Make your own DIY essential oil bug spray to keep insects away without your having to worry about harsh chemicals! This all-natural homemade recipe blends citronella, lemongrass, peppermint, and eucalyptus oils to keep mosquitoes, flies, and pests from biting.
Living in the country in Kansas, bugs are just part of the deal. The first Summer we lived out here, we got so many mosquito bites and ticks, I almost wanted to move back to town!
Have you tried my non toxic sunscreen recipe yet?
First thing I did was order an all natural bug repellent. It worked great! But, because it was an oily kind you rub on, it wasn’t the easiest to use. Also, its crazy expensive!
When your kids live outside like mine do, its a lot more practical to have a spray version that you can pull out and quickly apply. So I started figuring out how to make my own DIY bug spray with essential oils.
Most commercial bug sprays have DEET listed in the active ingredients. DEET is a chemical that is linked to some pretty serious reactions and side effects, both physical and phycological.
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Why You Will Like This DIY essential oil bug spray
easy to make
It could not be easier to make your own bug spray! All it takes is 2 minutes to combine all of the ingredients and shake them together. Simple!
Buying essential oils for the first time is not going to be cheap. But once you’ve made the investment, they last for a long time! You only need a small amount of each of the ingredients for this recipe.
This homemade bug spray recipe is DEET free and made without any toxic chemicals. Essential oils are made from plants, flowers and fruits. You can’t really get much more natural than that, right?
safe for kids
The essential oils in this recipe are diluted enough, making it safe to use on little kids. It is recommended to avoid using oils on babies under 2 years though.
I have used this bug spray on my babies, but I just spray it on my hand and rub it on their legs so that it doesn’t get near their face at all.
The most important thing is it has to work, right? We’ve been using essential oil based bug repellants for the past 3 years and they definitely keep the bugs from biting!
Herbs and other plants have been used to repel bugs for centuries. Essential oils, being the extracts of those herbs, flowers and fruits, work as well!
What you need to make dIY essential oil bug spray
witch hazel – witch hazel helps to make this DIY bug spray not feel wet on your skin.
distilled water – using distilled water reduces the chances of bacteria growing inside your spray bottle.
essential oils – further down on this post, you can find the list of essential oils that repel bugs. A combination of any of these oils will work. I chose oils that repel chiggers, ticks and mosquitos since that is what we deal with most in our area.
how do you make DIY bug spray with essential oils
Combine – combine the witch hazel, jojoba oil and essential oils in a 2 ounce spray bottle. Fill the rest of the way with water.
Shake – put the lid on and shake well to mix the ingredients.
Tips for success
Store – store this DIY bug spray at room temperature for up to 2 weeks, or in a cool place for up to 6 months.
To Use – shake each time you use this bug spray since the essential oils don’t mix with water. Spray it on your arms and legs, back and neck. Avoid spraying it on your face. For best results reapply every few hours that you are exposed to bugs.
Variations – Any of the essential oils listed in this post will work well in a DIY bug spray. Just make sure to use a total of 30 drops.
Substitutions – almond oil, fractioned coconut oil or avocado oil can be used in place of the jojoba oil.
fAQ about dIY essential oil bug spray
does homemade essential oil bug spray work?
Homemade essential oil bug sprays can be effective at repelling certain types of insects. Essential oils such as citronella, lemongrass, peppermint, and eucalyptus are commonly used in DIY bug sprays due to their insect-repellent properties.
These oils contain compounds that can act as natural repellents against mosquitoes, flies, and other pesky bugs.
It’s important to use essential oils properly and take precautions to avoid any bad reactions. Essential oils are highly concentrated and can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions in some people, especially if they’re not diluted properly.
If you decide to use homemade essential oil bug spray, keep in mind that it may need to be reapplied more often than store-bought versions.
The Center of Disease Control actually recommends lemon eucalyptus oil as an ingredient in bug repellant. And in one study, eucalyptus oil surpassed DEET, as being more effective in repelling mosquitos!
Citronella contains citronellal and geraniol (known for their bug repellant properties) and can be as effective as DEET when it is combined with certain other essential oils in a homemade bug spray.
What essential oils repel bugs the best?
Different essential oils repel different bugs. Pick from the oils in this list to make your own essential oil blend that targets the insects that bite the most in your area.
Citronella oil repels gnats, ticks, fleas and mosquitos.
Rosemary oil keeps flies, mosquitos and ants away.
One of the best essential oils for mosquito repellant!
Lemongrass keeps chiggers, fleas, flies, mosquitos and ticks off your skin. A must have ingredient in a DIY bug spray!
One of the most effective essential oils in a bug repellant! Thyme oil keeps the mosquitos, chiggers and ticks from biting.
Peppermint oil deters ants, bed bugs, fruit flies, cockroaches, spiders, lice, wasps and more.
Cedarwood oil keeps mosquitos, flies, ants, fleas, ticks and lice away.
Wasps, bed bugs and spiders are deterred by cinnamon essential oil.
Tea tree oil keeps lice and bed bugs away.
Even though lavender is such a pleasant and calming scent to humans, flies, ticks, lice, mosquitos, bed bugs and ants do not like it!
Sweet orange is a great repellant for ticks, fleas, roaches, lice, spiders and flies.
Some essential oils are not safe for young children under 2, so make sure not to use this homemade bug repellent on infants and toddlers.
Are essential oil bug sprays effective against mosquitoes?
Essential oil bug sprays can definitely help keep mosquitoes at bay. But, some essential oils, like citronella, lemon eucalyptus, and lavender are especially effective at repelling mosquitoes.
So, using these oils in your bug spray is a really good idea if you have a lot of mosquitoes in your area. Don’t forget to also consider other preventive measures, like wearing protective clothing and eliminating standing water, to keep those mosquitoes from getting you!
Because it’s easy to forget to use bug spray sometimes, you need to make some anti-itch cream to soothe any bug bites your kids might end up with.
How long does DIY essential oil bug spray last?
The duration of effectiveness for DIY essential oil bug sprays can vary depending vary based on the specific ingredients you use, the concentration of essential oils, and the environmental conditions.
Generally, DIY bug sprays may not last as long as commercial repellents. So, it’s a good idea to reapply your homemade bug spray every 1 to 2 hours to keep those bugs away.
Some essential oils, like citronella, lemon eucalyptus, and geranium may provide a bit longer-lasting protection.
what are the best all natural store-bought bug sprays?
If you aren’t ready to jump into making your own all natural bug spray yet, here are some great store-bought options:
- Repel Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent: This spray contains oil of lemon eucalyptus, a natural repellent recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is effective against mosquitoes and offers long-lasting protection.
- Cutter Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent: Similar to the Repel product mentioned above, this repellent contains oil of lemon eucalyptus and provides protection against mosquitoes for several hours.
- Badger Anti-Bug Shake & Spray: Made with essential oils like citronella, rosemary, and wintergreen, this DEET-free bug spray is designed to repel mosquitoes and other biting insects. It has a pleasant scent and is suitable for children as well.
- All Terrain Herbal Armor DEET-Free Natural Insect Repellent: This insect repellent uses a blend of six essential oils, including citronella, peppermint, and cedar, to repel mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects. It’s DEET-free and suitable for outdoor activities.
It’s always a good idea to test a small area of skin to make sure you don’t have a bad reaction before applying any product more broadly.
more homemade Natural Remedies for Summertime:
If you liked this recipe, I think you’ll really enjoy these other homemade Summertime recipes on the blog!
I hope you love this essential oil bug spray recipe! If you make it, I’d love for you to come back and leave a comment and rating so that I know how you like using it!
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