Natural Bug Repellent Recipes That Work!

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Wellness Mama » Blog » Natural Home » Natural Bug Repellent Recipes That Work!

Every year as warmer weather approaches, I make several homemade products for summer. This includes my homemade sunscreen and these natural bug repellent recipes.

I don’t use sunscreen often because it limits vitamin D production. I prefer to eat my sunscreen instead. This homemade insect repellent spray recipe, on the other hand, gets daily use where we live (unfortunately!).

Why Homemade Bug Spray?

At my house, we joke about mosquitoes being the size of birds. They certainly do seem to come in flocks! Keeping bugs away with a good mosquito repellent is a top priority, especially with small children who are prone to scratching mosquito bites.

It’s not just annoying bites that we have to worry about. Some mosquitos can transmit diseases like Zika and West Nile virus. Then there are fleas and ticks infected with Lyme disease, Bartonella, and more.

According to the CDC, about 6% of all mosquito types are known to transmit diseases. But it’s impossible to know which ones when you’re just enjoying an evening outside.

Many natural bug-repellent options from the store aren’t my first option either. The label may say all natural and plant-based but they’re full of soybean oil and undisclosed proprietary ingredients. For example, one popular brand of DEET-free natural mosquito repellent features oil of lemon eucalyptus. However, the other 70% of the ingredients list is a mystery.

What’s the Deal with DEET?

While I am serious about avoiding bug bites, I don’t want to use nasty pesticides and repellents like DEET to do it. DEET is in many commercial insect repellents and has mixed results when it comes to safety.

The EPA weighed in on DEET in 1998 and again in 2014, concluding it doesn’t have health concerns for most people, even for kids. Looking at their long list of warnings and precautions, I’ll stick with my natural bug spray.

Dr. Aboue Donia, a pharmacologist found that rats treated with an average human dose of DEET had some issues. They performed far worse than control rats on physical tasks requiring muscle control, strength, and coordination.

In the same study, DEET caused neurons to die in parts of the brain that control muscles, learning, memory, and concentration. Young children are more at risk because their skin absorbs things more readily.

It’s also interesting to note that so far the EPA has yet to complete an endocrine disruptor screening on DEET. So we don’t know know how it affects hormones.

Another common pest control option is picaridin, a synthetic chemical derived from piperine. Runoff from these products contaminates the water supply and is known to cause deformities in certain animals. So what is it doing to us?

Natural Alternatives to DEET

As with most household items, you can make natural bug spray cheaply and naturally at home. Lotion with coconut oil is another DIY I like to make instead of buy. This recipe takes just minutes to mix up. You can use different ingredients based on what you have available. I’ve included several variations so you can try whichever one you have the ingredients for.

5-Minute Essential Oil Natural Bug Repellent

This is the best bug spray recipe I’ve found. It uses essential oils, which are really effective for natural bug protection. I prefer not to put this blend directly on skin, especially on kids. Instead, I use it on clothing or our gear.

Any combination of these essential oils will work

All of the above have insect and mosquito-repelling properties. I’ve included the mixture I use below. For this recipe, I use 100 drops of essential oil in total with a mixture of various oils. If you don’t have a certain oil you can leave it out or use a mixture of the others in its place.

Don’t Want to DIY Your Natural Bug Repellent?

Don’t feel like making your own? There are some really great pre-made bug-repellant options now.

To save time, I sometimes use a pre-mixed kid-safe essential oil blend. It’s made to repel insects and can replace the other oils in the recipe below. Here are a few premade natural bug spray options that don’t require any mixing at all.

I definitely recommend spot-testing for allergic reactions anytime you’re using a new product on your skin, whether it’s natural or not.

Natural Bug Repellent Recipes

I use this bug spray to spray my kid’s clothing on their way out the back door in the summer. I also pack one in our first aid kit when camping or hiking. This homemade anti-itch cream is also handy to carry in case of a random bug bite!

How to make natural bug spray in about five minutes
3.96 from 136 votes

Natural Bug Repellent Recipe

Make this 5 minute simple & effective homemade bug spray recipe with essential oils and other natural ingredients to keep mosquitos and insects away.
Prep Time10 minutes
Total Time10 minutes
Yield: 1 cup
Author: Katie Wells



  • In a glass spray bottle, combine the essential oils.
  • Add the vodka or rubbing alcohol and shake well to combine.
  • Pour in the witch hazel and shake again to combine.
  • Add the vegetable glycerin if using. It isn’t necessary, but it does help everything stay combined.
  • Add the water and shake again.
  • Shake before each use as the oils and water will naturally separate over time.


How to Use:
I keep a bottle of this bug spray by the back door for easy application. I also pack one in our first aid kit when camping or hiking. I find it’s also handy to carry this homemade anti-itch cream in case of the random bug bite!

DIY Bug Repellent Recipe Variations

Natural bug sprays can also be made without essential oils. Just use dried herbs and witch hazel or vinegar. This recipe is less expensive, but it’s not as potent as the recipe above.

Herbal Bug Spray Ingredients

Herbal Bug Spray Instructions

  1. Boil water, then add the herbs.
  2. Mix well, cover, and turn off the stove. Let cool completely. Covering is important to keep the volatile oils in!
  3. Strain out the herbs and mix the tea with witch hazel or alcohol. Store in a spray bottle in the fridge for up to a week.
  4. Use as needed. Added bonus: it smells great and is very refreshing to the skin.

