How To Make Essential Oil Mosquito Repellent

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As the warm summer sun sets over the homestead, the air is filled with the sounds of nature – the rustling of leaves in a gentle breeze, the chirping of crickets, and the distant calls of birds settling in for the night. This idyllic scene, however, is often marred by the high-pitched whine of mosquitoes. These tiny, relentless pests can turn a peaceful evening outdoors into a battle against itchy bites and constant swatting.

For those living on a homestead, the presence of mosquitoes can be particularly challenging. The abundance of water sources like ponds, rain barrels, and animal troughs, combined with lush vegetation, creates the perfect breeding ground for these insects. As dusk falls, mosquitoes emerge in droves, seeking out any exposed skin to feast upon.

While conventional bug sprays might offer some relief, they often come with a host of undesirable side effects due to their chemical components. This has led many homesteaders to seek natural, effective alternatives. Enter essential oils – nature’s own repellents.

In this article, we’ll explore the dangers of mosquito bites, the risks associated with conventional bug sprays, and how essential oils can be used to create a safe and effective DIY mosquito repellent spray. We’ll also provide homestead tips to keep mosquitoes at bay and a simple recipe for making your own repellent.

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If you want to keep those ticks at bay, check out this Essential Oil Blend For Tick Repelling!

homemade mosquito repellent with lemon eucalyptus oil

The Dangers of Mosquito Bites

Mosquito bites are more than just an itchy nuisance; they can pose serious health risks. Mosquitoes are vectors for diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, Zika virus, and West Nile virus. The saliva injected during a bite contains proteins that prevent blood clotting and trigger an immune response, leading to itching and swelling.

Some people are more prone to getting large welts after a mosquito bite due to a stronger allergic reaction to these proteins. This condition, known as Skeeter Syndrome, can cause significant discomfort and even secondary infections from scratching. Individuals with sensitive skin or a history of allergies are more susceptible to these exaggerated reactions.

Two of my three kiddos and the hubby unfortunately fall victim to these severe reactions. As soon as one of those pesky boogers lands on them they immediately welt up. This was one of the reasons I created my Buggie Bites Salve, but I felt like I could do more to help protect them. What better way than to prevent the bites from happening in the first place!

Homestead Tips to Reduce Mosquitoes

Beyond personal repellents, managing mosquitoes around your home and garden can significantly reduce their population.

  1. Eliminate Standing Water: Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water. Regularly empty and clean containers that collect water.
  2. Use Mosquito-Repelling Plants: Plants like lavender, marigold, and basil can naturally deter mosquitoes.
  3. Install Screens: Ensure windows and doors are fitted with screens to keep mosquitoes out.
  4. Maintain Yard Cleanliness: Regularly mow the lawn and trim bushes to reduce mosquito habitats.
  5. Use Natural Predators: Encourage the presence of natural mosquito predators like dragonflies and birds.
homemade mosquito repellent for humans

The Dangers of Conventional Bug Sprays: DEET Health Risks

While conventional bug sprays are effective at repelling mosquitoes, many contain DEET (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide), which has raised health concerns. DEET is known for its ability to dissolve plastic and synthetic fabrics, hinting at its potency. Research has shown that DEET can cause skin irritation, especially with prolonged use.

Several peer-reviewed studies have highlighted potential neurotoxic effects of DEET. For instance, a study published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health found that DEET exposure in rats led to behavioral changes and impaired motor skills . Another study in Human and Experimental Toxicology suggested that DEET could be linked to seizures in children. Additionally, they have also found cancer links in some studies.

Ultimately, DEET is definitely NOT something you want sprayed on you or your family! Luckily, we have alternative options to keep the mosquitos off.

natural mosquito repellent reddit

Essential Oils for Mosquito Repellent

Essential oils are a natural alternative to chemical repellents, with several studies supporting their effectiveness against mosquitoes. Here are some of the most effective essential oils:

