Make Your Own Natural Bug Spray

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There are many plants and natural ingredients that contain bug-repelling qualities. Many of these alternatives also have other benefits that make them excellent holistic options to more traditional bug sprays and repellents. Natural bug sprays should be applied liberally and frequently reapplied to gain maximum effectiveness.


Include Essential Oils

Some essential oils and ingredients that are effective in repelling pests can also irritate skin in some people, so be sure to test any natural bug spray on a small amount of skin before using more broadly. Here are a few options for creating natural bog sprays that will allow you to enjoy the outdoors while remaining bite free.


Essential Oils to Use

Essential oils that have known insect-repelling abilities include citronella, clove, lemongrass, rosemary, tea tree, cajeput, eucalyptus, cedar, catnip, geranium, lavender, and mint. Use of these oils in almost any combination will help keep the pests at bay.


How to Make the Bug Spray

If you’re looking for a great spray to apply to gear and clothing, then this is a great solution to consider. While we list one possible combination of essential oils, you could use any from the above list. All of these oils have insect and mosquito repelling properties. Place the essential oils in a spray bottle, then add the alcohol and shake well to combine. Pour in the witch hazel and stir again to combine. Add 1/2 tsp vegetable glycerin, which helps everything to stay combined. Finally, add the water and shake again. Shake this spray before each use, as the oils and water will naturally separate some over time.



15 drops geranium essential oil

15 drops citronella essential oil

10 drops lemon eucalyptus essential oil

10 drops lavender essential oil

5 drops rosemary essential oil

1/2 Tablespoon vodka or rubbing alcohol

1/4 cup Natural Witch Hazel

1/2 teaspoon of vegetable glycerin

1/4 cup water (or vinegar)


For a spray, you can apply directly to the skin to protect from bites and stings, consider this option.  


  1. First, combine 2 tablespoons of either witch hazel or vodka with 2 tablespoons of carrier oils in a spray bottle. For the carrier oil, you can choose one or more from grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, olive oil, or neem oil.
  2. Add ½ teaspoon vodka or rubbing alcohol if you used witch hazel earlier.
  3. Add 100-110 drops of any of the essential oils listed above in any combination that suits you.
  4. Shake well after each step and shake well before each use.


Natural bug repellents will need to be reapplied every few hours for maximum effectiveness.

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