Wednesday, July 23, 2014

DIY Insect Repellent Candles

Due to the fact we live in a tropical environment we deal with insect issues pretty much year round. To me it is a small price to pay for being blessed to live here but I am always up for trying new bug repellent methods. My hubby likes to sit on the back porch to relax and read often has several store bought bug repellent candles burning while he is out there. Awhile back I had come across and saved this link DIY Survival Candles with the intention of making them at some point (our electricity also goes out periodically).  So it dawned on me why not make them with essential oils that will deter insects. According to the above link a candle in an 8oz jar should burn for 40-50 hours. With the exception of the essential oil part that I added the following is according to the above link.

You Will Need
Soy Wax Flakes - 5lbs (I got mine on Amazon)
Canning Jars - I did 1 dozen 8 oz. jars but you can use any glass jar
Wicks and Tabs - I bought my wicks already pre-tabbed on Amazon
Essential Oils - 1  1/2 oz.
Double Boiler - If you do not have one, you can place a pot in a larger pot of water (this would almost be better as the double boiler I have could not fit the amount I was making so I had to do it in batches)
Wooden tool to stir with. I used a large wooden popsicle stick

There are several different essential oils that are good insect repellents, you can choose to do all one or a blend of different ones. Some good ones are Citronella, Clove, Lemongrass, Lemon Eucalyptus, Cedarwood, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Cedar, Catnip, Lavender, Peppermint, Basil, Rose Geranium, Cinnamon Oil, Thyme, Lemon, Orange, Pine.

Because we not only have a problem with mosquitoes and flies but also roaches. I chose Citronella, Peppermint, Eucalyptus and Lavender.  As far as what brand essential oil, you can read here Essential Oils my favorite brands but honestly (I know I will get a little beat up for this) because I am not rubbing this into my skin or anything I have no problem going with one of the cheaper brands.

First prep your jars. Personal opinion is that it is a bad idea to pour burning hot liquid into unprepared glass jars. :) Fill a large pot with water, place jars in the pot so they are covered and put on medium heat. Let them sit in the pot with the burner on while you continue on to the rest. If you are going to be doing this a lot you might want to invest in some canning supplies. I already had them on hand because I like to make my own jam. At a minimum a jar lifter and jar funnel would be helpful. Canning utensil set on Amazon

Melt wax in double boiler or improvised double boiler.

Pot of canning jars should be boiling by this point. Turn off burner and remove jars. Cut wicks to just above rim of jar and place in jars. They probably will not stay in place to begin with but we will take care of that later.

Once wax is melted remove from heat. Add essential oils and stir well. Essential oil has a tendency to sink to bottom so it is imperative that you do not do this step until wax is removed from heat and that you stir it thoroughly.

Fill jars. (you may want to transfer to a pouring device to do this step, I already had a canning funnel so did not find that necessary.) I do not fill it all the way to the top but leave room for a match book or small box of matches to go in each one.

 If it starts to harden before getting them all filled you can place pot back in the hot water and re-melt. Now you can make sure wicks are centered. If they are not staying in place you can set a popsicle stick or similar item across top of jar with wick resting against it. Let set and harden. Once they do harden you can trim the wick so lids can be screwed on. I made a dozen although if you fill jars to the very top it will make less.

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