  1. Citronella: Citronella oil is one of the most well-known natural repellents. A study published in Phytotherapy Research found that citronella oil provided complete protection against mosquitoes for up to 120 minutes. It is generally safe for use around children and pets when properly diluted.
  2. Clove: Clove oil contains eugenol, which has strong insect-repelling properties. A study in the Journal of Medical Entomology showed that clove oil could repel mosquitoes for up to two hours. However, it should be used with caution around children and pets due to its potency.
  3. Geranium: Geranium oil is effective against a variety of insects, including mosquitoes. Research indicated that geranium oil provided significant protection against mosquito bites. It is safe for both children and pets when diluted.
  4. Thyme: Thyme oil has been shown to repel mosquitoes effectively. A study in Parasitology Research demonstrated that thyme oil could provide protection for up to three hours. It should be used cautiously around pets due to its potential toxicity if ingested.
  5. Patchouli: Patchouli oil has long been used as an insect repellent. It has shown significant results in its mosquito repellent properties. It is generally considered safe for children and pets when used in appropriate dilutions.
  6. Lavender: Lavender oil is not only known for its calming properties but also its mosquito-repelling effects. A study in the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association found that lavender oil can repel adult mosquitoes. It is safe for use around children and pets and has a pleasant scent.
  7. Lemon Eucalyptus: Lemon eucalyptus oil contains PMD (para-menthane-3,8-diol), which has been shown to be as effective as DEET. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes it as an effective mosquito repellent. It is safe for use around children older than three years.
  8. Peppermint: Peppermint oil has a high menthol content, which provides a cooling sensation and repels mosquitoes. A study in Parasitology Research indicated that peppermint oil could effectively repel mosquitoes. It is safe for use around children and pets when diluted.
  9. Tea Tree: Tea tree oil is known for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as its insect-repelling abilities. Research published in Parasitology Research showed that tea tree oil has repellent effects against mosquitoes. It should be used with caution around pets.
  10. Basil: Basil oil has been shown to repel mosquitoes effectively. A study found that basil oil can reduce mosquito landing rates. It is safe for use around children and pets when diluted.
  11. Neem: Neem oil has been traditionally used as a natural pesticide and mosquito repellent. Research published in Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association confirmed its efficacy against various mosquito species. It is generally safe for use around children and pets when used in appropriate concentrations.

Using these essential oils, you can create a personalized mosquito repellent blend that suits your needs while ensuring safety for your family and pets. Always remember to perform a patch test before widespread use to avoid any potential allergic reactions.

making natural mosquito repellent

DIY Mosquito Repellent Roller Bottle Blend Recipe

In addition to the mosquito repellent spray recipe below, a roller bottle blend is a convenient and portable option for repelling mosquitoes. Here’s a simple recipe using essential oils:



  1. Add the essential oils (Citronella, Clove, Geranium, Thyme, and Patchouli) to the roller bottle.
  2. Fill the rest of the roller bottle with your chosen carrier oil.
  3. Secure the roller ball top and cap.
  4. Shake well to mix.


  • Roll the blend onto exposed skin areas, such as wrists, ankles, and neck. Avoid contact with the eyes and mouth.
  • Reapply every 2-3 hours or as needed.


  • Store the roller bottle in a cool, dark place to maintain the potency of the essential oils.
  • The blend should last up to 6 months if stored properly.

Using a roller bottle blend is an easy and effective way to keep mosquitoes at bay while on the go.

rosemary plant and mosquitoes

DIY Mosquito Repellent Spray Recipe

Create your own mosquito repellent spray with this simple recipe.

Mosquito Repellent Spray

This essential oil spray can be made in seconds and REALLY works to keep those pesky mosquitos at bay!
Prep Time5 minutes


  • 4 oz Spray Bottle


  • Add Witch Hazel to the spray bottle.
  • Add the essential oils: Citronella, Clove, Geranium, Thyme, and Patchouli.
  • Fill the rest of the bottle with filtered water.
  • Shake well to mix.

How to Use and Store the Spray


  • Shake the bottle well before each use.
  • Spray on exposed skin and clothing, avoiding the face and eyes.
  • Reapply every 2-3 hours or as needed.


  • Store the spray in a cool, dark place to preserve the essential oils’ potency.
  • The spray should last up to 6 months if stored properly.

By using essential oils, you can create an effective and natural mosquito repellent spray, avoiding the risks associated with chemical-based repellents. Enjoy your summer outdoors without the worry of mosquito bites and their associated dangers.

Hey Beautiful! I’m Tara, garden enthusiasts, keeper of chickens, herbal homesteader and stay at home mom of 3 tiny humans and a sourdough starter named Ma. I love teaching others how to live a self-sufficient and sustainable life through homesteading, scratch cooking, and remembering to live barefoot, wild and free!

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