TIP: You can also use the above herbs and make an alcohol tincture instead for longer shelf life. Add 1 part tincture to 1 part water before use and spray liberally on clothing.

Vinegar Tick and Insect Repellent Recipe

Fair warning: this stuff stinks when it’s wet. Thankfully the smell disappears as it dries. It works really well though. I use this spray whenever I’m going deep into the woods or other tick-infested areas.

It’s based on a recipe that was rumored to be used by thieves during the Black Plague to prevent sickness. Legend has it that the thieves survived thanks to this bug blend. Regardless if the story is true or not, it definitely makes a great insect repellent.

This recipe is cheap and you probably already have the ingredients in your kitchen.

Vinegar of the Four Thieves Insect Repellent Ingredients

Vinegar of the Four Thieves Insect Repellent Instructions

  1. Put the dried herbs into the large glass jar. Pour the vinegar over the herbs until the jar is almost full.
  2. Seal tightly and store in a cool, dry place. Shake occasionally.
  3. After 2-3 weeks, strain the herbs out. Store the vinegar in spray bottles or tincture bottles, preferably in the fridge.
  4. To use on skin, dilute to half with water in a spray bottle and use as needed.
  5. Use it whenever you need serious bug control!

Note: This mixture is very strong and has antiviral and antibacterial properties. It can also be used as a tincture for many illnesses. For adults, I use 1 tablespoon in water several times a day. For kids over two, I use 1 teaspoon in water several times a day.

Other Simple Natural Bug Repellent Ideas

  • Use a non-toxic, plastic-free insect-repelling band like these. They’re easier to use on children and very effective.
  • Add vanilla extract to either of the above recipes or just rub it on the skin. You can also mix vanilla with witch hazel and water for a spray version.
  • Plant insect-repelling herbs in your yard. I grow lavender, thyme, mint, and citronella near our patio and we use these fresh plants as bug repellent in a pinch.
  • Rub lavender flowers or diluted lavender oil on your skin to repel insects.
  • Rub fresh or dried leaves of anything in the mint family all over your skin to repel insects. Peppermint, spearmint, catnip, pennyroyal, etc., or citronella, lemongrass, etc. Basil is also said to repel mosquitoes. I’ve used fresh basil leaves in the garden with great success before.

What are your tricks for keeping bugs at bay? Which do you think is worse… the insects or the chemicals in most repellents?

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. 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.


570 responses to “Natural Bug Repellent Recipes That Work!”

  1. RIssbelle Avatar

    Should you dilute for children or while breast feeding? I know I dilute my at home sprays. What about the essential oil bug spray?

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      These oils should be safe externally even for children or while nursing though you could half the amounts and it would still work pretty well

      1. Melissa Avatar

        rubbing alcohol is toxic because manufacturers added toxins to keep people from drinking it. I would not use lavender or tea tree oil on young prepubescent boys since recent studies have shown a possible correlation between gynecomastia (breast development) and their use. the herbs act as hormone disruptors. When the deodorant that had these oils in them were stopped-the boys returned to normal

        1. Melissa Avatar

          Even if you halve the amount-no dose has been deemed safe at this juncture.

  2. Elle Avatar

    can I mix witch hazel, water and acv? i’d like to soak some herbs in small amount of acv and then later also add some essential oils. is this a good idea? or is it a good idea to soak the herbs in witch hazel instead? i’ve made some flower water before, but no matter how much i strain it through coffee filters, still some tiny pieces are left in the water and go bad really soon. how to prevent this? does some alcohol do the trick?

    1. Tiffanie Avatar

      Hydrosol’s are how you’ll want to make flower water that doesn’t spoil quickly thigh you will still want to refrigerate it. You need a big stock pot, heat proof bowl, a lot of ice, lid and your chosen flowers. Something to keep the bowl above the water is also needed. You can use a stone or something similar.
      Put the stone in the pot, put in your flowers then cover them with water to just around the top of the stone. Put your bowl on top of that where it will catch your flower water. You will put the lid on upside down with the handle inside. You will put ice cubes on top of the pot. The will cause the stream, which is what you want to catch, to condense on the lid, roll to the center and drip into the bowl.

      You will want to bring the water up to a simmer during this process, make sure it doesn’t boil or the water in the pot will mix with your flower water. Try not to take the lid off much during the process. Can take anywhere from 25 to 35 minutes depending how much you want to make and you may have to replace you ice. Be careful not to spill it into your center bowl.

  3. Moiya Avatar

    What brand and where do you purchase witch hazel? Thanks 🙂

    1. Lorrie Avatar

      Walmart and most drug stores carry it.  It is usually near the rubbing alcohol, peroxide type stuff.  It’s used as an astringent.

      1. Wellness Mama Avatar
        Wellness Mama

        I get mine from Mountain Rose Herbs (in my resources section) but many local stores should carry it too…

  4. Drake Avatar

    I noticed that you recommended using pennyroyal to rub on your skin. Please note that Pennyroyal is a known abortifact (can induce mis-carriages) and shouldn’t be used by women of child-bearing years.

