Lots of people expound on the wonders of white vinegar--it's good for cooking, cleaning, and many other things, but only once have I encountered my favorite use for white vinegar--insect repellant!!! I share this tip with people all the time because it really is that good.
Yes, white vinegar makes an excellent cheap, safe, and natural insect repellant. I read this in the book "Talking Dirty with the Queen of Clean" and haven't read about it anywhere else.
I am a mosquito magnet and I live in a major mosquito area. If I go out into the yard after work without protection, even for 10 minutes, I am guaranteed at least 3 mosquito bites. Pretty much the same thing at any time of day. I avoid walking down to the mailbox and taking walks around the neighborhood with D (unless it's cool enough for pants and a long sleeved shirt) just because of the mosquitos.
So, when I read about using white vinegar as insect repellant I knew I had to try it. The first time I used it I applied it to my exposed skin with cotton balls. As you can imagine, the smell isn't great, but it does fade. These days I tend to douse myself with the stuff, especially when I garden. I take out my spray bottle filled with vinegar and water and spritz every bit of exposed flesh, including my hair. For my face I spritz the vinegar into my hands and rub on my face. I usually end up spraying my clothes too.
I can be out all day and not get even one mosquito bite if I'm doused with vinegar. I smell like a pickle, but it's worth it. Now I just need to experiment with a way to use it when in public without people make strange faces when they smell me. It's one thing to smell like vinegar when I go to the garden center, but another thing to smell like it at an outdoor cocktail party!
Oh, and should you go out without the vinegar and get a mosquito bite, put a drop of white vinegar on the bite and it will take away the itch.
For other great things to do with vinegar, check out The Vinegar Institute website.