DIY: All Natural Bug Spray

DIY All Natural Bug Spray | Henry Happened There are very few things I don’t like about summer, and one of them is bug bites. It keeps me from wanting to go camping or stay outside after dark. I just can’t stand those itchy, painful bites. The thing I have hated more than the bug bites themselves is using bug spray loaded with toxic chemicals. Kinda makes the bug bites not seem so bad, right? This summer I have a new plan of attack, and that’s using my own natural homemade insect repellant made with essential oils.

I have extremely sensitive skin, so it also makes sense to use natural ingredients for that reason too. Plus I really do care about what’s being absorbed into my skin and my kids’ skin. Making your own bug spray couldn’t be easier. Chances are you probably have some of the ingredients in your cupboard already.

DIY natural insect repellant-3 I did some searching around and found dozens of homemade bug spray recipes. I took inspiration from several places, but ultimately used this one based on DIY Natural’s bug spray. The one essential oil that popped up over and over was citronella oil. Unfortunately I can’t stand the smell of citronella (maybe that’s why it works so well on bugs!). I added it because of its magical insect repelling properties, but you can use different combinations of essential oils. Oregano oil is a great one on its own. I ended up combining lavender, oregano, citronella, tea tree and peppermint.

DIY natural insect repellant-2 When using essential oils, it’s important to dilute them with a carrier oil so they don’t irritate the skin. For this I used jojoba oil. Olive, neem, almond or other oils can be used instead. You could even use coconut oil for a lotion style bug balm. (Note: neem oil is a natural biopesticide and has similar repellant benefits to DEET. It should not be used by pregnant women and children.)

My natural food store has handy little glass spray bottles. I picked up one for the bug spray. You don’t need very much – a few spritzes worked great for each arm and leg. It does need to be reapplied more often than other repellants – every few hours or so.

5.0 from 1 reviews
DIY All Natural Bug Spray
  • 2 tablespoons witch hazel
  • 2 tablespoons jojoba oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure vegetable glycerin
  • 50-100+ drops of essential oils* (your choice) - peppermint, lavender, oregano, citronella, thyme, lemon eucalyptus, clove, tea tree, geranium, bergamot
  1. Mix everything together and transfer to a spray bottle.
  2. Shake very well before using as the ingredients naturally separate.
  3. Reapply every few hours for best results.

The more oils you use, the stronger the spray will be. I used this combination for mine – 20 tea tree, 20 citronella, 20 lavender, 10 bergamot, 10 oregano and 10 peppermint. The spray ingredients do separate, so it’s important to shake it very well before spraying.

DIY natural insect repellant What natural ways have you tried to repel insects?


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  1. Kim says

    Any récipes for a DIY fly spray? I have lots of pesky flies just circling round & round in my room now that temperatures are high here in southern Spain; only chemically-laden commercial sprays seem to get rid of them so I’d LOVE any alternative suggestions! Thanks!

  2. Galyna says

    Hi! I have a few questions:
    – Can I use rose water instead of witch hazel?
    – Is this spray safe for children (1,5 y.o.)?
    – Will it make a difference if I use another kind of glycerin (mine doesn’t say what its origine is)?
    I’d really apprecite your tips on these points :)

  3. cindy coven says

    Great recipe. I hate citronella. Did you use the other oils to cover up the citronella when you said you couldn’t stand the smell of citronella? I’m in Colorado and the mosquitoes are just getting bad. Thank you again. great article and recipe. Love your blog.

  4. Anne Dolin says

    Thanks for the recipes! Just an FYI – NOW essential oils aren’t as potent, nor are they 100% essential oils. They have a ton of fillers and extra ingredients in them. If you’d like to find out more, you can email me. just sharin’ the love! :)

  5. Ramya says

    Great article and definitely a must try for most of us. Thank you Lindsey for a nice article. I am from India and am already being bugged by mosquitoes as I type this comment, so I will definitely try this.

    Can I use this mixture as an alternate to after bath lotion at night time or should I use this exactly before going to bed? Please reply.

  6. Laurene says

    Mexican vanilla works for mosquitoes, but not horse flies. Avon Skin So Soft bath oil also works on mosquitoes, but can cause over tanning.

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