Mosquitoes. Those darn, annoying pests are one of the not-so-pleasant parts of summer. Luckily, you don’t have to use chemicals like DEET; there are some easy-to-make homemade mosquito repellents that are pretty effective at naturally keeping the little blood suckers away.
Today, I’ll show you how to make two easy homemade essential oil mosquito repellent recipes. One version is a spray and the other is an essential oil roller blend.
I live in the woods of New Hampshire and we have an abundance of mosquitoes this year. They’re bad, like really bad.
This year, I was determined to make my own all-natural mosquito repellent. I tried out many different essential oil combinations in pursuit of a simple, yet effective blend. And I finally came up with an all-natural essential oil mosquito repellent blend that works really well.
I’ve tested this homemade repellent in quite a few “buggy” situations:
- hiking in the White Mountains. It lasted for 2 hours with no bites.
- fishing on a hot, humid day (favorite mosquito weather). It lasted for 2 hours with no bites.
- around our front yard fire pit on hot, muggy nights. The spray lasted for 1 hour with no bites, while the roller blend lasted for 2 hours.
- sitting outside with my chickens. It lasts 1-2 hours.
The spray bottle version is great for kids. The essential oils are more diluted and you can spray on clothing if you’d prefer to avoid skin. Though if you use a high-quality essential oil (I recommend Rocky Mountain Oils and Eden’s Garden) you shouldn’t have any issues.
Note: I have not used this on babies or toddlers because my youngest is 6 years old (my babies are growing up fast!). You’ll need to do your own research to see if you are comfortable with using it on your little ones.
Please read my Essential Oil Common Sense Safety page before using this essential oil recipe.
I am not a medical professional and the information presented here is merely for educational purposes and not intended to replace medical advice. It is your responsibility to do your own research, consult with your doctor, and make safe decisions for yourself and your family.
I use the roller bottle for myself and adults as it’s more concentrated and works better in my experience.
Where the spray seems to last anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes, the roller blend typically lasts from 90 minutes to 2 hours.
What You’ll Need for the Essential Oil Mosquito Repellent SPRAY:
- Free printable essential oil mosquito repellent label (download here)
- 2 oz glass spray bottle
- witch hazel &/or distilled water (or well water)
- 20 drops Catnip – I use Eden’s Garden – you can buy from Amazon here or directly from EG
- 20 drops Litsea – I use Rocky Mountain Oils – you can buy it here or from Eden’s Garden – Amazon | EG
- 10 drops Citronella – I use either Rocky Mountain Oils or Eden’s Garden – buy from Amazon here or directly from EG
- 20 drops Lemongrass – I use Rocky Mountain Oils or Eden’s Garden (Amazon | EG)
- 10 drops Arborvitae
I highly recommend using ALL of these oils as they work best together, in my experience. I’ve tested out two, three, etc. and did not get the same results.
Example: adding the arborvitae – a little more expensive and harder to find – kept me bug-free for 2 hours while without, the blend only lasted 30 minutes.
(Read below for why I chose these specific oils.)
How to Make It:
Add the essential oils to your spray bottle.
Fill halfway with witch hazel and the rest with distilled water.
Shake well before using. Apply your free printable label, use a label maker, or simply mark with masking tape and a permanent marker.
Spray all over for the best results, especially on the neck, knees, ankles, etc.
Do NOT spray in or near your eyes. If the mosquitoes are especially nasty, you can spray a little on your hands and then carefully rub on your forehead, cheeks, etc.
What You’ll Need for the Mosquito Repellent Roller Bottle:
- 10ml roller bottle
- fractionated coconut oil or your favorite carrier oil
- 10 drops Catnip
- 10 drops Litsea
- 5 drops Citronella
- 10 drops Lemongrass
- 5 drops Arborvitae
Add the essential oils to your roller bottle…
…and top with fractionated coconut oil. Add the roller ball and cap.
Shake before using.
I apply this to the back of my neck, elbows, knees (including behind), wrists, ankles, and occasionally on really buggy nights, on my neck/chest, temples, and forehead.
Frequently Asked Questions About Essential Oil Mosquito Repellents:
Have you ever wondered why there are many different recommendations for all-natural bug repellents? Why would one essential oil recipe work so well for one person, while another had better success with a completely different blend?
The answer? There are at least 176 different species of mosquitoes in the United States alone, with over 3,000 in the world!
So if you’ve used an all-natural bug repellent in the past without any success, it doesn’t mean all-natural repellents will never work for you. It just means the pesky mosquitoes you’re trying to repel hate something else more.
Essential Oils that Repel Mosquitoes:
- catnip – a 2001 study found that Catnip essential oil repelled mosquitoes 10 times more effectively than DEET! source (The brand I used is a different species of essential oil than the study, but I have still found it to be essential in keeping bugs away.)
- litsea – a 2016 study determined “litsea oil had effective repellency in comparison with DEET and DEPA against Ae. aegypti mosquito at all concentration.” source
- citronella – this 2011 study determined that citronella is as effective as DEET, however, it does lose effectivity quickly as it “evaporates.”
- lemongrass – this 2013 study found that lemongrass was “an effective repellent against mosquitoes” and house flies.
- arborvitae – is known for its bug repelling properties and I have personally noticed a decrease in effectivity when I leave arborvitae out.
Here are a few more essential oils known to repel mosquitoes.
Know of an essential oil that works great as a mosquito repellent and it’s not listed here? Leave me a comment!
I hope you have great results with this homemade essential oil mosquito repellent spray. And remember, if your results aren’t quite as good as mine, you probably have a different mosquito species, so feel free to experiment with different oils.
I’ve also had good results using the 5 essential oils listed above, along with cedarwood, eucalyptus, and patchouli.
If you DO get bit by mosquitos (and I do too when I forget to use my repellent!), check out this essential oil mosquito bite relief blend!
Don’t feel like making your own repellent blend?
Here are 2 ready-made natural bug repellents I’ve used and recommend:
Herbal Energetics offers a ready-made bug repellent called “Don’t Bug Me“. It’s in gel-form so it tends to last longer, plus it includes bug repelling herbs, like thyme.
Here’s to a mosquito-free, all-natural summer!