homemade insect repellent

Homemade Insect Repellent Recipes

Do you know how to make homemade insect repellant? Bugs are annoying at the best of times, but in a disaster situation, they can be downright dangerous. Mosquitoes and flies in particular can carry diseases that rapidly spread. Without appropriate medical care, you risk death or severe weakness.

While keeping some pre-made insect repellants on hand is a good idea (we recommend this one), you should also know how to make your own homemade insect repellant. It’s easier than you think!

Hint: Try these recipes before a disaster scenario so you know which ones work best for your area.

Natural Insect Repellants for Mosquitoes

mosquitoMosquitoes can transfer some pretty nasty diseases, depending on where you live. Malaria, West Nile, and plenty of others will lay you low if you catch them and could even be deadly. For this reason, it’s a good idea to make sure you can repell mosquitoes.

Geranium Citronella Mosquito Spray

30 drops geranium essential oil
30 drops citronella essential oil
30 drops lavender essential oil
20 drops lemon essential oil
10 drops clove essential oil
1/2 cup witch hazel
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon rubbing alcohol

Mix all ingredients in a metal spray bottle (the oils will erode plastic bottles) and store in a cool place. Spritz as needed to keep bugs away.

You will need to shake this mixture each time before using.

Baby Oil Repellent

2 cups rubbing alcohol
1/2 cup cloves
1/2 cup baby oil

Put the alcohol in a jar and add the cloves. Shake well and set aside. Shake twice each day for five days.

Strain the cloves out of the alcohol and mix with the baby oil. Put in a spray bottle and store in a cool place. Shake before using.

Lavender Mint Spray (no essential oils)

2 tablespoons dried lavender
2 tablespoons dried mint
2 tablespoons dried citronella or lemongrass
3 cloves
1 cup water
1 cup rubbing alcohol

Put the herbs in the water and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. When the mixture is room temp, strain out the herbs.

Add the tea to the rubbing alcohol. You can either dip a piece of cotton in the liquid and wipe over your body or put it in any spray bottle and spray as needed for full coverage. The mixture lasts about a week in a cool place.

Natural Tick Repellent Recipes

Ticks are another potential danger in every day life, but especially when you can’t get medical care. These critters are known to cause all sorts of diseases, but even the harmless ones can cause a dangerous infection. Ideally, you’ll just keep them away altogether with these natural repellent recipes.

Herbal Vinegar Repellent

4 cups apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons dried sage
2 tablespoons dried rosemary
2 tablespoons dried peppermint
2 tablespoons dried lavender
2 tablespoons dried thyme

Mix all the ingredients in a glass jar and cap. Shake thoroughly and store in a cool place.

Shake the jar a couple times a day for 3 weeks. Strain out the herbs after this and store the mixture in a cool place.

To use this tincture, dilute it with water or rubbing alcohol and spray on the skin. If you use water, it is also safe to use on your dogs and horses. Do NOT use the mixture on cats.

Natural Fly Repellent Recipes

In some Central American countries, they hang up small bags of water with a penny in them. These do seem to repel flies, but you might want something else to try, so here are a few ideas:

Apple Cider Vinegar Spray

1 cup apple cider vinegar
5 drops lemongrass essential oil
5 drops peppermint essential oil
1 tablespoon dish soap

Put the first four ingredients into a spray bottle and swirl to mix. Add water to fill the bottle halfway and spray wherever you don’t want flies.

Rosemary Spray

1 cup witch hazel
5 large sprigs fresh rosemary
1/2 cup rubbing alcohol
5 drops lemon essential oil (optional)

Mix the witch hazel, alcohol, and rosemary in a jar and let steep for two days. Strain the rosemary out and add the lemon essential oil, if desired. Spray where needed.

Do you have a favorite natural bug spray?

Insect Repellent Recipes

12 Replies to “Homemade Insect Repellent Recipes”

  1. Lakesha M Malone

    As I am a Health and go green Affiliate I give this Article a 100, on a scale of 1-100. It’s very informative and the promotion of Holistic living kept me reading this article and I will refer to this Article for reference. Thank you for this post. Lakesha

    Natural products are Best! El Essentials

  2. Kyle Ann Percival

    Hi Genesis!

    Thanks so much for providing the great information. I’m a big fan of natural and homemade uses for essential oils, and I’ve honestly never seen these recipes before.

    I especially like the recipe for tick repellent that can also be used on dogs. I walk often with my dog and want her protected just as I protect myself. With the overabundance of rain in some areas recently mosquitos, fleas and ticks can be a more dangerous problem than ever before. 

    I saw where it is not recommended for use on cats, do you have a recipe that is safe for cats as well?

    I will be looking forward to more information from you about protection of home and family.


    Kyle Ann

    • Genesis

      You can use rosemary and peppermint tea on your cat occasionally, but in general it’s best not to use any essential oils on cats.

  3. Nicki V

    I love natural remedies and products.  This is an awesome list of different repellents.  I hate the smell of bug spray like OFF, and I always found that it made my throat tickle. It’s probably all of the nasty chemicals in it.  I am definitely going to make a few of these repellents next summer when the bugs come back out.  I’ll be bookmarking this site! Cheers

  4. Alejandra

    Thanks so much for sharing a great article to learn how to make a homemade insect repellent recipes.

    Living in the country in Canada, mosquitoes and ticks are something that has become regular problems to deal every day here.

    Have an alternative to make my own insect repellents will help me to stay safe when I go outdoors and enjoy more of the good weather activities here.

    Can I spray my pets (dog and cat) with the ticks repellent, as they are in risk to get some as soon as they go out to our back yard.

    • Genesis

      Alejandra, you can use the sprays on your dogs, but NOT your cat. Cats don’t have the same systems for processing chemicals and they can’t handle most essential oils.

  5. Denis

    This is great!  I am a very big fan of natural products and I just love essential oils.  I have a whole cabinet full of them so your Geranium Citronella Mosquito Spray will be certainly tried right here at home.  I have seen all kinds of recipes before but I really love the combination of citronella and lavender together, it smells a lot better than the products we buy at the store.  The only ingredient missing on my part is the witch Hazel, but how nice of you to even supply a link to get it!

    Will definitely try this one!  Thanks!

  6. Jennifer David


    Thank you for these really helpful recipes that I can make at home.

    Insect repellents are a vital part of the things that I take on holiday and I have found that although pricey the did not work and I still came back home with a load of insect bites.  

    I have had better success with just using lemongrass infused grape seed oil, so i am grateful for your recipes that I can now add to my list.

    Thank you


    • Genesis

      Lemongrass is amazing for keeping critters away. I actually need to get some now because I have a lot of mosquitoes in my area at the moment and we’re at risk for dengue.

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