosquitos — find this scent super offensive. One study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine found that applying peppermint oil on just one arm of a participant, protected both of his or her arms from mosquito bites for up to 150 minutes. Another published in the journal Malaria found that peppermint oil was notably effective in repelling bugs that carry horrible diseases like yellow fever. Some folks have even claimed that peppermint oil is also helpful with repelling non-insect pests like spiders and mice. Wow, we're ready to put peppermint oil to the test in our own homes this summer!
Some people swear by applying peppermint oil topically to repel insects. If you go this route, be sure to dilute it into a DIY spray, but it still may not be the best option for someone with sensitive skin. After all, you don't want to risk irritation before you even come in contact with a bug! (As a rule of thumb, you should always test a new topical essential oil on a small patch of skin before spreading it too generously.) We suggest using peppermint oil around your home instead.
A study published in BioMed Research International found that peppermint essential oil is an effective repellent when applied to cotton. All you have to do is put a few drops onto a cotton ball, and then place the cotton balls wherever you spy bugs hanging out the most in your home. For starters, you might try putting a few of them around the perimeter of the kitchen, or a room close to your front door.
Alternative methods might include simply diffusing peppermint essential oil in your room of choice, or perhaps even crafting a DIY repellent with a few drops of peppermint oil and couple cups of water in a spray bottle. No matter which method you choose, just keep in mind that you may need to repeat it a few times throughout the day for maximum effectiveness.
Psst: If all this talk about peppermint is just making you hungry, check out our decadent Chocolate Peppermint Slice recipe and treat yourself!