This homemade bug spray recipe uses natural ingredients like witch hazel and essential oils to create a natural insect repellent without harmful chemicals.
My family and I spend a lot of time outdoors, especially in the summer. While spending time outside is super important for your health, bug bites are defiantly not! If you’re like me and attract all the bugs and mosquitos, then it’s important that you find a bug repellent that works. Unfortunately, while many bug repellent products are available, I find they’re a hit and miss regarding effectiveness.
Unless you use commercial bug sprays with DEET, you will run into bug issues outdoors. Thankfully, some natural options can help repel bugs naturally. Below you’ll find natural herbs and oils that naturally repel bugs and a homemade bug spray recipe to use while venturing outdoors this year.
Natural Bug Repellents
Plant-based essential oils are perfect for making homemade bug repellent due to their effectiveness in keeping bugs away. Bugs have a love-hate relationship with plants, and these volatile oils are perfect for keeping them at bay.
- Lavender essential oil is known to repel mosquitos and other insects. It’s also a safe oil for children, making it a great choice to add to your own bug spray.
- Lemon eucalyptus oil has a powerful scent and is an excellent essential oil to use topically and in the diffuser. Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus is the only plant-based remedy approved by the CDC and has shown promising short-term repellant capabilities. Avoid using it on young children, and always test it on a small area of skin before using it to ensure you are not allergic.
- Peppermint oil is another essential oil that repels bugs due to its strong potent smell. It’s also an excellent essential oil to use on mosquito bites as it helps to alleviate itch and pain.
- Citronella essential oil is one of the best-known oils for repelling bugs. Use this essential oil in your DIY mosquito repellent spray or burn citronella candles when you’re outdoors.
Herbs are the plant source of essential oils and are less potent than volatile oils. They can be used more abundantly and are safer for children.
- Catnip has been used to ward off pests and bugs for hundreds of years. I use a tincture or catnip hydrosol as part of my DIY bug spray base.
- Lemon Balm is in the Citronella family and is a beautiful plant to keep around if you want to keep mosquitos away.
- Geraniol is an extracted oil from plants such as geraniums and lemongrass and has been shown to be more effective than citronella. Geranium essential oil is often used in bug sprays for this reason!
How To Make an Essential Oil Bug Spray
This homemade bug spray recipe uses a blend of essential oils, witch hazel, and herbal hydrosol to make an effective natural spray.
What you need for this recipe:
- Essential oils: Citronella, lavender, peppermint, and lemon eucalyptus are all essential oils in my natural bug spray recipes.
- Witch hazel: This product is widely available and has skin-loving properties.
- Catnip hydrosol or apple cider vinegar: Catnip hydrosol may need to be ordered online before making this DIY. If you don’t have any available, apple cider vinegar works as an alternative.
- Vegetable glycerin: This ingredient is optional, but I like to include it as it helps to disperse the essential oils evenly into the spray.
- Glass spray bottle
Mix the witch hazel, hydrosol and essential oils together in a glass measuring cup. Pour the mixture into a clean spray bottle. Give the bottle a good shake before using.
Homemade Bug Spray FAQ
- Do I need all the essential oils, or can I use one or two of them to make this spray? All of the oils in this homemade bug spray work to repel bugs. You can use one or all of the oils. Keep the ratio of oils to carrier the same.
- Can I make a bug repellent lotion with these oils instead? Yes! I make a bug repellent rub with coconut oil or olive oil. Follow the recipe as written below, but instead of witch hazel and hydrosol, use 1/2 cup of oil and mix it with the essential oils. Leave out the vegetable glycerin for this variation.
- Does this spray store long-term? I haven’t stored this spray longer than a season, so I’m not sure how long it will last. I suggest refrigerating the spray after 30 days to ensureensure the natural ingredients in the product don’t spoil.
Homemade Bug Spray
This homemade bug spray recipe uses natural products like witch hazel and essential oils to create a natural insect repellent without harmful chemicals. This homemade spray helps keep pesky insects away with simple ingredients like citronella oil, witch hazel, and catnip hydrosol.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 4 ounce bottle 1x
- 15 drops citronella essential oil
- 15 drops geranium essential oil
- 15 drops lemon eucalyptus essential oil
- 8 drops peppermint essential oil
- 1/4 cup witch hazel
- 1/4 cup catnip hydrosol or apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vegetable glycerin (optional)
- 4 ounce spray bottle
- In a glass spray bottle, combine all the essential oils.
- Then, pour in the witch hazel, hydrosol, and glycerin and shake well.
- Shake before every use as the oils may naturally separate.