Bug Repellent Lotion Bars

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Homemade all natural bug repellent lotion bars
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Ever since I discovered how to make my original lotion bars, I’ve been experimenting with different variations including sunscreen bars, Vapo-Rub bars, and others. Today’s favorite: bug repellent lotion bars!

They are as easy to make as the original bars, and they seem even more effective at keeping bugs away than regular homemade bug spray, probably because they actually coat the skin with a protective layer. They are easy to take along and the kids can apply it themselves.

Instead of being filled with chemicals and toxins like conventional bug sprays, this recipe actually nourishes and moisturizes the skin while protecting it.

Items Needed

I also use silicone molds to set the bars. These are the molds I used but I also love these sunflower ones and these heart ones, which would both be great for gifts. There are also simple flower molds and actual bar shaped ones.

Homemade all natural bug repellent lotion bars
4.83 from 17 votes

Bug Repellant Lotion Bar Recipe

Keep away bugs without chemicals using herbs and essential oils in a nourishing lotion bar.
Active Time15 minutes
Infusing Time30 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Yield: 10 bars
Author: Katie Wells



To infuse the herbs into the coconut oil

  • Using a double boiler or glass bowl on top of a small saucepan, heat about 1 inch of water (in bottom pan) until starting to boil.
  • Place the coconut oil in the top part of the double boiler and add the dried rosemary, cloves, thyme, cinnamon, catnip, and mint.
  • Cover the bowl or top part of the double boiler and keep the water at medium/high temperature for at least 30 minutes or until the oil has adopted a darker color and smells strongly of rosemary. Alternately, you can fill a crock pot about half full with water, put the coconut oil and herbs in a glass mason jar with a tight lid, cover and keep on lowest setting for several days to make an even stronger infused oil.
  • Strain the dried herbs out of the oil using a small mesh strainer or cheesecloth and pour the oil back into the double boiler. The oil will probably be reduced by almost half and you should have about ½ cup of the infused oil. If you have more, save it for next time!

To make the lotion bars

  • Add the butter(s) and beeswax to the double boiler with the infused coconut oil and stir until all have melted.
  • Remove from the heat and add the Vitamin E oil and any other essential oils.
  • Pour it into the molds.
  • Leave in the molds until completely set (overnight is best). Or you can speed up the process by placing it in the fridge.


To use, rub the bars on exposed areas of DRY skin to protect against mosquitoes. If you are pregnant, check to make sure any herbs you use are safe for pregnancy and omit the ones that aren’t.
I use cupcake-size molds for my lotion bars. If you use a different size, your yield will be different.

Don’t Want to Make Them?

If you want to use lotion bars but don’t have the time/ingredients to make them yourself, I found a great small business, Made On, that makes all kinds of lotion bars, soaps, natural baby products and hair products that are up to my standards. Their website is HardLotion.com and they have agreed to give Wellness Mama readers a 15% discount on all orders with the code “wellnessmama” at this link. (Note: Affiliate link… the price is discounted for you and I get a small commission to support my blog!)

How do you keep the bugs away? Share below!

These homemade bug repellent lotion bars have herbs and essential oils to repel insects and bugs while you are outdoors!

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


160 responses to “Bug Repellent Lotion Bars”

  1. Sophie Avatar

    5 stars
    Hi, I love this recipe and have tried before but want to make again this summer. I was wondering, if I make this without the vitamin E how long do you think it will keep?

    Many thanks

    1. Jamie Larrison Avatar

      The shelf life of virgin coconut oil and shea butter are 1-2 years so the bars should last about that long without the vitamin E, as long as they’re stored away from direct light and heat.

  2. Rachael Avatar

    I have solid beeswax, not pellets. How does the tablespoon of pellets convert to the solid?

  3. Andrea Avatar

    hi! i have everything except catnip leaf.. would it work if i leave it out?

  4. Ruth Avatar

    Looked and looked see if this question was already asked and could not find it so….if there is not enough scent to the bar can I melt it down and add more essential oils without compromising the benefits of the bar?

  5. Ruth Avatar

    Looked and looked see if this question was already asked and could not find it so….if there is not enough sent to the bar can I melt it down and add more essential oils without compromising the benefits of the bar?

  6. Denise Avatar

    If I already have all the oils could you tell me how many drops of each??

  7. Debbie Robertson Avatar
    Debbie Robertson

    Hi Katie,
    Thank you for all of your great recipes! I want to make the Moisturizing Bug & Tick Repellent Lotion Bars but it calls for fresh or dry ingredients, do you have a conversion of the recipe calculated using Essential Oils?

  8. Joyce Avatar

    I love your recipes! They’re a simple and will start making some of them. I’m especially interested in trying the solid bars to start with. Do you wrap your lotion bars? What wrapper or packaging do you use and where do you get them? I’m planning to make favors for a friend’s birthday celebration.

    Thank you.

  9. Debbie Avatar

    What essential oils (and how much of each) would you use if you chose not to infuse your own coconut oil?

  10. Jodi Avatar

    I’m going to try making these later this week, but I am wondering if I can add lavender to the list of herbs in the infused oil rather than as an essential oil as I don’t have it…and if so what amount would you suggest?

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