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Natural Insect Repellent Recipe with Essential Oils

Updated on March 24, 2016
Mint is a natural insect repellent.
Mint is a natural insect repellent. | Source

Why make your own bug spray?

Natural bug sprays and insect repellents are the preferred option if you want to minimize the amount of chemicals you and your family are exposed to. There is an array of essential oils available that have innate mosquito, flea, tick and fly repelling properties. Most essential oils used in natural insect repellent recipes can be found online or in natural markets. You will find that the cost of purchasing the ingredients for a natural insect repellent recipe is very affordable, and the recipe is easy to follow. More importantly, it is nice knowing exactly what you are putting on your skin.

Bug Spray Base Ingredient

Choose your preferred mixing base for your insect repellent. Grain alcohol (190 proof), which can be found in liquor stores, makes an ideal bug spray base. However, if you would prefer a moisturizing base ingredient for your repellent, use a carrier oil such as almond oil, coconut oil or safflower oil. You can also use a combination of grain alcohol and oil. Do not use rubbing alcohol in place of the grain alcohol because it will dry out your skin.

Effective Essential Oils

There is an array of essential oils that have insect repellent properties. When choosing essential oils be cognizant of the characteristics of each oil. Some essential oils are a skin irritant for people with sensitive skin. Additionally, pennyroyal should be avoided by pregnant women. The list of essential oils that you can use in a natural insect repellent recipe is rather lengthy, so try different essential oils to see what works best on the insects you are trying to ward off in your area. You can also add your favorite smelling essential oils to create a pleasing fragrance.

Essential Oils and the Bugs They Repel

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Essential Oils  
Penny royal

Insect Repellent Recipe

Use 2 1/2 teaspoons of essential oil per cup of grain alcohol and/or oil. You can use a single essential oil in your natural insect repellent recipe, or use a blend of several essential oils. Pour your mixture into a spray bottle and spritz your skin to repel the bugs. You may need to reapply your natural insect repellent more frequently than a concentrates, chemically based bug spray. If you are not satisfied with your initial bug spray concoction, try a different blend of essential oils until you find an insect repellent that is effective against the bugs in your area.


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I used grape seed oil and a mixture of lemon essential oil and spearmint oil- it smells fantastic and will work as a sun tan oil as well!

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Would it not be considered dangerous for some diseases especially?

    • Jean Rogers profile imageAUTHOR

      Jean Rogers 

      6 years ago

      Thanks kashmir56. I love your enthusiasm!

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      This is such a great idea to make your own mosquito repellent without any harmful chemicals in it. Thanks for sharing this great information.

      Vote up and more !!! SHARING !

    • Jean Rogers profile imageAUTHOR

      Jean Rogers 

      6 years ago

      Thanks Dan! I agree. That is a little freaky that the DEET ate through a bag. I try to put up with the bugs too, but there are times when the sheer number of them swarming you can drive you nuts and a little repellent makes a huge difference.

    • Outbound Dan profile image

      Dan Human 

      6 years ago from Niagara Falls, NY

      After I once had DEET-laden repellent eat a whole through a plastic bag, I've used insect repelling chemicals sparingly. I try my best to not use any at all and to just put up with the bites. Sometimes, though ... that is not possible.

      These are great instructions for making your own repellent and I appreciate the plant extracts that you listed.


    • Jean Rogers profile imageAUTHOR

      Jean Rogers 

      6 years ago

      Stephanie- Basil and mint would be effective and smell delicious!

    • Jean Rogers profile imageAUTHOR

      Jean Rogers 

      6 years ago

      ShootersCenter- I have heard of people using garlic bug spray, though I have not tried it. Seems like it would be great as a garden insect repellent, though maybe not as good to spray on yourself. :)

    • Redberry Sky profile image

      Redberry Sky 

      6 years ago

      Fantastic list of insect-repelling oils, Jean - the only one I knew about was citronella because I have some citronella garden candles that are supposed to keep flying insects away! Extremely useful info, thanks for sharing - hopefully if I use a couple of these I can have a sing- and bite-free summer.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 

      6 years ago from USA

      I like the idea of making my own mosquito repellent using basil or mint as I really don't like the commercial chemical sprays. I have basil and mint in my garden, so the ingredients are handy! :) Thanks for the very useful information!

    • ShootersCenter profile image


      6 years ago from Florida

      I've found that garlic works very well to keep pest away. Also any citrus repels most pest. good article, very informative.


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