Natural Homemade Bug Spray Recipe: Effective DIY Bug Repellent with Essential Oils

Stay bite-free outdoors with our all-natural homemade mosquito and bug repellent, harnessing the power of essential oils and skin-friendly ingredients.

Here’s a simple and effective recipe for a homemade mosquito and bug repellent using natural ingredients:


  1. Essential Oils:
    • Citronella oil: 20 drops
    • Eucalyptus oil: 10 drops
    • Lavender oil: 5 drops
    • Peppermint oil: 5 drops
  2. Other Ingredients:
    • Witch hazel: 2 tablespoons
    • Apple cider vinegar: 2 tablespoons
    • Distilled water: 2 tablespoons
  3. Optional:
    • Vegetable glycerin: 1 teaspoon (to help the solution adhere to the skin)
    • Aloe vera gel: 1 teaspoon (for added soothing properties)


  1. In a small glass spray bottle, combine the essential oils. These oils are known for their mosquito and bug-repelling properties.
  2. Add the witch hazel, apple cider vinegar, and distilled water to the bottle. These ingredients will help dilute the essential oils and create a well-balanced repellent.
  3. If using, add the vegetable glycerin and aloe vera gel. These optional ingredients can help the solution adhere to your skin and provide a soothing effect.
  4. Close the bottle and shake well to thoroughly mix all the ingredients.
  5. Before each use, give the bottle a good shake to ensure proper distribution of the oils.
  6. Spray the homemade bug repellent on exposed skin, avoiding your face. Gently rub it in.
  7. Reapply every couple of hours or as needed, especially if you’re sweating or coming into contact with water.

Remember to do a small patch test on a small area of your skin before applying the bug repellent more widely, especially if you have sensitive skin. If you experience any irritation, discontinue use.

This homemade mosquito and bug repellent combines the bug-repelling properties of essential oils with other ingredients that help the solution adhere to your skin. While it may not have the same long-lasting effect as commercial repellents, it can be a natural and effective option for keeping mosquitoes and bugs at bay.

Is homemade really better?

Using homemade bug repellent has its advantages and disadvantages compared to store-bought options (doesn’t everything?). Here are some benefits of homemade bug repellent and why my family prefers homemade over store-bought:

  1. Natural Ingredients: Homemade bug repellents often use natural ingredients, such as essential oils, which can be appealing to individuals who prefer to avoid synthetic chemicals. THIS IS THE MAIN REASON MY FAMILY PREFERS HOMEMADE.
  2. Customization: You have control over the ingredients and can customize the recipe based on your preferences and sensitivities.
  3. Reduced Chemical Exposure: Homemade repellents may contain fewer synthetic chemicals and potentially harmful additives, reducing your exposure to potentially toxic substances.
  4. Environmentally Friendly: Homemade bug sprays often use eco-friendly ingredients and reduce the environmental impact associated with the production and disposal of commercial products.
  5. Cost-Effective: Homemade bug repellents can be more cost-effective in the long run, especially if you already have essential oils and other ingredients on hand.
  6. Fragrance Options: You can choose the scent of your bug spray by selecting specific essential oils, making it more pleasant for you to use.
  7. Avoid Allergens: You can avoid allergens or irritants that may be present in some commercial bug repellents.

However, there are also some potential drawbacks to homemade bug repellents:

  1. Effectiveness: Homemade repellents may not be as effective or long-lasting as some commercial options that have undergone rigorous testing and formulation.
  2. Consistency: The potency and effectiveness of homemade bug sprays can vary based on factors such as the quality of ingredients, proportions, and individual skin reactions.
  3. Shorter Shelf Life: Homemade repellents typically have a shorter shelf life compared to store-bought options, which often contain preservatives to extend their usability.
  4. Risk of Skin Irritation: Essential oils, even though natural, can still cause skin irritation or allergic reactions in some individuals.
  5. Convenience: Store-bought repellents are readily available and can be more convenient, especially when traveling or during emergencies.
  6. Regulatory Approval: Commercial bug repellents undergo testing for safety and efficacy before being approved by regulatory bodies, which may not apply to homemade options.
  7. Risk of Inaccurate Formulation: If not formulated correctly, homemade repellents may not effectively repel bugs and could potentially attract them instead.

Ultimately, the choice between homemade and store-bought bug repellents depends on your personal preferences, values, and considerations. It’s important to weigh the benefits and potential drawbacks of each option and make an informed decision based on your individual needs and circumstances. We try to steer clear of harmful chemicals as much as possible, so the homemade option just makes the most sense for us (plus, it’s pretty fun for my daughters and I to work on together).

What is your personal preference? Let us know in the comments below.

XOXO, Jalena Dawn

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