How to Use Mint to Repel Insects
Now that you know how to grow mint, there are several ways to utilize its bug-repelling properties.
1. Sachet Bags
Start off by buying empty linen pouches from your local craft store. Reusable tea bags will also work as long as they can be properly closed. To make the bags, start by drying the mint by hanging it for several weeks or putting it in a dehydrator if you have one. Once dried, stuff the mint leaves into several of the sachet bags. Break the leaves up as you do so to release their active oils.
Put a number of these sachet bags around your house in key areas where the insects are most problematic.
2. Live Plants
Simply allow your mint plants to flourish and they will do the rest. Mint likes plenty of sun, but they also need periods of shade, so chose a spot that has direct morning sunlight and partial afternoon shade. Also, to get the most out of your mint plants, harvest the mint sprigs before the plant flowers and always pinch off the flowering buds as they appear (5). Most importantly, don’t overwater mint.
As a tip, cut your outdoor mint plants to the ground and then cover them with compost at the end of each growing season. This trick also works to keep mice away!
3. Dried Leaves
For a quick and easy insect repellent, simply crush some of your dried mint leaves and sprinkle them in areas where you have the most insects. The mint will deter the insects, so make sure you place the leaves strategically. You can also use fresh mint or store-bought mint tea bags for this purpose.
4. Insect Repellent Spray
You can easily make a natural pest control repellent by using a ratio of five parts rubbing alcohol to one part peppermint oil (5:1). Another successful recipe calls for 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar (ACV), 1/3 cup witch hazel , and 5 drops peppermint oil (6). You can also find a recipe at the end of this article .
Spray your homemade insect repellent on your body before going outdoors. Make sure not to get it in your eyes, however, as it is very strong and can irritate sensitive tissues. You can also use this spray on your dog, but be wary of using essential oils on cats in general as they lack an important detoxification mechanism, known as glucuronidation, which is present in most other mammals. Some oils are okay to use on kitty, but you should always speak to a professional before using any of them on your cat (7).
If you do not want to make your own essential peppermint oil, you can simply use fresh peppermint leaves and the rinds of a few citrus fruits (oranges or lemons). Place everything in a small pan and cover with water and bring to a boil. Allow the mixture to sit overnight, straining it in the morning. Mix the mint-scented water with equal parts rubbing alcohol and put it in a spray bottle. You now have a safe, natural insect repellent.