  5. Flan Avatar

    How long will the dried herb bug spray keep in the fridge? 

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      Mine has lasted since last summer and still looks/smells good in the fridge.

  6. Lori Avatar

    In my area of Pennsylvania, the abundance of ticks is alarming. An herbalist friend told me that Geranium essential oil  is more protective than tea tree or mint., and is a much more tolerable scent than citronella. It’s safe for animals, also.

      1. Elaine Avatar

        On the farm my mother kept a bottle of diluted pinesol to sprinkle on our legs before going into the pasture–very effective tick repellent, don’t know about for mosquitoes.

    1. Lajo Shahani Avatar
      Lajo Shahani

      Thank you for this tip! I’ve had Geranium sitting in my essential oils drawer for a while but never thought of it. Been trawling the net for a natural tick repellent for my dogs and my tea tree bug spray doesn’t seem to be working. Recently added geraniums in my garden.

    2. connie Avatar

      How would you use the Geranium Oil? sounds interesting. thanks, -con

    3. Paula Avatar

      How would you apply the geranium oil, ie directly on the dog’s coat or diluted and sprayed on? Thanks!

    4. Julie Avatar

      I think it’s actually “rose geranium” essential oil that is used for ticks.

  7. Tash Avatar

    oh, and if you want an all natural gel recipe google “flax seed hair gel”. I haven’t tried it yet but it is suppost to be great.

    1. Dee Dee Avatar

      It is, with a hold comparable to most regular hold store brands. It’s very cheap to make!

  8. Tash Avatar

    I don’t like to use tea tree on my skin, it makes my skin very oily. Just something to consider if anyone uses TT and notices skin changes like that.

    You asked about natural hair products. I do a variation on the baking soda/apple cider vinegar (BS/ACV) method.  I don’t like the smell of acv and I am blonde so I use lemon juice instead. It works great on my wavy hair.

    1. Teresa Avatar

      My medicince woman told me that Tea Tree can be used homeopathically to remove skin tags… no wonder everyone notices skin changes and/or have a reaction to it on the skin..

  9. Mina August Parcheva Avatar
    Mina August Parcheva

    I have difficulties finding witch hazel here. Is there anything I can replace it with?

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      technically, vodka or another hard alcohol would work…

      1. Nysia E Avatar
        Nysia E

        what if you can’t use alcohol of any kind… would distilled white vinegar work?

    2. Jay Avatar

      I got it at Walmart.. most drug stores carry it. It’s very inexpensive. Find it along with their alcohol and cotton swabs and bandages, etc..

    3. Jo Oliver Avatar
      Jo Oliver

      Witch Hazel COLD on cotton is also good for hemhroids. If you are lazy about this, Tufts is the same and obtainable in Walmart and any drug store

    4. Maryann Avatar

      WitchHazel, and most organic, pure essential oils are available through Amazon, and Mountain Rose Herbs, and several other sites. Locally, you can look for a natural/holistic grocery store, or a local herbalist in your area. There are many of us around now . **Also most herbs are fine for children , you will be using them in a mild carrier oil, an=s well as a semi dilution with water, or vinegar. try a small spot on the first. When using essential oils, be sure they 100% pure essential from an Organic source, or you defeat the purpose of a “natural” remedy . these will also be diluted and used in a carrier oil,or vinegar,or water for children.
      Herbal / Natural cures and remedies are specific to the person, f it does not work for you , try another combination. Herbals target your specific body systems needs… it’s not 1 size fits all. *** Please never give up finding your synergistic herbal matches !!!***

      1. Christy Avatar

        Do you have an essential oil brand that you recommend? Aura Cacia is available at most the places near me, and I was wondering if their oils would be sufficient for something like this? And do you have a favorite bug repellent recipe? 🙂 Thanks!

  10. Mina August Parcheva Avatar
    Mina August Parcheva

    Hello, I was wondering does this  bug spray help against ticks too? We have them a lot here in the parks.

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      It will deter them but won’t completely protect like a tick spray would.

  11. Dawn Schulte Avatar
    Dawn Schulte

    Great recipes! Are any of the recipes safer or more kid friendly? Or are there any oils I should make sure I DON’T use on a child? My two year old is a mosquito magnet … thanks for the help!

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      On the skin, these are all safe for kids, just don’t let them ingest! 🙂

      1. Alexx Avatar

        Actually, the safety of these oils vary depending on the age of kids. You cannot/should not use Eucalyptus oil on children under 10, for example.

        1. Julia Avatar

          Eucalytus Radiata is safe to use on children. The more common Eucalyptus Globulus is the one that can cause irritation to younger children. In general though, many have reported using properly diluted eucalyptus globulus on their children with no ill side effects, so use your own judgement! 🙂

  12. Hollis Avatar

    I am also highly allergic to bug bites, one easy at home recipe I have used that worked was Listorine. kept the bugs away like nothing else. I’m excited to try these, they may prove to be less sticky than the mouth wash! : )

      1. Ken ogden Avatar
        Ken ogden

        I am making bug sptay for the homeless folks in the area. Very interested in the Listerine formula. What is in listerien that makes it work? Thank you in advance.

        1. Suzanne Swift Avatar
          Suzanne Swift

          Had NO luck with listerine. Sprayed all over my horses and right after the mosquitoes still landed fir dinner. And they were horribly sticky!

