Banish Bugs From Your Campsite With This Unexpected Beverage

Being one with nature, unfortunately, also means being one with insects — lots and lots of insects. From mosquitoes to flies to ticks, spending time outdoors usually entails communing with all sorts of creepy crawlies. That said, an effective bug repellent is needed to limit your contact with them, but if you happen to find yourself in a pinch with picaridin, don't fret. The alternative may just be nestled well within your liquor cooler. As it turns out, vodka can be an effective bug-repellent. Yes, you read that right. The very spirit that jazzes up your appletini can also come to your rescue in the battle against nasty bugs.


In case you didn't know, vodka, at its core, is usually only made up of two ingredients: water and ethanol. Ethanol, in particular, is a chemical that has long been proven to be an effective insecticide. While vodka might not pack the same punch as DEET-based repellents, it can still be a nifty alternative in keeping pests at bay, especially if your camping retreat leaves you with limited resources. It all boils down to how you use it — and your vodka of choice.

How to create an insect repellent spray out of vodka

Essentially, there are two ways to use vodka as an interim bug repellent. First, there's the straightforward method: spray or dab the liquor directly onto your skin. This approach is obviously the quickest, perfect when the threat of bugs is immediate and you have to act fast. However, it's crucial to choose a vodka variant free from excessive additives like sugar and flavoring to guarantee its effectiveness in shunning pesky insects.


But if the idea of smelling like a bartender straight out of a Thirsty Thursday shift doesn't appeal to you or your skin rejects raw vodka just as your freshman self does, another option is to unleash your inner chemist and mix the spirit with essential oils. In other words, you can concoct your very own bug spray by mixing vodka with drops of oils known to repel insects, like rosemary, cinnamon, lavender, and citronella. This way, not only will you shun bugs that may attempt to feast on your skin, but you're also simultaneously enveloping your body with a scent that you can actually tolerate.

Vodka can also be used to disinfect camping gear

The versatility of vodka doesn't begin and end with getting you tipsy and keeping bugs at bay. Your trusty liquor can also be used to get rid of germs and bacteria lurking around your camping gear and other belongings. Again, it's all thanks to its high ethanol concentration, the same chemical found in cleaning agents like rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizers, and certain soaps. "Vodka of a high enough proof (at least 70%, or 140 proof) would theoretically have the same effect as common household cleaners containing ethanol," physician Dr. Eric Lee told Hunker. It's an expensive cleaner, sure, but it can work as an alternative when you run out of other options. All you need to do is dilute it with three to four parts water, and you have a ready-to-use disinfectant.


Alternatively, vodka can also be used as an emergency deodorant. When you're far from the comforts of a functioning shower and starting to smell funky, vodka can come to the rescue. "The alcohol content in vodka and other alcoholic beverages helps kill bacteria on the skin, including bacteria under the arms responsible for body odor," Dr. Joshua Zeichner, an assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital, shared with Allure. By applying a diluted vodka solution to your pits, you can banish body odor and stay fresh in the great outdoors.