How to Make Homemade Mosquito Repellent

Citronella Candles Bootels on the Self

Mosquitos bugging you? Time for you to bug them by heading to the pantry and whipping up a homemade mosquito repellent. In this article, we’ll show you how to make homemade mosquito repellent.

Citronella candles, essential oil spray, or boiled herbs can all help prevent those itchy bug bites. Although DIY mosquito repellents may not have the same lasting repellent effects as chemical solutions, they do show some evidence for deterring mosquitoes for short periods before evaporating. 

So grab a spray bottle and some garlic, mint, or lavender, and let’s get rid of the mosquitoes that have been biting you:

Support for Homemade Mosquito Repellents

Popular household remedies for insect repellents include essential oils and herbs. While you may swoon over the refreshing smells of these remedies, mosquitoes are likely to think differently and stay far away. Below are some of the most sought-after natural repellents recommended by University Cooperative Extensions: 

  • Horticulture specialist Gary Bachman of the Mississippi State University Extension says the top herbs with some scientific evidence for deterring mosquitoes are lemongrass, lemon balm, bee balm, and lemon thyme. Other scented herbs that may help prevent mosquito bites include rosemary, lavender, basil, mint, and catnip. 
  • Jeff Anderson, the Agronomy and Horticulture Agent for New Mexico State University’s Dona Ana County Cooperative Extension Service, recommends essential oils such as citrus, lemon eucalyptus, cedar, garlic, and citronella.  

Using Essential Oils to Repel Mosquitoes

Essential Oils Bootle with Flowers
Photo Credit: Pxhere

Essential oils are extracted from plants, often used to stimulate potential health benefits and enhance well-being. The most notable characteristic of essential oils is their strong fragrance (which mosquitoes hate). 

You can find a variety of essential oil types online and in stores. Keep in mind that some essential oils are not safe for young children. 

It takes time to find the right essential oil combination that smells best and has a good concentration. Discovering the perfect recipe in repeated trials often deters people from pursuing DIY recipes. 

Things to Consider for Your DIY Recipe

  • Use an empty spray bottle for your repellent. A spray bottle will make for a simple and easy application to the skin.
  • Use water as your main ingredient. Add your preferred amount of apple cider vinegar or witch hazel. Finding the right concentration may take trial and error. 
  • Add the essential oil of our choice from the supported scents we listed above to repel mosquitoes. Add 8-15 drops of each essential oil or an amount that works best for you. Keep in mind that essential oils are very potent, and adding too much may be harmful to your skin. 
  • Apply your homemade mosquito repellant. After finding and completing your recipe, give the bottle a shake, spritz yourself, and enjoy the outdoors. 

Using Herbs to Repel Mosquitoes

Lavender Garden
Photo Credit: Pixnio

You can use herbs in a variety of ways to repel mosquitoes. Luckily, this allows for many creative recipes. 

4 DIY Solutions

  1. Boil the herbs for about 20 to 30 minutes to create your solution. You’ll have to determine the right water concentration that fits your preferences. After boiling, strain the herb water and cool it before putting it in a spray bottle. 
  1. Puree herbs and water for 1 minute. Strain the liquid into a spray bottle already containing distilled water. Determine your preferred concentration level. 
  1. Place the herbs in a jar full of water and store it in a cool place. After two weeks, strain the jar’s liquid content into a spray bottle. 
  1. With caution, place the herbs in a fire or make a bundle of herbs to burn slowly. The aroma of the smoke will help deter those pesky mosquitoes. 

Using Candles to Repel Mosquitoes

Homemade candles are an enjoyable DIY project. You can even make candles with helpful mosquito-repelling essential oils. 

According to a research study testing citronella candles and incense, the candles had an insect bite reduction rate of 42.3%. The incense had an insect bite reduction rate of 24.2%. Citronella also is as effective as DEET but loses its potency and protection as the oils quickly evaporate.

Consumers wishing to take a natural approach to mosquito repellent may also buy mosquito-repelling candles online or in stores. 

Take Caution with Homemade Mosquito Repellents

People making homemade mosquito repellent(s) are responsible for their health and their families’ health. Not all household remedies are safe for children, and not all household remedies are guaranteed to repel mosquitoes. Those following or creating mosquito repellent recipes must determine and research their preferred ingredient concentrations.

When to Call a Pest Control Pro

Call a pest control professional when mosquitoes are preventing you and your family from enjoying your outdoor space. Mosquitoes can transmit life-threatening diseases to people, so it’s necessary to eliminate them from your home and yard. Some pest control companies may offer natural solutions safe for you and your family.

Main Photo Credit: Keith Williamson / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Jane Purnell

Jane Purnell

Jane Purnell is an artist, writer, and nature lover. She enjoys teaching readers about the importance of eco-friendly lawn care, integrated pest management, biodiversity, and sustainable landscaping.