          The oil mixtures will be expensive to get started, esoecially if you get the good ones. Maybe you can find people to donate specific oils to your project?

          I did an n oil mixture of 20 drops citronella, 15 drops eucalyptus, and 10 drops teatime with another 10 of clove. Shaken n into 8oz water filled spray bottle. Worked well on both me and horse, but only for mosquitos not flys.

          I’ll use the ideas on here to make a mix of stronger oils plus the vinegar and an oil base.

      2. Deirdre Avatar

        Hi! Thanks for the great tips! I am absolutely going to try your concoction! Question though, will this batch last until next summer being as it is all natural and has no preservatives or chemicals? Or should I just make a small batch for the end of this summer and start fresh next year?

  13. Marla Jones Avatar
    Marla Jones

    apparently, Thieves oil is also used to fight mold growth.  This is what I heard from my natural foods/goods store owner.  I’d like to try it, because Thieves oil is SUPER expensive.  Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Ida Avatar

      A company by the name of Smellz Good makes 4T-Thieves oil if you do not want to make it yourself. And it is cheaper than YL, and works great!

  14. Rausrus Avatar

    I’m actually looking for a natural recipe for my horse that is allergic to bug bites, especially midges it seems. I ran into your site and wonder if the thieves recipe would something to try.  Can you tell me the difference in potency or longevity between essential oils and dried herb mixtures?  We have tried a concoction with apple cider vinegar, pinesol and water…an old remedy that our vet recommends which helped a little, but not as good as we hoped.  I’d like to try the thieves recipe and wonder if there’s a oily base I could add to it to help it last longer or will it keep it’s effect long after it dries?  How often would you think we’d need to reapply?  We’re in MI, so she’s not really sweaty and it’s fairly dry and very sandy.   
    Thanks for any advice you could share.

    1. Katie Richards Avatar
      Katie Richards

      I see this is pretty old but, when I had horses growing up we would fill a gallon wide mouth jug with as much fresh basil as we could cram in there and then fill it with apple cider vinegar. This would steep for two months before being applied with a hand mitt.

      1. Beth Avatar

        Katie, I live in a National forest here in Fl. When warmer humid weather arrives we not only fight mosquitoes but sand gnats or (no see ums) as we Floridians call them and the dreaded Yellow Flies. Do any of these homemade sprays help keep the gnats and yellow flies away? I’m allergic to both of these flying critters and tend to stay indoors as much as possible during their season of the year.

    2. Caroline T Avatar
      Caroline T

      I tried everything to stop my horse getting bitten every summer, then I found it.
      a scoop of PURE garlic powder in food every day without fail. In summer when they don’t need additional feed just give a tiny feed to get the powder down them. Pure garlic on hands stinks like hell and difficult to wash off so buy a box of cheap rubber or plastic gloves and chuck ’em after use. The only problem is you’ve got to be bothered to do it.

    3. Reiny Avatar

      I use Fly Predators for flies around horses and the house. They are a sterile form of a fly predator that attacks the larvae… and they WORK. Thank you for sharing your mosquito repellent. I have been looking for a recipe and will have to try it!

    4. Reiny Avatar

      I use Espree concentrated fly repellent (diluted with water) for midges or no-see-ums on horses and have been known to spray my shirt too. Works great! It is a mixture of essential oils also. They used to make it all with cedarwood oil but I have not seen that since about 1995. If mine needed more than the fly spray concentrate I would find some cedarwood oil to mix with water, it works.

  15. Carol Procter Avatar
    Carol Procter

    We are going up the Amazon, will this bug spray be strong enough for there

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      I’d probably increase the amount of essential oils for a trip like that… sounds like fun!

      1. Carol Procter Avatar
        Carol Procter

        Just to you let you know, went up the amazon and used the bug spray and havn’t been bitten (that I know of)  We were on a cruise ship, and went looking for beasties every night on deck!

        1. Jesse Avatar

          What kind of bug spray solution did you make, i am going to asia in one week please give me also the measurements thanks a bunch,

      2. Jan Avatar

        Went to the Amazon in ’06 down the Maranon from Iquitos in Peru and all of the others were using DEET and got hundreds of bites. Only me and one other were using a natural catnip/essential oil blend and we only got bit a few times. Mosquito nets are a must though!

      3. Isabelle Avatar

        Hi there, First, let me say BRAVO! I follow you religiously 😉 also, I’ve made the apple cider vinegar mix and it’s almost ready. I would like to add catnip oil to the mix. My question is…can I add catnip oil to this mix? Also, what would you suggest as a ratio? I understand that the apple cider vinegar mix ratio’s is half the mix with half water, in a spray bottle, but how many drops of oil? Just an example and I can do the math after that 🙂 thanks a million!

