Whiiiiiine! Swat! Grrrrr!
This is a sound sequence you hear often in our house these days. No, we’re not ill-treating our dog. It’s those pesky mosquitoes, which have taken over the world, and the grrr indicates that the mosquito has got away unscathed as always. We’ve tried it all — reed diffusers, electrical heat diffusers, repellents, agarbattis and sambranis. Not that tennis racquet swatter, though. Can’t bear to hear a mosquito sizzle. We have mesh on all the windows, but this actually serves mainly to keep the critters in, once they’re in, and excited by all the thinly-clad blood that surrounds them. The most effective thing so far has been Odomos, which is a cream containing citronella; and note that the mosquitoes have not grown immune to it over years and years of familiarity, as they do with most other things.
Though I don’t like creams (yech! sticky!), I am willing to put up with one in a good cause, i.e. not getting dengue again. The other trouble with Odomos is that it comes in plastic tubes. So I did some research on making my own. I used this basic Galen cold cream recipe, which is easy to use as the ingredients are measured in spoonfuls. Tweaked it a bit, partly substituting coconut oil for olive oil, water for rose water, and soya wax for beeswax. I used lemon grass oil for the active principle, as citronella oil is hard to find and I can’t tell the difference anyway, and the mosquitoes don’t seem to either. I ended up with a 300ml bottle full.
Yes, that is an ancient Herbal Essences conditioner bottle, thank you for noticing and reading it upside down. Recycling is my middle name! And the cream (it’s a cross between a cream and a lotion in consistency) looks like this. As it’s based on a cold cream recipe, it can double up as a moisturiser.
We call it Nodomos. Brilliant and original. It smells either wonderful or vile, depending on whether you are a human or a mosquito.
So: fun and easy to make, cheap, gentle on your skin (no unknown chemicals) and on the environment (though one ingredient does come in plastic, you can buy in bulk and keep it for years) and very effective (so far at least, a month down the line). Want to try it yourself? Here’s the recipe.
Homemade Mosquito Repellent
9 tablespoons coconut oil
9 tablespoons olive oil
18 tablespoons boiled water
2 tablespoons soya wax (I got this)
1 tablespoon lemon grass essential oil
Put the oils and soya wax in a tall, narrow container and heat on a low flame over a pan of water, stirring till the wax completely dissolves and mixes with the oil. Add the warm boiled water, a spoonful at a time, to the oil mixture, beating continuously. Use a hand egg beater or electric whisk, not your mixer-grinder. (Now you’ll realize why I said tall container! Mine splashed all over the counter and made a huge mess.) Once it thickens a bit and looks homogeneous, add the lemon grass oil, whisk again for a few minutes and pour it into your bottle. Shake the bottle vigorously every time you’re passing by. Over a couple of days it will thicken some more, to the consistency of a creamy shampoo. That’s it!
Go in peace, friend, and may you never be pursued by the devil that whines in your ear!