How-to Make Homemade Essential Oil Insect Repellent Spray

by tastyyummies

Homemade Essential Oil Insect Repellent Spray

I am not sure why, but I seem to be one of those people that always gets bit up by bugs, even when no one else is. I can be in a group of 5 or 6 other people and I will seemingly be the only one. I must taste really good. It must be all that healthy, real food! After getting bit up pretty good, the first few weeks of summer, I was determined to do some research and make my own homemade essential oil insect repellent spray.

There are many essential oils, known for being excellent natural insect repellents.Here are just some of them: Citronella, Clove, Lemongrass, Lemon Eucalyptus, Cedarwood, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Cedar, Catnip, Lavender, Peppermint, Basil, Rose Geranium, Cinnamon Oil, Thyme, Lemon, Orange, Pine

Many of these different essential oils work especially well for specific pests, according to the research I have done, here are some of the more well known pests and essential oils that work as repellents for them:

Mosquitos – citronella, lemon eucalyptus, peppermint, lemon, eucalyptus, catnip, basil, clove, thyme, lemongrass, geranium, lavender
Fleas – cedarwood, citronella, eucalyptus, tea tree oil, lemongrass, lavender, orange, pine,
Ticks – rose geranium, juniper, rosewood, thyme, grapefruit, oregano

Some studies have also shown, additional effective ingredients include: Neem Oil, Soybean Oil, Vodka, Garlic and Vanilla Extract

Using a 4 oz clean spray bottle, fill it with 2 ounces of distilled or boiled water. Add 1 ounce of witch hazel or vodka then about 50 to 75 drops of essential oils, any combination of the above oils should work. If you want to add more varieties of oils, just add less of each oil you are adding in, if you wish for it to be less strong of a mixture, just add less drops. You just want be sure to keep the total percentage of essential oils under 15% for safety. I added approximately .5 ounces of jojoba oil for it’s moisturizing properties, but this isn’t necessary. Remember, you don’t want to fill the bottle completely full, so there is room to shake the mixture each time, which is necessary as the essential oils do not dissolve in the water and will therefore separate.

For this first batch I went with citronella, tea tree and peppermint essential oils, as this is what I had. I had just run out of lavender, otherwise I would have absolutely added that, since I am obsessed with the smell of fresh lavender. I also would have added lemon eucalyptus oil if I had some, as several studies have shown it to be the most effective amongst all of its natural counterparts.

I have used this spray several times already and it works really, really well and it has worked well for other’s that have tried it, too.

Hope you have as good of luck with this homemade spray, as I have!

Homemade Essential Oil Insect Repellent Spray

Sometimes no matter how much we try to protect ourselves we will still get bit. So how can you stop the itch or the pain?

• Apply lavender or tea tree essential oil directly to the insect bite.
• Apply apple cider vinegar to the bite
• Rub the affected area with a lemon slice
• Dip a chilled already brewed chamomile tea bag to the bite to soothe to reduce inflammation.
• Hold an ice cube on the bite.
• Create a paste of water and baking soda and apply directly to the area
• A slice of onion has been known to immediately remove pain when applied to insect bites

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amanda July 17, 2013 at 10:04 am

Just the other day I was out by a campfire getting bitten and hated spraying on the chemical-laden commercial spray. I’m so grateful for this post! Do you know how long the mixture will stay good?


2 tastyyummies July 17, 2013 at 10:15 am

Hey Amanda! Thanks, I am glad you are excited about this. I hope it works as well for you as it has for me. The mixture should keep for at least 6 months. Essential oils and their longevity vary but as long as you store this in a cool dark place it shouldn’t spoil. Here is a great post about the shelf life of essential oils, carrier oils, etc.


3 Kathy July 17, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Hey Beth, I laughed when I read your post, I came to the same conclusion as you, we must taste better from clean eating. I watch as others sit with not even a nibble while I sit with welts. SO I have found a combo of Vanilla essential oil/Lavender essential oil/Tea Tree. I kinda stink but at least I hardly get bitten …Tee…he..heee I am going to try some of your recipes, I like the idea of adding the witch hazel and citronella. Awesome post as always, thanks so much for sharing so much beautiful insight and wisdom.


4 tastyyummies August 7, 2013 at 5:43 pm

We must taste better! I have heard vanilla is wonderful, I will have to try adding it to the mix. Thanks for your lovely words, Kathy!