      4. imajica Avatar

        I made my own insect repellent from things i read here. I put thyme, rosemary and two different types of mint in boiling water and let it sit with the top on and then added which hazel. What color should it be? Mine is kind of dark but now dark brown and os rosemary safe for my 4month old? Im breastfeeding her and ive read that i shouldn’t eat rosemary but can i put it on hers and mine skin? Please reply

  16. Peter Avatar

    Top marks to you Wellness Mama. I have been scouring the Internet looking for natural insect killers especially a general household spray. I’ve found it and how simple your concoctions are. There is a lot for me to learn here about all things natural. I will be a frequent visitor here and have bookmarked this site.
    Sincere congratulations and many thanks

  17. Jenilee Brown Holbert Avatar
    Jenilee Brown Holbert

    Where do you get the witch hazel? I noticed on the website where you get the essential oils the extract was out of stock, and I’m not exactly sure what kind of “witch hazel” to use? I’m going to make this for family for Christmas this year and want to get the supplies in the next couple weeks or so. 

    1. Peggy Hawkins Avatar
      Peggy Hawkins

      you can buy witch hazel at any local pharmacy or even Walmart or Meijer

    1. Katie Householder Avatar
      Katie Householder

      @ Kate, I’ve recently started growing my own personally, since i’ve gotten around to knowing what will grow well in my area, as well as what I use most of, but I always went to , and i still do now for what wont grow in my area. They are a great site, very reasonable, and they have a facebook page too that you can ask them anything! And their herbs are always so fresh!

    2. Violet Nicole Avatar
      Violet Nicole

      Can you still mix the 1st recipe w/out veg. glycerin? I do not have that.

      1. Walter Avatar

        You can get the vegetable glycerin at walmart for around $4.00; it’s located in the pharmacy section.

        1. Sharon Avatar

          Hello, This may seem like a strange question but is needed in my case. I wonder if these essential oils will work on dogs?

          1. Julie Avatar

            I have a friend who uses essential oils for her dog. Just google “essential oils for dogs for fleas, ticks, ear infection, etc.”, whatever application you’re curious about.

          2. Cherie Avatar

            YL actually has a line of products for pets. My daughter uses peace and calming from YL on her high strung dog.

  18. Karyn Avatar

    Oh I hope this works! We have mosquitoes that carry the LaCrosse virus (causes encephalitis) so I use the deet stuff when we’re in the woods. But my kids get bitten anyway because they’re constantly running in and out of the house and I don’t want to spray them with Deet all day long. 

    1. Lina Avatar

      I have a lot of oils for making hard candy, can they be used inplace of the oils you mentioned?

      1. Tonya Avatar

        As a candy maker myself, I would say no. The candy oils are not the same as the essential oils used for homeopathic purposes.

          1. Marilyn Bloch Avatar
            Marilyn Bloch

            Can I use any of these recipes to rid my home of flying insects, flies, mosquitos, etc? I don’t get out that often so mostly am concerned about indoor pests.

        1. Jay Avatar

          5 stars
          what does that mean? use candy peppermint oil as an essential oil. I think you need to Google what an essential is and how it is made.

    2. Consuello Colding Avatar
      Consuello Colding

      Lemongrass oil is also great for stopping the itch caused by mosquito bites. Just rub a little into that area with a paper towel.

    3. Jana Avatar

      I use Bragg’s vinegar it keeps them off and also stops my bites from itching if i happen to forget to spray myself w the vinegar. It stinks till its dry but its worth it. Also when I eat tons of garlic be it powder, fresh ,dry minced or tablet supplement they stay away…but sometimes when you get real hot you can smell it. Good Luck.

  19. Audrey stucker Avatar
    Audrey stucker

    seems all the natural repelents weve tried have just not worked very well. i made the vinegar of four thieves a few years back, misquitos still land and bite. weve also tried the natural citronella type repelents. i will give the essential oils recipe a try this summer.

    1. Angelic Avatar

      I have been using essential oils for 12 years now. I use Young Living, others use DoTerra. Ive used store bought brands thst are cheaper too. It depends what I am using the oil for…medicinal or just fragrance with a bit of goodness in it. My poi.t is essential oils are potent and will give you the results you want. Purity is better but you can also experiment with the lesser costing oils to see if they give you the desired effect. Then move up from there if you like. I use cedarwood for roaches in distilled water spray bottle, and lemongrass with peppermint for mosquitos. That Theives recipe is effective when used with essential oils.

      1. Marcella Avatar

        Could you please give me the dosage for the mosquito solution. I also would like to know if about the thieves soap, is it the pump hand soap thats all I can find online? I did find a thieves blend mix of oils.

        1. jamie Avatar

          I did a mixture of neem oil, rosemary, peppermint, lemon grass, rose, lavender, eucalyptus, bergamot and tea tree. I used 4oz water 3 oz alcohol and over 60 drops of the oils plus 5% of the neem oil. Sadly they were all over all 3 of us following us like crazy and biting. We had to break out the deet and a candle. I really wish the natural stuff worked.

          1. Brad Yeager Avatar
            Brad Yeager

            Neem Oil will de-nature in water and become ineffective in less than 24 hours, so unless you are making this mixture for a one time application applied immediately that could have been some of the problem. Swap coconut oil for the water and alcohol and you should have a very effective solution against several types of mosquitos. studies have shown that Coconut oil + Neem can be very effective:

            A 1995 study at a field station the Malaria Research Centre in Ranipur, Hardwar, India, tested a mix of 2% neem oil mixed in coconut oil.?? Applying that mixture to the skin provided significant protection from various mosquitoes. It worked best against anophelines, offering 96-100% protection (The malaria transmitting anopheles mosquitoes fall into this group). The numbers for other species were 85% for Aedes (carries dengue fever), 61-94% for Culex spp. (can carry West Nile virus) and 35% for Armigeres.

