Homemade Mosquito Repellent: A Natural DIY Mosquito & Insect Repellent

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Homemade Mosquito Repellent

This natural homemade mosquito repellent works for mosquitos, flies, and other insects. Apply your DIY mosquito repellent with confidence.

Homemade Mosquito Repellent

If you are heading outside for picnics, sporting events, yard work, or relaxing on the patio, chances are you’ve seen a bug or two already. While covering up is the best option for decreasing bug bites, it’s not always realistic. After all, summer is usually HOT!

In the past I have reached for cans of commercial bug spray lying around during cookouts and camping excursions; I figured it was better than dancing around like a wild turkey, slapping myself, and shouting at bugs while friends shot strange looks at me. However, I never felt quite right about it.

Matt has boycotted poisonous DEET solutions for years in favor of essential oil solutions, with great success.

Commercial Repellents

The more I educate myself about DEET and other chemicals, the more I’m convinced I have to be proactive about finding better alternatives. (If you’re new to the DEET issue, you might be interested in reading this article.) I try to treat my skin with the respect it deserves as it performs the difficult job of protecting my insides. Thank goodness I have discovered the power of essential oils and their ability to deter bugs!

Before you get desperate and spray on commercial bug sprays (that may contain some nasty chemicals that end in skin irritation or worse), take some time to consider the better alternative. A natural DIY mosquito repellent that smells wonderful is effective and takes only minutes to whip up.

So how do you make a simple mosquito repellent? I’m glad you asked, let’s take a look.

Lemon Eucalyptus Oil as a Natural Homemade Insect Repellent

The main ingredient in our homemade mosquito repellent is lemon eucalyptus oil. Which the CDC and EPA agree are safe and as effective as DEET, though not as long-lasting.

Further, citronella, lemon, and eucalyptus oils are common homemade insect repellents and are registered by the EPA and have been approved for topical use in humans.[1]

Also, About

Lemon eucalyptus oil has been found to be the most effective natural DIY mosquito repellent. Studies have found that the efficacy of this particular oil falls third in line, behind DEET and picaridin. It is the only natural repellent that is registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for effectiveness and human safety.[2]

Different oils repel different bugs, so it’s best to use a combination of essential oils for protection against mosquito bites and other insect bites. Don’t let a fear of being eaten alive keep you inside this season. Instead, invest in a few hard-hitting essential oils and test out this natural alternative to chemical sprays.

Homemade Mosquito Repellent

Homemade Mosquito Repellent Recipe Spray

5 from 1 vote

This natural homemade mosquito repellent works for mosquitos, flies, and other insects. Apply your DIY mosquito repellent with confidence.

Prep Time
5 minutes
Active Time
5 minutes
Total Time
10 minutes
2.2 ounces
Estimated Cost


  • 2 Tbsps witch hazel
  • 2 Tbsps of one or a combination of the following: grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, olive oil, or neem oil (which contains natural insecticidal compounds) – (find all these oils here)
  • ½ tsp vodka (as a preservative if not already using)
  • 100-110 drops essential oils


  1. Add carrier liquids to a small spray bottle (3 or 4 oz. works well so there is room for shaking).

  2. Add essential oils and shake well before each use.
  3. Natural bug repellent will need to be reapplied every few hours for maximum effectiveness.

Recipe Video


Sample Bug-Repelling Essential Oil Blend:

  • 55 drops lemon eucalyptus essential oil (Reported by the CDC to be a good natural substitution for DEET in repelling insects but not recommended for use on children under 3 yrs.)[3]
  • add 15 drops cedarwood essential oil
  • 15 drops lavender essential oil (If using, choose Lavandula angustifolia – “Lavender (40-42) essential oil” does not have the same insecticidal qualities.)
  • 15 drops rosemary essential oil

This natural homemade mosquito repellent is great for mosquitos, flies, and other annoying warm season bugs. Tweak to your liking and apply with confidence.

Made this recipe?

Mention @diynatural or tag it #diynatural!

Other Bug-Repelling Essential Oils:

  • citronella oil
  • thyme oil
  • eucalyptus oil
  • lemongrass oil
  • tea tree oil
  • peppermint oil
  • cypress oil
  • rose geranium oil
  • bergamot oil
  • lemon oil
  • cinnamon oil

(You can find these 100% pure essential oils here.)

