Easy Homemade Essential Oil Bug Spray

With summer just around the corner and warm weather on the rise one of the most annoying insects is starting to emerge.. the mosquito. While we can’t stop them from coming we can make sure that we are protecting ourselves from getting bit. That is when most people are turning to bug spray.

The Issue with Regular Bug Spray

The main problem with bug spray is that it is actually made out of DEET. DEET is one of the most common ingredients in bug spray and has actually been linked with neurological issues.

One of the most widely used ingredients in store-bought conventional bug sprays for personal use is N,N-Diethyl-m-toluamide, or DEET, as it’s commonly known. DEET, which is designed to repel, rather than kill, insects. DEET is used by an estimated one-third of the US population each year.

Although DEET is approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it is a known eye irritant and can cause rashes, soreness, or blistering when applied to the skin. Additionally, DEET has been linked to neurological problems; according to the EPA, at least 18 different cases of children suffering adverse neurological effects, as well as the deaths of two adults, have been associated with DEET. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center have found that DEET causes diffuse brain cell death and behavioral changes in rats.

DEET has been shown to have a negative impact on wildlife and water sources in production and during use. DEET is toxic to birds and aquatic life. DEET has been found in approximately 75 percent of U.S. water sources, including the Mississippi River.

-Green Your Body

I don’t want to contribute to environmental issues or cause permanent neurological issues in myself or my family so I have instead decided to turn to a more natural source for my insect repellant, namely essential oils.

Making insect repellant out of some essential oils only takes a few minuets and you will feel a lot better about your toxic free environment.

If You’re NOT into DIY, Here are 3 Great Natural Insect Repellent Options You Can Buy…

Now if making things with herbs or essential oils isn’t really your thing then there are some natural repellent brands that you can pick up. They are good because they are safe for children and also great for people with sensitive skin.

Here are 3 of our favorites:

-> Herbal Armor (allergy tested)
-> Babyganics natural insect repellent (safe for children)
-> Yellow Bird Insect Repellent

Insect Repellant From Fresh or Dried Herbs

First, I am going to go over how to make it at home with herbs from your own garden then I will go over some stronger recipes and the essential oil repellent recipe.


  • 1 cup of Distilled water
  • 1 cup of Rubbing alcohol or Witch hazel
  • 3-4 TBSP Dried herbs: Get at least one herb from the mint family for best results. Try lavender, catnip, citronella, lemongrass, peppermint, catnip or spearmint.

Fresh or Dried Herb Instructions

  1. Boil 1 cup of the distilled water and then add 3-4 TBSP of fresh or dried herbs. You can use any combination you like from the list above and even add in some dried cloves. One example combination is 1TBSP of spearmint, catnip, lavender and peppermint.
  2. Next, mix it all up, cover the pot and allow the whole mixture to cool. Covering the pot is very important for keeping the volatile oils inside the mixture.
  3. Using a strainer take the herbs out and keep the fluid. You will then mix 1 cup of rubbing alcohol or witch hazel with it.
  4. Pour the liquid into a glass spray bottle and then let it sit in a cool place such as the fridge.
  5. Spray on skin whenever you need to use it.

BONUS TIP: If you want to make the insect repellant really strong then make them into a tincture.

Essential Oil Bug Spray Blend

It may be wise to research each of the essential oils that you want to use in your recipe to make sure they are safe to go on your skin as well as on your children. If they are not safe then spray this mixture onto clothing, backpacks, and other gear to keep the bugs away.

Bug Spray Ingredients

  • Essential oils: Just like the recipe above I recommend grabbing from the mint family first and then adding some preferred flavors into the blend such as tea tree, rosemary, catnip, mint, lavender, clove, citronella, cajeput, cedar, or eucalyptus.
  • Witch Hazel
  • Distilled or boiled Water
  • Vegetable glycerin (optional)

Our fav’s:
-> Peppermint Oil (highly rated!)
-> Great price on Lavender Oil (8 oz!)
–> Great deal on Glass Spray Bottle (16 oz 2-pack!)

Essential Oil Bug Spray Instructions

  1. Fill up a glass spray bottle 1/2 of the way with distilled or boiled water
  2. Then add witch hazel until it is almost full leaving some room at the top
  3. Add in 1/2 tsp of vegetable glycerin (optional)
  4. Then Add in 30-50 drops of your chosen essential oils. As you can imagine the more drops of the oils that you use the strong smelling they will be. This also will help keep the bugs away better. One example recipe is Rosemary, Clove, Cajeput, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, and Lavender.

Other Bug Repelling Ideas

Before I dive into one of the strongest recipes to keep away the bugs I want to go other a few other ideas that may help keep the bugs away.

  • Go to a local health food store or get online and try some of their non-toxic, DEET-free, and plastic free bands. This is something you and your kids can wear on your wrist instead of spray onto your body.
  • If you don’t have essential oils and need protection now then grab some vanilla extract from your kitchen then mix it with some water and witch hazel to make a quick spray.
  • There are tons of plants that you can put in your yard which will naturally keep the mosquitos away such as lemongrass and catnip!
  • Rub herbs directly on your skin. If you don’t want to make herbs into oils and have the leaves of the plants laying around you can always just grab the plants we listed above and rub them onto your skin for protection.

Four Thieves Insect Repellent

This recipe does not smell good but it works really well. If you are going to be in the deep woods, swamp, or place where you are worried about ticks then this may be the recipe for you.

According to legend, this recipe is based on the one used by thieves who were looting during the Black Plague in order to keep themselves from getting sick. Essentially it kept pesky bugs who spread the disease away from those who wore it.

Vinegar of the Four Thieves Repellent Ingredients

  • 1 32 ounce bottle of Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 TBSP each of dried Lavender, Sage, Rosemary, Thyme and Mint
  • At least 1-quart size glass jar with an airtight lid (you will really want this)

How to

  1. Place the vinegar and herbs together into the large glass jar.
  2. Seal the lid tightly and then store it on the counter or in a place where you will see it daily. This way you can easily remember to shake up the mixture 2 or 3 times a day.
  3. Mark your calendar for 2-3 weeks. After the time has passed strain out the herbs and store the liquid in a glass spray bottle or some tincture bottles, in a cool place such as in your fridge.
  4. When you are ready to use it make sure you dilute half of it in water and then spray it on your skin.

–> Great deal on Glass Spray Bottle (16 oz 2-pack!)

Special Note: This mixture can do a lot more for you then just keep away the bugs. This special blend of herbs has a powerful antibacterial and antiviral property which is really good as a homemade tincture for fighting off illness. Just take 1 TBSP of the mixture in a glass of water several times a day if you are an adult and 1tsp in water several times a day for children over 2.


Breakfast, blood sugar, & inflammation

Recent research has shown that Inflammation is responsible for 7 out of 10 Deaths in the United States. But it doesn’t have to be the same way for you.

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Best stretch before bed (1 minute)

Did you know that one of the best times to stretch is right before bed? However…

What stretches should you do? Here’s a 1-minute stretch routine you can do before bed...

=> Best stretch before bed (takes 1-min)


Lisa, Yoga Coach
eatlocalgrown / wisemindhealthybody

Stop Snoring in 3 Minutes - Starting Tonight

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eatlocalgrown / wisemindhealthybody

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In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.

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Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.

Rick D.