          2. sonja Avatar

            Thanks for the clarification Brad, I know it’s trial and error to get it right with the naturals. I am anxious to try this recipe! Thanks for Sharing!!!

          3. Adale Avatar

            Neem must be 20% of the solution. I used 80 % coconut oil. then add oils. Worked fabulouslu inthe amazon jungle. Not one bite. Another secret is that you have to use the neem 10 or more days prior to exposure. I also put dmso in mixture. Dmso can be very dangerous, so do your research.

          4. Helen Degeneres Avatar
            Helen Degeneres

            I used a mixture of 30 drops of mint and 20 drops of coconut and it smells amazing. It works for the gnats that were bothering me at night!

          5. Sue Miller Avatar
            Sue Miller

            I use Terrashield blend . Pour entire 15 ml bottle in 4 oz sprayer bottle. Fill with good water. This is ur mosquito spray. Work great 4 my fam. Reapply every 2 hrs. $15 bottle Terra shield from doTERRA.

      2. Maria Avatar

        The quality of essential oils can be determined by scientific analysis. I’ve added 2 links that describe industry standards and testing and address modern marketing of essential oils.
        Every reputable brand will post their testing standards and results. Being an informed consumer is vital to understanding the difference between marketing terminology and quantifiable standards.
        Cost is not an indicator of quality.

        1. SANJAY BAWA Avatar
          SANJAY BAWA

          Way back in early 2001 when I was diagnosed with diabetes, I was advised to take 4-5 drops of neem oil every day ,this is what I noticed from fourth day onwards ,if any mosquito stung me ,it was allowed to go and after flying for a distance less than a feet,it would drop down like a shot down helicopter,and after one week the mosquito’s would not come near me, probably due to neem smell in my sweat

          1. Gina Avatar

            Do you know why you were advised to use Neem as a diabetic? Outside of mosquitos what was the benefit for you?

          2. SANJAY BAWA Avatar
            SANJAY BAWA

            Being diabetic one is prone to boils and and infections for which neem was recommended

        2. Phyllis Avatar


          WAY too many people are sucked in by the THERAPEUITC GRADE and other supposed alphabet soup of letters that EO’ companies use to make one think they are the best qualified!! Please folks do your research! These links are right on!! The THERAPUTIC GRADE was coined by two companies back in the mid 1990s. So misleading. This one link above alone is a gold mine of information!

          Thank you!

          1. Kimberly Avatar

            Thank you. I know of two companies that use that term. I refuse to use them because of this.

      3. Bel Avatar

        Its amazing isn’t it as both those companies are now under investigation by the FDA or something like that … it shows the oils work as the FDA is acting on shutting them down or something like that….. makes me mad that the government and big pharms corps won’t allow us to use natural alternative medicines in place of the poisons they feed us ……… Thankyou Wellness Mama for providing honest healthier alternative remedies etc truly appreciated…. also would love some more information regarding this topic ( I didn’t think it contained any propaganda – if it does I understand if you edit or delete this comment) Sincerely Bel

        1. Kris Avatar

          If you’re referring to two EO companies being sued, it’s because they are giving health advice such as ingesting oils and applying undiluted, which is dangerous. They are also not certified aromatherapists. A company cannot make health claims, like they do, without FDA approval. This is for the safety of everyone, not because they are trying to deter people from using EOs.

          1. Russ Avatar

            I beg to differ with you about the safety concerns of the FDA.
            More people are coming around to the fact and they now understand our government and its branches can no longer be looked at as benevolent. We the people have the intelligence to self diagnose and self administer natural herbs and supplements way better then the FDA can tell us what to do or not do.
            The medical Doctors only get one hour of natural supplement training in school, and they cannot sell or prescribe natural supplements from their offices or they are fined 250k and possible four weeks imprisonment
            Anyone who is the least interested in natural healing can google, pickup a natural book form there natural health and vitamin store or ask a natural path assistant at one of these stores.
            The beauty of natural products is there is on clinical evidence or written factual docs. of someone dying from taking natural vitamins and supplements. Stories are just that, stories.
            There are hundreds of examples why the FDA can not be trusted or should ever be the factually one source of a persons decision making health process.
            Here is one small ex: The FDA sells itself to food manufactures like General Foods etc.
            Because mothers think the government is trying to help, they believe the FDA seal of approval means their children are getting a healthy cereal.
            For good marketing practices and profits the FDA sells their stamp of approval for $12,500.00.
            We all know this simple fact, I hope, the liver converts raw sugars and carbs to glucose that is directly taken to the brain, because without GLUCOSE the brain would stop functioning.
            But, it must go through the process- raw sugar, transformed by the liver to glucose then to the brain.
            White processed sugar (cereals are full of it) skips the liver and goes directly to the brain, it is pure poison to the brain, causing erratic behavior in the child, making wrong neurotransmitter connections and killing off brain cells etc. etc. this is what the government branch called the FDA believes is good for your beautiful child’s growing young brain.
            And I am sure even though the head of the FDA used to be the CEO of big pharma that they would not on purpose allow all this white processed sugar into the American food markets.
            Bu , when the side effects from this poison sugar gets to the doctor from the teacher who can’t handle her students.
            Then all doctors put the children of America on ritalin making billions for big pharma and keeping the industry flourishing on the tears of many parents having their hopes and dreams for their child dashed because of the side effects of ritalin.
            There is no theory in conspiracy. Follow the $$$$$$$$. It’s time for truth.