5 Alyssa | Queen of Quinoa July 17, 2013 at 12:37 pm

I’m TOTALLY that girl too!! Literally I feel like I always have at least 10 bug bites on each leg. I went to Costa Rica a few years ago and went out one night without repellant, woke up the next day and my legs were covered in bites. I think I counted at least 60. This is amazing!! I can’t wait to make it myself – saves money and is so much better for your skin! xo


6 tastyyummies August 7, 2013 at 5:45 pm

I hope you like this if you try it, Alyssa. I have been having great luck with it this summer and I agree so much better for your skin and wallet ;)


7 Bonnie Erbe July 17, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Or you can save the time of mixing all these oils and purchase doTerra’s TERRASHIELD that is a combo of oils that keep all bugs at bay. It WORKS! Contact me at the above address if needed. Want to be a consultant….good special going on this month.


8 Amanda Cleary Eastep July 17, 2013 at 12:58 pm

Hi, would love to try this. Where do you buy your blue glass spray bottles? We’ve been wanting to use them also for other after bath sprays we hope to make. Thanks for the post!!


9 tastyyummies July 18, 2013 at 10:49 am

Hi Amanda. Thanks for the comment. I grabbed mine at a local store, but you can find them online at places like amazon or from this website


10 Gina @ So Lets Hang Out July 19, 2013 at 12:40 pm

I am totally that girl too, Beth. On our honeymoon in Mexico I got so many bug bites that I had to go visit the doctor at the resort and get a shot in my butt. Romantic, right? I have no idea how or why I get so many bites! It’s crazy. I am totally going to be trying this!


11 tastyyummies August 7, 2013 at 5:43 pm

Ha awwww that’s soo sad Gina. Butt shots are definitely not for honeymoons ;) I hope you have good results with my spray if you try it out!


12 Chris July 22, 2013 at 6:47 am

I have been using a product called Sweetly Citron on Amazon that is similar to this and definitely works and smells good.

I didn’t want to go through the trouble of buying all the oils.


13 tastyyummies August 7, 2013 at 5:44 pm

Glad you found something that works well for you. I always prefer to make my own stuff whenever possible, the oils can be pricey, but they can be used for tons of other things too, so I didn’t mind. Plus I can just keep making more of the spray and reusing the bottle, which I like.


14 Salixisme July 23, 2013 at 8:40 am

Thankyou for this! I am allergic to mosquito bites and have to try to avoid getting bitten (sadly I seem to be really attractive to them too – they will even bite me through clothing so the advice to wear long pants and sleeves doesn’t even help).
I have been looking for a more natural insect repellant for quite some time!


15 tastyyummies August 7, 2013 at 5:45 pm

I hope this works well for you if you try it, Salixisme. You’ll have to let me know.


16 Becky December 24, 2013 at 1:02 am

Bugs can’t bite through nylon. It doesn’t matter that you wear long sleeves if the fabric isn’t nylon. I hope that helps you if you find you need it!


17 Kristin August 13, 2013 at 7:30 am

I’m curious though…I recently read an article that the only natural oil that is tested to work effectively – for mosquitos- is lemon eucalyptus. It actually tests close to the effectiveness of DEET. (According to the CCD, you can even use it in malaria-ridden areas.) Could that be used in a formula like this? I have yet to find a recipe for it and buy pre-made products which who knows what kind of carcinogenic base they have :(


18 tastyyummies August 13, 2013 at 8:36 am

Kristin. To be totally honest, I read SOOO many articles and so much research when I was making this the first time, each one differs and contradicts the other. I think the bottom line is to try out the various oils and see what works best for you and the bugs around you. It is partially why I included the long list of essential oils to choose from since I don’t believe there to be one cookie-cutter recipe that will work for all. We all have different bodies and where we live has different pests. I did just realize that somehow even though I meant for it to be, lemon eucalyptus didn’t get added to the list. I always forget that it isn’t just lemon + eucalyptus oils, but that it is it’s own thing from a lemon eucalyptus tree. Getting that added now. Thanks so much Kristin!


19 Kristin August 13, 2013 at 7:31 am

*CDC I mean.


20 eyedealistic April 8, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Do you know the shelf life of this product?


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