Essential oils are natural, chemical-free alternatives to store-bought bug sprays. Many essential oils are mosquito repellents. Lemongrass and Citronella are the most commonly used in natural bug sprays, but most lemon-scented essential oils are insecticides. Other good options include Eucalyptus and Lavender.
Eucalyptus essential oil deters mosquitoes and other insects, and it works even against fleas on dogs and cats (but never use undiluted essential oils on your pets! Try a more pet-specific option for homemade natural flea repellents). Lavender is another natural mosquito repellent, and it works for other insects too. Fresh lavender flowers are known to keep moths away from bed linens and other household textiles. If you have been bitten by a mosquito, add a drop of lavender oil directly on the spot, and it will help to relieve the itching. Lavender is also used in natural products and treatments against head lice.
A Really Easy Natural Insect Repellent Recipe
A typical natural bug repellent contains water, witch hazel, and essential oils. Witch hazel is sometimes used to treat insect bites, wounds, and skin irritations. If you don’t have any witch hazel, just add a little alcohol to the water. Essential oils do not disperse in water and will just float at the top of the blend, so the alcohol is used as a dispersant. Always shake your insect repellent bottle really well before use.
This recipe is from Patricia Davis: Aromatherapy: An A-Z: The Most Comprehensive Guide to Aromatherapy Ever Published .
- 200 ml water (ideally distilled water)
- 20 drops of essential oils (choose from the list below)
- a little alcohol (optional)
OR use approximately half and half of distilled water and witch hazel, and omit the alcohol.
Essential Oils for a Homemade Bug Repellent:
Choose 3-4 oils for your blend. Most of these oils blend well together. You can even create your homemade mosquito repellent with just one oil, such as Citronella or Lemongrass, but essential oils usually work better in combination.
Blend all ingredients, stir/shake well, and bottle the blend. Essential oils should always be stored in glass bottles and not plastic, so ideally you would keep your bug spray in a small glass bottle with a spray top.
This blend can be sprayed on the skin, on the clothes, and even used as a room spray. Avoid the eyes, and be careful with sensitive skin – spray on a small area of skin first before using on the whole body.
Other ways to keep insects from the house:
- burn Lemongrass or Citronella in your essential oils burner/vaporizer
- add a drop or two of any insecticide essential oils to your cleaning solution when mopping the floors
- add a drop of Peppermint essential oil to water (or whatever cleaning solution you’re using) when cleaning the pantry: it will keep ants and mice away.