Essential Oil Article Herb Article Recipes

Build-a-Better Bug Spray

Forget those commercial brands of insect repellent and build a better bug spray. There are smelly and toxic to our health. Lucky for us there are many essential oils that will repel insects. In addition to repelling insects many of these oils smell great and offer added healthy benefits. Water, sweat and evaporation reduce the effectiveness of these homemade insect repellants so apply often for best results.

Oils for insect repellants include: Castor Oil, Catnip EO, Cedar EO, Cinnamon EO, Citronella EO, Clove EO, Geranium EO, Lavender EO, Lemongrass EO, Lemon Eucalyptus EO, Peppermint EO, and Rosemary EO.

-Apply castor oil to all exposed areas of your skin to prolong the effectiveness you can add an insect repelling essential oil to it.

-If the castor oil is too greasy, you can mix 1 part castor oil to 10 parts rubbing alcohol for a smoother, drier feel to your skin.

-Castor oil is also effective against insects when added to your daily shampoo or liquid body wash.

-Add any of the above essential oils of a therapeutic grade to castor oil for skin applications.

-Cinnamon oil has the ability to kill mosquito larvae. Added to lotion, sunscreen or castor oil or diluted in distilled water all make effective mosquito repellents.

-Catnip essential oil can be as effective as DEET, the catnip tincture is less expensive and very effective.

-In a spray bottle add 5-7 drops essential oil to 2-4 ounces of distilled water, rubbing alcohol or grain alcohol shake well and mist on carpet, furniture or anywhere it’s needed for flea, mosquito or other pest control.

-Add a few drops of essential oil to your favorite sunscreen or lotion in the palm of your hand, then apply it to your skin before going outdoors.

-Ward off ants and flies with spearmint or peppermint.
To repel ants and flies on your deck or patio, keep a pot or two of mint near seating areas, where you’ll also enjoy the refreshing scent.

-If an insect still manages to sting or bite you, apply a soothing paste of baking soda, water and a little lemon juice to the area.

-Lavender essential oil will also take away the sting.


Bug-Away Spray

4 ounces fresh catnip tincture (95 percent alcohol)
4 ounces witch hazel extract
8 drops organic citronella essential oil
8 drops organic eucalyptus essential oil
4 drops organic lavender essential oil
2 drops organic rosemary essential oil
1 drops organic lemongrass essential oil
1 drops organic lemon essential oil
(for a stronger formula double each essential oil drops)

1. Mix all ingredients in an 8 oz. spray bottle and shake well before using.
2. Re-apply as often as needed.

CAUTION: Do not get in eyes. Be careful to wash your hands after applying the essential oils, lotions or sunscreens.


Cox, Janice. (1999) Natural Beauty from the Garden. Henry Holt and Company.
Herb Companion Magazine April/May 2008 Issue (Mountain Rose Herbs Bug-Away Spray) (accessed June 2012)
Natural Health Solutions (accessed June 2012)

1 reply on “Build-a-Better Bug Spray”

I have seen essential oils in a lot of recipes for bug sprays or using them on an oil burner to repel them. I didn’t think about adding them into lotion and applying it that way. I also read that taking vinegar will also prevent mosquitoes from biting you.

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