      4. Chanda Avatar

        What is the Essential Oil ratio if the recipe calls for 2 tbs of each of the dried herbs?

    2. Allie Avatar

      I have heard that rubbing fresh Bay Leaves on skin works well.

      1. Jorja Avatar

        Bay leaves are scattered in trailers and park models in AZ when people leave after the winter is over to keep bugs out. We tried it this winter for the 1st time so we’ll see.

    3. Rita Hogan Avatar
      Rita Hogan

      Hey Wellness Mama, Love your site.

      Just wanted to make a comment that Rubbing Alcohol is toxic and should never be used. It is denatured with petroleum distillates and other toxic substances to render it undrinkable.

      Many folks don’t know this and the nasty alcohol has been working its way into everything these days.

      Recommend grain alcohol instead. Organic is best. Thanks, Rita.

      1. Melissa Avatar

        rubbing alcohol is toxic because manufacturers added toxins to keep people from drinking it. I would not use lavender or tea tree oil on young prepubescent boys since recent studies have shown a possible correlation between gynecomastia (breast development) and their use. the herbs act as hormone disruptors. When the deodorant that had these oils in them were stopped-the boys returned to normal

        1. Taurai Avatar

          Rubbing alcohol is a general term rather than a specific ingredient. While it is generally agreed that synthetic chemicals tend to have a negative health effect; one must always read label. The na For example ethyl alcohol(beer alcohol) + water is the original form of rubbing alcohol as are mixtures like 70% isopropanol in water , ethyl alcohol/methyl acohol/water or ethyl alcohol/water + some poisonous ingredient (to make it undrinkable). Simple ethyl alcohol soultions are no longer available due to misuse/abuse. The safest available form is the isopropanol/water solution

        2. jj Avatar

          Melissa, “studies have shown” that this plant that lives right in your backyard is making your young boys grow titties. Sponsored by_________

          Studies have shown–oh so you have first hand knowledge? Ohp, it was just the deodorant. This sounds like total BS to me. You are either pumping out wrong information and scaring people away from SAFE, NATURAL HERBS, or you are just one of those people who believe what you read to scare you from a propoganda website and know nothing yourself.

          The hormones and all of the plastics that are in the foods and the combination of unhealthy people breeding is making you a bunch of girly looking boys. More chocolate milk? Yum, antibiotics and hormones. Oh yeah there’s definitely no chemicals in anything you eat or drink or breathe, it’s definitely not that……………………………………………………………………

          1. Janice Avatar

            The study was conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine. Here is a link to the study: While herbs and oils are natural in their origin, when used medicinally, they have effects on the body that we must be wise, thoughtful and knowledgeable about. I use oils with care and research them prior to use to be aware of side effects and interactions with other drugs, same as I do with any western medicine I use. Lavender interacts with a medication I take, causing a sedative effect and I sleep too many hours. I still use it for burns and to soothe mosquito bites, but in small quantities.

          2. Katie Loxtercamp Avatar
            Katie Loxtercamp

            Wow!! I am very opinionated about the toxins in our food and so many other things, I also am a nurse and KNOW that just because something is “all natural” does not make it safe. Arsenic is natural too but is toxic and deadly; yet research is being done in the UK on the affects it has on certain types of cancers. People need to begin treating essential oils as medication, they can be just as strong, or in some cases stronger then some pharma meds on the market and should not be used lightly by people who decide to be “home drs”. If you are using “home remedies” or essential oils you need to be very knowledgeable, because yes, boys can end up with gynomastia, girls can end up having issues of lactation, or can cause a disruption in their ovulation and can cause infertility… not all of the answers are there yet, and unless you have had 8-12 yrs dedicated to learning by someone educated in EXACTLY this you do not have a right or any business being so rude to anyone on this blog. Shame on you and quit locking your brain in a bottle… LITERALLY! Essential oils are chemicals and medications and should be given the respect they are due. In Indian culture there are medicine men that are given the gift of being a medicine man by God, or it is passed from one elder medicine man to a younger man that is “shown to him in a vision”; depending upon which creed of Indians you talk to. There are many differences between the groups. They understand the power of what we have been given to use and that is should be respected not used by just anyone. Seriously get your attitude in check and let those educated in homeopathic remedies, including essential oils guide you. A couple classes from a company does not qualify anyone in full or safe use because they don’t know the person’s full medical history, other meds they are taking and who should never be given certain things; because you could be prescribing something to someone and cause a thrombosis, or the opposite for their already thinned blood from a rare genetic bleeding disorder to thin even more and they could hemorrhage in a simple accident. You don’t even know what you don’t know…..

          3. Robin Avatar

            I agree with Katie. I just took a class on medicinal herbs and was told that many of the pharmaceuticals used today are based on the chemical makeup of herbs. That being said, I would use any herb or natural item with caution because one can never know if something is safe for us or if we have an allergy to it. Being natural does not automatically mean it is safe.
            Just look at Soy. It is both beneficial and yet has side effects.

