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How to Make Bug Repellent Sticks

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How to Make Bug Repellent Sticks

Last weekend, my family went on a camping trip, and it reminded me of a project that I’ve been meaning to get to for a while: turning my bug repellent bars into bug repellent sticks.

I’ve been saving our empty deodorant containers for a while, with the intention of making our own deodorant, but one day while I was storing our empties, it occurred to me that bug repellent in stick form would be genius. It would be faster to apply; you could keep your hands clean; and it would be easy to throw into a bag for trips.

So, that’s just what I made yesterday. This is the same all-natural, no-junk recipe that I shared before, just in a different form. Want to learn how it’s made?

Here are my step-by-step instructions:

How to Make Bug Repellent Sticks

What You’ll Need:

Empty Deodorant Containers (you can save your empties or buy a set of empties)
Beeswax (bars or pellets)
A solid oil (shea butter, cocoa butter, shortening, etc.)
A liquid oil (olive, coconut, almond, canola, etc.)
Bug Off essential oil (a blend of nine essential oils that repel mosquitoes)
A kitchen scale

What You Do:

Decide how many bug repellent sticks you want to make. Then, look at your empty deodorant containers to see how many ounces they hold. Crunch the numbers to figure out how many ounces of repellent you need to make.

Bug Repellent Ingredients

This bug repellent recipe is made with equal parts beeswax, solid oil and liquid oil, so take the total ounces you need, divide it by three; and weigh out equal amounts of each ingredient (for the recipe to work properly, the ingredients need to be measured by weight, not volume).

Now that all of the math is out of the way, it’s on to the fun stuff …

Melted Wax and Oils

Heat the ingredients inside of a double boiler, until they are full melted. (Wax is highly flammable when heated directly, so the double boiler is a must. A pyrex measuring cup inside of a pot of water will do the trick. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy.)

Empty Deodorant Containers

Pour the melted ingredients into the deodorant containers (if you’re reusing containers, make sure they’re rolled all the way down first).

Add Bug Off Essential Oil

Then, add several drops of Bug Off essential oil to each stick (I used 15 drops in each), and stir to distribute the fragrance throughout the sticks.

Homemade Bug Repellent Sticks

Allow them to harden. Then, your sticks are ready to use.

This video shows you how to make my bug repellent sticks, as well as my bug repellent bars and bug spray.

Other Things You Can Make with Beeswax

Whipped Body Butter Recipe

How to Make Whipped Body Butter

How to Make Lotion Bars

How to Make Lotion Bars

8x8 Pan with Reusable Wrap Cover

How to Make Reusable Food Wraps

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  1. Thank you sooooo much for this post! I was just thinking the other day how camping and some outdoor activities can really eat into our budget because all the bug spray we have to use around here. Its ridiculous really. I have been inspired by your post now, thank yo so much!

  2. hey Erin, this sounds just like what I need! where do you get empty deodorant containers?

    and can you and what would you use for ticks and knats? I got Lyme disease last year, so hate going outside. and of course, there “aint” nothin that repels or kills the knats.

    any help please? thanks! love your ideas

    1. Hi Sue, I clean out our empty deodorant containers and reuse them, but you can also order empty ones from Amazon or soap/candlemaking companies.

      Since our weekend homestead sat abandoned for 12 years before we bought it, we’re also tackling a tick problem at the moment. Here’s my plan of action.

      My bug repellent sticks will also help with the ticks.

      As to the gnats, I’m afraid I don’t have any advice to offer just yet. Maybe I need to work on that. They annoy me, too.

      1. If you don’t live in town, get some guinea fowl. They will take care of lots of bugs. Chickens will also.

    2. Hey there. I actually do know of something that will repel gnats. Rose Geranium oil. I applied it directly to my skin and hair (unfortunatly! LOL!) It works awesome but the smell stays on you for days! And after I did that I read somewhere that you weren’t supposed to apply oils directly to your skin. So, there were no other adverse reactions….just the smell…….even after 4 showers…….is still there. 🙁 Oh well! Life goes on! 😉

      1. Rose geranium oil works great as a bug repellent (it’ll keep gnats, ticks and all sorts of other pests away), but like Elizabeth mentioned, essential oils should never be applied directly to the skin — they need to be diluted to a safe level first. Try using it in my bug repellent stick recipe, or my bug spray recipe.

  3. So, I tried using the bug repellent today and found that I attracted a very persistent bee. He kept landing on my legs. Yikes! Is this a common thing or just a coincidence. Thinking I won’t want to use this for gardening if i’m going to have bees landing on me all the time. Thoughts?

    1. Hmmm … I haven’t had that happen before, and we use them all the time. Hopefully it was just a coincidence.

  4. How much does each of your deodorant containers hold? I’m trying to figure out how to determine what 1% of the recipe is. Since you added 15 drops of essential oil to each deodorant container, it might be helpful to me to know the volume of each container.

    Also, is there any particular reason why you didn’t add the essential oil to the mixture BEFORE pouring it into the containers?

    1. A typical deodorant tube holds two ounces of product by volume. I think it’s something like 1.65 oz by weight. And yes, you can add the essential oil to the melted mixture before you pour.

  5. Hello. Made this tonite 🙂 I had saved 3 deodorant containers to use. Poured the mixture in and two of the containers didn’t hold the mixture. Leaked right out the bottom. I quickly turned them into bug bars in heart molds lol. Question is application. The kids love to do everything themselves. Do you think it’s safe enough to be all over their hands? I used the plant therapy kids-safe blend but oils are strong! Thanks.

  6. I made these today, and they seem to be cracking from shrinking in the container somewhat, during cooling. Has this happened to you?

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