A Homemade Natural Insect Repellent with Essential Oils

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.

Natural Bug Spray Recipe


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:

  • Eucalyptus
  • Lemongrass
  • Citronella
  • Lavender
  • Manuka

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.

Photo: Morguefile

About SatuR

has written 137 posts in this blog.

I am a freelance writer, a qualified aromatherapist and an authorized ashtanga yoga teacher. Making, trying out and learning about herbal and natural home remedies is a life-long passion for me.



  1. Hope says

    My personal homemade insect and pest repellant adventures.

    I live in East Tennessee and am the loving parent of four grown children and one very special Yellow Lab named, Axle. We leave the garage door up a little at almost all times so that he can come and go freely. Unfortunately, some mice decided to do the same. I first set out traps, however I couldn’t continue that due to the fact that I can’t bear the thought of causing pain to anything. So, I opted to try a few tricks I remembered from my childhood raising. My great grandmother, Callie Mae is still the most intelligent person I’ve ever known….when we would have issues with rodents, snakes, anything that, ” goes on its belly or is short legged, or big nosed,” as she would say can’t bear the odor of eucalyptus or mint. She said that it burnt their eyes, nose mouth, and that they would run for the hills. So, here’s what I did with that information…

    I used Eucalyptus (globulus) not the lemon kind. I mixed about 1/2 oz with half gallon distiller water, 1 c. Witch hazel, 1/2 c. Rubbing alcohol. Shook it Up, really well, put some into spray bottles with which I cleaned all of my baseboards, floors, countertops, under sinks etc. I then took about 10 cotton balls, soaked them in Eucalyptus for a few minutes and headed to the garage. I used a couple right at the point on the floor where the garage door closes downand on the seal of the garage door and wiped the concrete a bit to let it soak into the porous area. I then placed along the walls, behind things that are situated in the garage, like a freezer, shelving, etc. a few feet apart the remainder of the soaked cotton balls. Within 30 minutes mice began to run out squeaking. Lizards also no longer visit the inside of the garage and even the spiders ran away. I repeat the soaked cotton balls about once a month and so far so good. I hope this helps you!

    • Row says

      I live in arizona and something unknown is living in my garage. i have been a little scared to try and find out exactly what. It is big enough i can hear it. And it’s not a mouse. I will try the same in my garage.

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