News Home & Design This Nifty Natural Bug Repellent Comes in a Metal Tin It doubles as a lotion bar, which means skin that's moisturized and bite-free! By Treehugger Editors Treehugger Editors The Treehugger editorial team is a diverse group of experts—with advanced degrees, professional experience, published books, and more—whose expertise spans every corner of the sustainability space. Learn about our editorial process Published May 16, 2022 08:00AM EDT Fact checked by Haley Mast Fact checked by Haley Mast LinkedIn Harvard University Extension School Haley Mast is a freelance writer, fact-checker, and small organic farmer in the Columbia River Gorge. She enjoys gardening, reporting on environmental topics, and spending her time outside snowboarding or foraging. Topics of expertise and interest include agriculture, conservation, ecology, and climate science. Learn about our fact checking process Share Twitter Pinterest Email Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve Co. News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices News Archive Bug season is just around the corner. Perhaps it has already arrived where you live. Many of us will be reaching for cans of bug spray to keep those pesky black flies, mosquitoes, and ticks at bay so we can continue to enjoy the warmer weather outdoors. If you wish to avoid repellents with DEET or other strong active ingredients, you might look for a product that has been formulated with oil of lemon eucalyptus. This natural ingredient has undergone efficacy testing, is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency, and is even recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) as an alternative to DEET. (Note that this recommendation does not extend to pure oil of lemon eucalyptus being used as a repellent on its own.) Chagrin Valley Soap and Salve makes an insect repellent using oil of lemon eucalyptus that caught Treehugger's attention because it's a doubly eco-friendly product. It comes as a solid bar in a metal tin, which eliminates the plastic bottle and hard-to-recycle spray mechanism (or, worse yet, aerosol) that most repellents come in. You use it by rubbing the bar into exposed skin. The base made from shea butter, jojoba oil, and organic beeswax moisturizes your skin, while the blend of essential oils (including lemon eucalyptus, cedarwood, basil, citronella, lavender, rosemary, lemongrass, and thyme) protects it from insect bites. As the Chagrin Valley makers explain on their website, it makes sense to harness the natural defenses that plants already possess to fend off insects. "Since all plants produce their own natural pesticides as a chemical defense, our natural, organic insect repellents work because the active ingredients are those plant essential oils known to contain high levels of natural bug deterrents." It goes on to say that "a higher percentage of DEET in a repellent does not mean that your protection is better, just that it will last longer." Thus you will need to reapply a natural formula more frequently than a synthetic chemical-based one. That being said, if you live in an area where malaria, West Nile or Zika viruses, or other serious insect-born diseases are present, the CDC recommends that you use a repellent with DEET. In some cases, the risk of infection outweighs concerns about chemical use. But in most parts of the U.S., you'll be able to make do with something like the Natural Bug Repellent Lotion Bar. According to reviewers who have bought bar from Free the Ocean's plastic-free online store, it works marvelously well. One person said, "I was surprised that this bug balm actually worked. Here in Michigan this year 2021 we have had a lot of rain and the mosquitos are horrific. I simply swiped a small amount on my hand and lower arm, dots on the face, a bit on my feet and they did not bother me while I planted flowers, worked on the golf cart or took out the trash. I live on 8 acres surrounded by woods. This stuff works." Another said, "Just went on a hiking trip, where we were surrounded by mosquitoes, and I am so happy to say that this bug lotion bar saved the day!! It's super effective. And you don't feel gross using it, like I always did with DEET. Back for more for summer." In the words of Free the Ocean founder Mimi Ausland, "Many bug repellents contain chemicals unhealthy for us and the environment. Plus, they're typically packaged in plastic! This recyclable lotion bar keeps bugs away naturally, and happens to be super moisturizing." Sometimes you don't need the most powerful product to get the effect you want. Sometimes less is more, especially when paired with other commonsense measures like wearing light colors and long pants and sleeves during bug season. This product could be just the thing you need for a clean, green, plastic-free summer. You can order the Natural Bug Repellent Lotion Bar here for $9.95.