Homemade Bug Repellent

by Merissa on July 2, 2012

in Featured, Green Living, Make Your Own

Post image for Homemade Bug Repellent

Bug Repellent...another thing with way too many scary chemicals in it! And I don't know about you, but I think the reason the bugs stay away isn't because of what's in the repellent, it's because of how smelly it is! Here are some essential oil buy spray recipes to try that won't leave your nose burning!

Lemon Repellent

Peppermint Repellent

Citronella Repellent

I found the little spray bottle pictured above at Target for less than $1 in the travel section. You could also re-use an empty spray bottle from something you have at home!

Since these recipes contain citrus oils this spray is best used on your clothing or around the area you are in instead of on your skin.

Do you make homemade bug spray? What's your recipe?

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rhonda Spain July 2, 2012 at 1:32 pm

I’ve been waiting on you to share your homemade repellent! Where do you buy your essential oils? And also, thank you for such a wonderful, down-to-earth site!


2 Merissa July 2, 2012 at 1:33 pm

I either get them from Azure Standard or from Amazon. I provided the Amazon links in the article above if you want to check them out:)


3 KimH July 2, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Just a cautionary note.. When you use essential oils, expect their active properties to be working on you as well when you spray them on you. There is a lot more to them than just their scents.

You wouldnt want to use any of these on a child especially at night.. or you either to be honest. Lemon, mints, & citronella are stimulating & energizing so keep that in mind. I would just test it out & see how it affects you & yours.


4 Jenni July 3, 2012 at 7:11 am

I never thought about making my own. Thanks for sharing!


5 femmefrugality July 3, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Smell good AND don’t get bit up. Such a great idea. Thanks for sharing.


6 Julie Bagamary July 4, 2012 at 10:00 am

Great tip. I have pine and sage essential oils from soap making. Would they work just as well as bug repellent?


7 Debi Bolocofsky July 4, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Great recipes. I love not using chemicals. I have a Blog Hop, and I would love it if you would link this post. You can find it at
It is called Wednesdays Adorned From Above Blog Hop.
I hope to see you there. Have a great Day.
Debi Bolocofsky
Adorned From Above


8 Laura July 6, 2012 at 10:47 am

We had a few bug repellent recipes on our site not too long ago, too:


9 Sarah @ Nature's Nurture July 7, 2012 at 5:43 am

Great post just in time for summer! Thanks for linking up at Tiny Tip Tuesday!


10 Pat July 7, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Wow that is pretty easy!
I have peppermint oil…that won’t work without the lemon added?
I’ll have to give these a try.

thanks for re-posting the week’s summary… I guess I must have missed this one.


11 Susie Earning-My-Cape July 7, 2012 at 6:01 pm

I don’t use bug repellent because of all of the chemicals. This looks like a great alternative!
Thanks for sharing with my Super Link Party! 🙂


12 Carolyn Givens, Richardson July 8, 2012 at 12:40 pm

I like simple homemade recipes for eating and ways to make homemade remedies… Thank You for your web site………


13 Jason July 9, 2012 at 8:45 am

Not a homemade recipe, but nonetheless something me, my wife, and 7 kids have used for 3 years with great effectiveness against all the deer ticks, lonestar’s, mosquitos, and other bugs we have out here in Southern Indiana. It’s called BioUD. An application will last for about 4 hours. It is a synthesized version of a natural oil produced by a wild tomato plant.



14 Carrie- young living oil lady July 10, 2012 at 8:13 am

Hey! Yes, I make my own bug spray too! Here is a link to my post on bug spray and recipes to use. I took my homemade spray with me to Honduras, on a missions trip, and I never had one bug bite OR get near me! It was wonderful!
Hope you enjoy my version of home made bug spray. Blessings to you! 🙂


15 Pioneer Girl July 12, 2012 at 10:06 pm

Awesome! I have a blog devoted to living more self-sufficiently (www.modernpioneergirl.blogspot.com) and a lot of readers have been messaging me to ask about homemade bug repellents. Would it be okay if I share this recipe with them?

Also, that seems like a lot of essential oils. Have you (or anyone) played around with the numbers to see if less works? Or does it just need to be that much to be effective?


16 Jodi Ralston September 24, 2012 at 9:35 am

Great recipes. I’ll have to play with them. I make my own, too, that has a lemon base, because I heard mosquitoes do not like acidic skin. But I never considered lemon essential oil. That will be an interesting twist.



17 Bug Repellent June 21, 2013 at 11:47 am

Bug Button is a non-toxic insect repellent that can be pinned on almost any type of clothing (hats, shirts, vests, etc).


18 kimmi June 26, 2013 at 9:23 am

Citrus oils are phototoxic, meaning when the sun hits them on your skin, it will burn. Imo, you’d be better off using the peppermint or citronella.


19 Roma Seiker December 6, 2013 at 5:32 pm

I agree. Citrus oils are probably not a good idea. I am going to try a mixture of peppermint and lavender next summer. I’ve heard vanilla helps, but it sure didn’t work for me. I think it even attracted more!


20 Wendy January 4, 2014 at 4:56 am

Just a note: citrus essential oils cause photosensitivity, so while lemon or lemongrass EO’s may be great at repelling mosquitoes, if applied to the skin, you may become more easily sunburned.


21 Merissa January 4, 2014 at 7:58 am

That’s why I would recommend this recipe to be sprayed only on clothing.


22 Becca June 28, 2014 at 5:24 pm

I have also found that Catnip oil works great too, plus it makes your cats love you that much more!


23 karen May 25, 2016 at 9:19 am

I made the peppermint one yesterday only with lemongrass since I was out of lemon, used it this morning when I took the dogs out.. not one bite worked great!


24 Rose Felton May 29, 2017 at 1:24 pm

I want to make a couple comments on your article. First….be careful where you get your oils. Some places add chemicals to their oils to make them go farther. You don’t want to be adding chemicals to your skin. Second…you need to be using a glass spray bottle or PET plastic bottles for your blends that have citrus oils in them as they will leach chemicals from your plastic bottle. PET plastic bottles are made so that doesn’t happen. Third…..Love your recipes!!! 🙂


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