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How Good Are Insect Repellents Made From Essential Oils?

Updated on October 5, 2014

Insect Repellent Essential Oils

An insect repellent is a liquid-like substance that’s usually topically applied, or placed in clothing and other areas or surfaces, to effectively ward off any type of insect. Insect repellents are also valuable items in combating the spread of airborne or insect-borne diseases such as bubonic plague, malaria, dengue fever, West Nile Fever , Lyme disease and many more. Insect repellents are also classified as either organic or synthetic. Synthetic insect repellents are made from chemicals and other synthetic ingredients, while organic repellents are derived only from plants and herbs, and don’t use any artificial components.

Essential Oils And How They Are Manufactured

Essential oils are derived from the steam distillation of plant leaves, bark, stem, roots and other parts. Essential oils are often described as to contain the true essence or composition of the plant itself, and most of these are made in concentrated forms. Some essential oils feature a dark color and have anon-sticky feel, while others such as patchouli and lemon grass, have clear yellow or amber colors. For those who are on the lookout for essential oils that offer more than just soothe the senses or treat pain and inflammation, and also drive away pesky insects, check out only with reputable dealers and organic manufacturers in your area.

Aromatherapy Essential Oils : How to Make a Natural Insect Repellent

How Organic Insect Repellents Do Their Thing

A number of popular insect repellent brands have ingredients such as catnip oil, neem oil, citronella oil, eucalyptus and other essential oils. Many plants and herbs can be effectively used as natural insect repellents. It’s true that many essential oils are utilized to ward off one bug or insect from another. These natural insect repellents are derived from plants and herbs such as clove, rosemary, cinnamon, lemon grass, melaleuca, peppermint and myrtle, or use a combination of both or more.   

Most disease-control experts believe that the usual synthetic, chemical-based insect repellents offer a longer-lasting effect than natural or plant-based repellents.  However, health and organic advocates disagree, and stress that most natural plant-based insect repellents are more often even more potent than traditional chemical-based repellents.

Citronella Oil Uses & Qualities Cymbopogon nardus Natural Oil Insect Repellent

How You Can Make Your Own Natural, Essential Oil-Based Repellent

These days, it’s quite easy to spot a number of insect repellents in the grocery. However, don’t you know that you can also manufacture  your own natural insect repellent too. Here are number of steps for creating our own brand or type of natural insect repellent. 

- Select a carrier oil that offers as light, soft and cooling effect to the skin. Some of the lighter include jojoba, which don’t leave a greasy, gooey feeling on skin. Other non-greasy essential oils include peanut oil , almond oil and grapeseed oil. Remember to not use greasy oils such as vegetable oil, because these tend to get real sticky. 

- Next, choose one or more essential oil variants that have been tested to have potent insect-repellent components. You can select  from oils such as cedar, catnip, eucalyptus, ylang-ylang, verbena, rosemary, frankincense and a whole lot more. You can also use a combination of any of these oils to create your own customized version.   

- Place an ounce of carrier oil and pour it into a dark, glass bottle. Use a funnel to properly pour in into the bottle.. If you got a larger bottle, you may wish to double the amount of carrier oil too.  Pour 20 drops of the other essential oil onto the dark bottle afterwards. Remember to put these oils in small bottles that have droppers or dispenser tips. Once you finished pouring the carrier oil as well as the other essential oil, turn the bottle upside down.
- Place the bottle’s spray top on, and shake the insect repellent oil slowly, as well as try spraying it on exposed skin. Apply this every three hours, especially when you’re often outdoors.

Insect Repellents : Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Insect Repellent

Some Studies Suggest That Essentials Oils Are Great Insect Repellents

Some clinical trials and research studies have found out that many essential oils are potent as insect repellents. A study conducted by the Seoul National University in Korea has noted that mosquito sprays which contain at least 5% fennel oil, are eighty percent more  potent after 90 minutes, as compared to chemical-based insect repellents. Another major study also concluded that thyme offers two major compounds, which are noted to possess potent insect-repelling effects, and is much better than commercially-available insect sprays.

Some studies have also shown that herbs and plant-derived essential oils like clove oil, are great for use against mosquitoes. However, clove oil should not be applied undiluted on the skin, or it may cause adverse skin reactions to some. A Thai study also discovered that insect repellents derived from the extract of celery oil were truly effective against a wide array of mosquito types, and were better than commercially-available repellents. Neem oil has also been analyzed to have natural insect-repelling components called azadirachtins. Garlic is a common household herb that also offers wonderful mosquito-repelling properties. Some believe that ingesting specific amounts of garlic may help to effectively ward off mosquitoes. A University of Connecticut study has said that they haven’t gathered enough data yet to provide solid evidence o the insect-repellent properties of garlic, and researchers say that they still have to analyze the effects of prolonged garlic digestion on warding off insects.            

You can actually make your own natural insect repellent formula, using essential oils. What you’re exactly doing is that you’re diluting a natural oil that mosquitoes usually find reprehensible or oppressive. However, because some essential oils don’t easily mix with water, you may need to add other oils into the mix-up.  But, just before you use or make your own repellent using essential oils, ensure that you don’t have any allergies or insensitive reactions to specific oil variants. If you don’t stay safe, you may experience a host of skin allergies or reactions from using untested stuff. If you’re breastfeeding or pregnant, you should stop using any insect repellent for the mean time, whether they’re synthetic or natural, until you’ve got a clearance from your doctor.

Essential Oil DVDs on Amazon

Natural Oil Videos on Amazon


Submit a Comment
  • HellScent Sprays profile image

    Hell Scent Aromatherapy 

    4 years ago from Orlando, FL

    Interesting article, thanks! Great suggestions & good info about clove oil.

  • shaktilove profile image


    7 years ago from nearby You - just behind 2 screens

    Great hub :) I thought about such mix before - next year I will make some formula, too. What about Lemon Grass - is there any experience, as well?

    Warm wishes ~

  • billyaustindillon profile image


    9 years ago

    Excellent hub - I have found citronella candles work well for mosquitoes - I need to try some of your suggestions.


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