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.

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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. Kathryn says

    Great article. 🙂

    I found it quite strange that the EPA had tested the “synthesized” version of oil of lemon eucalyptus, rather than the easily available essential oil.
    When I clicked on “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for effectiveness and human safety.[2]” I found the following:

    “Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus* or PMD (Chemical Name: para-Menthane-3,8-diol) the synthesized
    version of oil of lemon eucalyptus ”
    * Note: This recommendation refers to EPA-registered repellent products containing the active
    ingredient oil of lemon eucalyptus (or PMD). “Pure” oil of lemon eucalyptus (e.g. essential oil) has
    not received similar, validated testing for safety and efficacy, is not registered with EPA as an
    insect repellent, and is not covered by this CDC recommendation.”
    I wish they’d tested the essenatial oil, but I if it works, that’s the main thing, whether they tested it or not.

    Thanks for the detailed information and the easy to follow instructions!

  2. Beth NOLAN says

    As a migraine headache sufferer using any essential oils in this concentration would give me a horrid headache within minutes. Many people who have migraines are very sensitive to smells. Please add this to your warning list. Thanks

    • Doreen says

      Article is interesting. However, would there be a flaw in the test? If they used someone who doesn’t get bit with no repellent on, like my husband, then all of the repellents would work. How would they know whether it was the repellent, or the person? I get bit when no one else does. I’m usually wearing repellent, my husband doesn’t. I don’t like to use deet tho. I may try making my own using soybean oil and see how that works.

  3. Lori Cain says

    Can you add this bug repellent to sunscreen to cover both sun and mosquitoes?
    Will it also ward off Ticks?

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Yes, you could absolutely add this to sunscreen. It is effective against ticks, especially if using lemon eucalyptus, geranium, cedarwood, lavender, rosemary, peppermint, and/or lemongrass.

    • Colette says

      I will be using this recipe, thank you so much for posting. I just wanted to remind dog owners that dogs can be sensitive to essential oils like children are. My friend is a vet and sees many visits occurring from people over dosing their dogs. Plus its good to keep the spray away from their face.

  4. EB says

    Hello! I made this yesterday, and I was wondering, could the vodka be absorbed through the skin? I felt a little sick to my stomach and dizzy for about an hour after application. It could have been the smell of the oils that bothered me, but I was just wondering.

  5. Robyn Godfrey says

    According to Consumer Reports, you’d need to use Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), not lemon eucalyptus essential oil. The difference is explained in their article.

  6. S Stack says

    Does anyone have a remedy for noseeums, gnats, to prevent myself and my cats from being bitten? It is getting to be that time of year when they decide to invade my house.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      I did a little research and found a natural noseeum repellant with very good reviews. The active ingredients included 3% lemongrass essential oil, 3% citronella essential oil, and 1% geranium rose essential oil. This means the concentration of essential oils is 7%, and I would actually round up closer to 10% (which is what the concentration of my recipe is). Most natural brands on the market have a concentration of anywhere from 6%-15%, just in case you’re wondering about safety. Use the base ingredients listed in my recipe, then just be sure to use lemongrass, citronella, and geranium rose as your essential oils. Hope this helps!

      • S Stack says

        How much water and witch hazel do you add this to and how many drops of oil. I had a formula for spraying indoors which used lavender and tea tree oil but I have not been able to find it. I think it was 15 (?) drops of each added to the 4oz water and 4oz witch hazel.