Homemade Insect Repellent 1

Homemade Mosquito Repellent Tips and Warnings:

  • As always with essential oils, women who are pregnant or nursing should consult a health practitioner before using them.
  • Use extreme caution when using essential oils on young children.
  • Always perform a patch test to check for an allergic reaction before using essential oil for the first time.
  • Always label homemade products well.
  • Dark-colored bottles work best for products containing essential oils. Store in a cool, dark place when not using.
  • Don’t forget about citronella candles!

Mosquito Repelling Plants

Check out this list of mosquito repellent plants to grow.

Note: This natural homemade mosquito repellent is great for mosquitos, flies, and other annoying warm season bugs. Tweak to your liking and apply with confidence.



  1. Mi Young Lee. Essential Oils as Repellents against Arthropods. PubMed. October 2018.
  2. Cathy Wong. Which Natural Mosquito Repellent Works Best? VeryWellHealth.com. December 2017.
  3. Insect Repellent and Prevention of West Nile Virus. CDC.gov. December 2018.

(photo credit to Diane Jabs)

About Betsy Jabs

Betsy holds a bachelor's degree in Psychology and a Master's degree in Counseling, and for nearly a decade worked as an elementary counselor. In 2011 she left her counseling career to pursue healthy living. She loves using DIY Natural as a way to educate people to depend on themselves to nourish their bodies and live happier healthier lives. Connect with Betsy on Facebookand Twitter.

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for us to support our website activities, we may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for our endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this website.

DISCLAIMER: Information on DIY Natural™ is not reviewed or endorsed by the FDA and is NOT intended to be substituted for the advice of your health care professional. If you rely solely upon this advice you do so at your own risk. Read full Disclaimer & Disclosure statements here.


  1. Lee says

    Hello. Any recommendations for essential oils that might dissuade my neighbor’s dogs and cats from using our perennial gardens as litter boxes? I would love to find something harmless to use on the beds…

    Thank you!

    • Erika says

      I found the best repellent to keep cats out of my garden is to have mulch around the plants. We mow the grass, keep the clippings and place a thick layer on the garden. This has kept our cats out of the garden for years as they prefer open dirt! This layer of clippings also keeps the ground moist, so less watering. It also makes it so that we hardly weed.

  2. charlice says

    I remember when I was an undergraduate, we offered a course that teaches how to produce an homemade mosquito repellant. I didn’t pay attention to these then because I thought I could buy an insecticide cheaply. Reading this article actually helped me changed my view. I never considered I could be exposing my skin to dangerous chemical by buying from the store and not making my own.

    Thank you so much…

  3. Kristina says

    Hello. Since it’s not recommended to use the lemon Eucalyptus blend on children under 3 years old, what would be a safe oil blend to use on them to still repel the mosquitoes and bugs? Also is it safe to use vodka as a preservative if you will be using it on a child?

    Thank You

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Hi Kristina,

      Yes, you can still use the vodka as a preservative if using on children. For essential oils, you can use lavender, tea tree, lemon, citronella, cedarwood, geranium, bergamot, or cypress. Hope that helps!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Hi Geri,

      Yes, it does seem like a lot, considering most DIY products you’ll see only contain a few drops of EO. 🙂 I formulated this based on great natural brands of bug repellent on the market, which all list the concentrations of EOs in their ingredients. Most of them have anywhere from a 6%-15% concentration of EOs. This recipe contains about 10%. The effectiveness depends on whether the bugs can actually smell the EOs, so they need to be at a certain concentration for this. Thanks for your question!

      • Geri Gerry says

        Good to know, Betsy. Thank you for your response. Next, I’m looking for bug bite relief. Mosquitoes love my 4-year-old granddaughter. I check your site here.

        • Betsy Jabs says

          There are many essential oils and other remedies to relieve the itch from bites, but off the top of my head…a little hydrated bentonite clay rubbed on the bites will draw out the itchiness.

  4. Rabia @TheLiebers says

    I am a mosquito magnet and the bites swell up so bad on me. I hate the feeling of most bug sprays, but I may try some of these recipes out. I want to be able to spend some time outside without getting eaten alive!

  5. Zoom says

    Haha well I’ve got plenty of Vodka around! 😉

    I really could have used this in Thailand – the bugs there were OUT OF CONTROL! I ended up going with a 90% DEET spray, which like you say, isn’t so good for you.

    I’ll have to splurge on some oils and give this a go…better than just rubbing lemons on my skin 😉 You make it sound much less intimidating than I thought it would be!