        3. Sarah Avatar

          There are many varieties of lavender…lavenders angustifolia does not have hormonal properties

      2. Shay Avatar

        We thought rubbing alcohol would be drying as well as a problem if people thought they could drink
        it, we used vodka or ever clear. Both work great with the herbs and it also mixes will with the carrier oil. In our mixture we used whole cloves in the alcohol and mixed it twice a day for 4 days. At the end of 4 days, strain the large pieces of cloves out and add the oil. Just a few drops will do a great job with
        mosquitos so far for us! I would like to hear from anyone else who has tried this formula.

        1. Irene Avatar

          Yes, clove solution works very well against flying pests, fleas, and ticks.
          After straining the cloves I toss them under our porch and deck…keeps mosquitoes away for awhile!

        2. shrav Avatar

          Hi shay,
          Hw many cloves per oz? And what oil needs to be added? And is this solution for application or spray in room?

        3. paula nelson Avatar
          paula nelson

          I also did the cloves soaked in vodka for 2 days. Strained it, added pure vanilla extract, peppermint extract, & a little witch hazel. I made it a few times & used it all summer, & will definitely do it again next summer. The scent was wonderful as well.

        4. Shell Avatar

          Hi Shay. Would you mind posting this exact recipe? How much alcohol, how many cloves, what kind of oil? Thank you

    4. Victoria Avatar

      The best home bug repellant… Spray bottle with baby oil, imitation vanilla extract, thin with water if desired. I use it on myself and my horses, works on mosquitoes, horse flies, deer flies, does not attract bees, even though we smell like sugar cookies. I use the cheap generic versions, works just as good as name brand. You can add lavender or lemon juice if you want…and lavender scented baby oil is perfectly fine.

      1. James Brock Avatar
        James Brock

        Recipe please can’t find anything to work on horse flies for more than 5 mln i do a lot of riding stopping to spay is a pain

        1. Dawn Avatar

          I decided to experiment with the baby oil and vanilla extract. I found that a mixture of creamy baby oil, vanilla extract and a little bit of water works great. I had approximately 1/2 bottle (5 OZ) left of the cheap dollar tree creamy baby oil . I added 2 teaspoons of Vanilla Extract (pure), and 5 Tablespoons of water. I applied it like a lotion, and the only places I get bit is where I forget to put it! I got tired of smelling like a baby, plus the mixture was too heavy for my skin, so once the mixture I already had made was down to about 3 OZ, I added another 5 T of water, 2 Tablespoons of artificial vanilla extract (pure extract gets pricey) and 10 drops of Lavender essential oil, and it still works great (and smells better). If you can afford the pure Vanilla Extract, it would be best to use it, as the artificial vanilla extract can irritate your skin.

      2. Alex Avatar

        could you please supply me with the recipe that contains the proper measurements
        Thank You

      3. Kelly Avatar

        What amounts do you use of each to so fantastically effective?!

    5. angela woods Avatar
      angela woods

      We use water and peppermint oil and it works great!:)

      1. Margie Avatar

        Angela Wood, how much peppermint oil do you mix with the water? I just used it straight and that was a bad idea. Please advise! thanks. Margie

    6. Lisa Avatar

      The mosquitos were so bad here a few weeks ago I had to cover my mouth and nose to keep them out and should have had goggles to keep them out of my eyes!, but they didn’t bite (at least were I sprayed, sure wish I had remembered my ankles LOL). I used a combination of lemon/eucalyptus oil 20-50 drops to 4 oz. water and 1 tsp. alcohol. Also shake it good before you use it each time. Good luck

    7. Kristin Avatar

      Hey wellness mama I have a 13 month old boy he had an allergic reaction to a mosquito bite I want a solution that is natural that will be safe for him. I read below not to use lavender and Teatree oil because it will mess with boys….

      1. Celeste Avatar

        I too have allergic reactions to mosquito bites. The great thing is that our own saliva counteracts it. Might be a bit tricky to do with a young child, but putting a few drops of saliva on a mosquito bite and they go away pretty quickly. And the great thing is you always have this remedy with you no matter where you go.

    8. Eva Avatar

      I work with mosquitos, and have heard from various colleagues that vinegar is actually an attractant to mosquitos. Now, this is with just regular vinegar, so I’m not sure how different Apple cider vinegar reacts with them, but just a little food for thought.

    9. Jay Avatar

      I like to add Rose Geranium to my spray to stop ticks. Apply every 2 hours.

    10. Jacqueline Cox Avatar
      Jacqueline Cox

      Agreed! I’d rather go with a proven method when the alternative is potentially lime disease. If you don’t live near areas with disease carrying bugs, perhaps a few bites are worth the risk.

    11. Alan Nodolf Avatar
      Alan Nodolf

      I live in Arkansas where ticks and chiggers are a big problem in the woods, and I cut a lot of firewood. What I have the best results with is Avon skin-so-soft with a few drops of patchouli oil mixed in for my skin, long sleeved light colored shirt, pants with duct tape around ankles, and heavy DEET on my boots, pant legs, and shirt sleeves.

    12. Nicole Avatar

      Vinegar does not work on skin for mosquito, it does the opposite. Instead use smoke sticks in combination with extract menthol based herbs.

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