Summertime means more time outdoors, sunshine, and fun, but it also means more mosquitoes. Luckily, mother nature has a secret weapon that can ward off these pesky creatures: essential oils. Mosquitoes are naturally attracted to the carbon dioxide we breathe out and the lactic acid on our skin. Certain varieties of essential oils mask these scents and repel mosquitoes and other bugs naturally.
Traditional bug sprays do this too, but contain some not-so-great chemicals, like DEET (N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide), which according to some studies can be harmful to humans. All the more reason to make the switch to natural alternatives. Below we detail the best kinds of essential oils to deter mosquitoes, along with four simple DIY recipes to keep your family protected and bug-free.
Best Essential Oils to Repel Mosquitos
Want to know which essential oils are the best when it comes to keeping mosquitoes and other bugs away? Here are the top six essential oils that can do the job the best.
- Citronella essential oil
- Eucalyptus essential oil
- Peppermint essential oil
- Lavender essential oil
- Tea tree essential oil
- Cedarwood essential oil
To learn more about the additional benefits of these essential oils and how you can incorporate them into your daily routine (beyond bugs), take a look at this article.
4 Natural DIYs to Keep Bugs Away
There are many easy and effective ways you can use essential oils to deter mosquitoes. From sprays to diffuser blends, here are four go-to recipes for the summer.
1. Make Your Own Bug Repellant Spray
A quick way to send mosquitoes flying out of your yard is to create your own natural bug repellant. It can be spritzed on your skin, outdoor furniture, clothing, and even camping or sports gear. An added bonus: It’s affordable and only takes a few minutes to make it. Here’s one of our favorite recipes:
Fast-Acting Essential Oil Mosquito Repellant Spray
One 8-10 oz spray bottle
25 drops of citronella essential oil
25 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
10 drop of lemon essential oil
15 drops of lavender essential oil
4/3 cups of witch hazel
1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol
½ teaspoon of vegetable glycerin
½ cup of water
- Add all ingredients to a clean and empty 8 oz to 10 oz spray bottle and shake lightly. Top off with water as necessary.
- Spray away! Note: Be sure to avoid contact with eyes and mouth.
- Store in a cool, dark, dry place when not in use.
2. Create An At-Home Insect Repellent Lotion
Bug bites are itchy and uncomfortable for just about everyone who has experienced them. Prevent mosquitoes from biting your skin by making an essential-oil based repellent lotion. When applied topically the essential oils will mask the lactic acid scent of your skin and the calming properties will work double duty to soothe existing bug bites. Not to mention, the coconut oil in this recipe is deeply moisturizing.
Easy Essential Oil Bug Repellent Lotion
One 8 oz bottle or tin
⅓ cup of coconut oil
5 drops of peppermint essential oil
5 drops of clove bud essential oil
5 drops of lavender essential oil
- Ensure coconut oil is liquid. If solid, microwave for 15 to 30 seconds until liquid in consistency.
- Add coconut oil and essential oils to an 8 oz bottle or tin and shake.
- Place in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes until it’s lotion-like in consistency.
- Rub the mixture on skin, especially on areas prone to bug bites. Avoid contact with eyes and mouth.
- Store in a cool, dark, dry place when not in use.
3. Handcraft a Mosquito Repellent Candle
If you spend a lot of time in the backyard or patio, and still can’t seem to keep the bugs away, opt for making your own mosquito repellent candle using natural ingredients. Candles are surprisingly easy to make and can be made in batches to use all summer long. This particular recipe makes three small candles and has a wonderful, woodsy scent, which is ideal for setting the mood for summer barbecues or nights around the fire pit.
Mosquito Repellent Candle with Essential Oils
Three 4 oz glass canning jars (feel free to reuse existing candle jars)
3 cups of soy wax
3 candle wicks
30 drops of citronella essential oil
15 drops of cedarwood essential oil
15 drops of clove bud essential oil
- Pour 1 cup of soy candle wax in an empty coffee can.
- Set the coffee can in a stock pot and add a small amount of water to the pot. Bring the water to a slow simmer, until the wax in the can melts. Stir the wax with a spatula until it is completely liquid, no lumps.
- Cut the candle wick to 4 inches over the height of the 4 oz glass jar. Wrap the extra candlewick end around a pen or pencil and balance it over the jar, so the wick is centered and straight.
- Carefully pour the melted wax into the glass jar, making sure the candle wick remains upright.
- Add 10 drops of citronella, 5 drops of cedarwood, and 5 drops of clove essential oils before the candle sets.
- Repeat steps 1 to 5 with the remaining two candles.
- Let candles cool and solidify for approximately 2 hours.
- Once set, unwrap the pen or pencil from the candle wick and cut the wick to desired length.
- Place your candles outside or in areas where there are mosquitoes, light them, and enjoy a bug-free evening!
4. Make an Aromatherapy Diffuser Blend
Aromatherapy diffusers are fantastic at diluting essential oils into the air over time. Not only do they give off a great scent and are easy to prepare, they are also a great tool for deterring bugs (similar to bug repellent candles).
Mosquito Repellent Essential Oil Diffuser Recipe
8 drops of citronella essential oil
4 drops of tea tree essential oil
4 drops of lemongrass essential oil
4 drops of lavender essential oil
- Add water to essential oil diffuser (based on diffuser instructions)
- Add all essential oils to the diffuser
- Turn on and enjoy all-day bug protection!
While mosquitoes can wreak havoc on our outdoor summer plans, they are also easy to combat, thanks to natural remedies like essential oils. Try out the recipes listed above, and share them with your friends and family for a bug-free season. To learn how you can use essential oils to soothe itchy bug bites, take a look at this article.