    Thanks for the article 😀

  6. carolyn scardino says

    I use a combination of listerine dawn dish soap and water to get rid of all kinds of bugs from roaches to wasps. It is so very effective and if you use the mint flavored listerine your house smells good as well.

  7. Robyn says

    Just thought I would throw this out there. Rosemary is actually a neurotoxin for anyone with epilepsy, as I have. Stumbled across that one looking for info for a suitable spray for my two year old. A good sub for the rosemary would be tea tree. And for my son, I will probably try a combo of lavender, tea tree, and geranium. They seem to be approved. Here is more info on the epilepsy.


  8. jennifer says

    holy cow! where are you guys from? cause i’m moving! yeah, according to billy the exterminator, roaches love mobile homes because of the glue that’s used to secure all the pieces to make the house-so much for my moms 45,000 buck investment:( will try the link! thanks:OD keep up the great job guys!

    • Linda says

      Try boric acid tablets for control of roaches & silverfish. This is an “old timey” product that has been around forever, really works and is inexpensive. They are small white tablets about the size of an aspirin and comes in a box about the size of a deck of cards. I have bought them at grocery stores and hardware stores. You place them anywhere you see roaches & silverfish, just like you would when you use commercial bug sprays like Raid. I put them under sinks, in closets, behind/under furniture, in garage, in yard shed. I do put the little tablet on a little circle of paper plate or inside the cap from a plastic bottle just to protect my floors. The bugs will eat away at the tablet so you will know when to replace them. As with any product of this nature you must keep out of the reach of children and pets.

  9. jennifer says

    love your blog, totally subbed and rss’d–so my question is what’s the most natural remedy for roaches? since i live with my parents(yes i said it:( ) my moms mobile home gets overrun with those huge black and brown roaches, the kinds that are as big as horses and laugh when you spray them? (had one flip me the bird one time and take off!) i mostly get them in my bathtub and in my room of the house, anything you guys can recommend will save me from losing sleep this upcoming texas summer….ill have my spray bottle ready!:) thanks for what you guys do!

  10. Linda says

    Does anyone have a recipe for in house hold insect spray for around the baseboards and windows to keep bugs out of the house?

  11. Debbi says

    What would you recommend using instead of the lemon eucalyptus? I have a 2yo granddaughter and it says not to use that for children under 3. Do you know why? Other than they might lick the eucalyptus…and it’s not meant to ingest. lol

  12. Avery says

    i had another comment I wanted to post but can’t seem to find the strain that it would be more relevant to, skunk repellant.
    We had a problem with skunks meandering around our home and chicken house, I spent a few hours researching repellants online and found that a lot of folks recommended using mothballs BUT there was some question as to whether or not that was safe, then I found some information suggesting that skunks are not fond of things like eucalyptus and peppermint…. so, I took some eucalyptus oil and doused a 3-4 cotton balls, and some peppermint oil and doused 3-4 cotton balls, and took them outside and placed them around the outer edge of my house, looking specifically for any little holes under the banking where skunks might be tempted to crawl under my house, and…. I didn’t smell my wandering skunk the rest of the year.
    NON-TOXIC, all natural skunk repellant that seems to work….

    like i said, this may not be the right section to be posting this but hopefully if anyone is looking for this kind of information hopefully they will be able to find it.
    ((( I don’t know how well this would work for getting rid of a family of skunks that, say, has moved into your barn but it kept away my wandering skunk)))

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Oh wow, this is very interesting Avery! This is probably the best comment strand to post this info in, since we don’t have any other “pest deterrent” articles. 🙂 Thanks for posting!

  13. Maddy says

    Oops, sorry, scratch that last, I just read Avery’s comment, your reply and the air freshener article and am definitely going to give that a try.
    thanks so much:)

  14. Maddy says

    Hi Betsy,
    I was just wondering in you knew a recipe for something that repels bugs from a room. All those insect sprays you buy kill the bugs and have loads of harmful chemicals, and I was wondering if there was a way to make insect repellent for a room rather than a person. I’m afraid I haven’t made myself very clear, sorry, but I hope you know what I’m trying to ask! 🙂

  15. Genn says

    My bottle is small, but with only 4 tbsp of liquid and some drops of oil, there is barely anything in the bottle. Is that normal, or am I suppose to add water? lol

    • Betsy Jabs says

      That’s normal Genn…the recipe only makes about 1/4 cup of bug spray. Don’t add water, just double the recipe if you want more. 🙂