Mosquito Repellent DIY – You’re 30 Minutes From Bug Free Freedom

2 Materials
30 Minutes

This super simple mosquito repellent solution uses recycled cardboard drink holders to create smoke that keeps the bug away. Try it, it works awesome!!

Make this simple mosquito repellent using stuff from the recycling bin!


First you’ll need to collect a few things from around the house for this Mosquito Repellent DIY:

  1. A piece of wire (8-12″ long) it may get hot so nothing plastic or paper, use actual wire or maybe a coat hanger.
  2. A larger tin can (I used a can from spaghetti sauce)
  3. A drill and small drill bit (you can also use a hammer and nail)
  4. Some cardboard drink holders like the ones from the fast-food drive-thru

Making a Mosquito Repeller

To start, drill a couple of holes near the top of your tin. These holes will be used to attach the wire to hang or handle your mosquito repeller.

*Hint, smaller drill bits drill through metal easier, but be careful it will move around a bit. In a pinch, you can also use a hammer and nail. Put a piece of wood in the container to hammer into, so you don’t crush the tin.

Next up, we’re going to drill a bunch of holes in the tin to help the airflow, and help spread the smoke around better.

I also drilled a hole in the middle of the lid. This part is totally optional, but I figured I’d give it a try anyway.

Lighting your Mosquito Repellent is pretty easy. Rip off a chunk of your cardboard drink holder, and light the end on fire. Blow out the flames when it starts burning. Then toss it in the tin can. The glowing embers will slowly burn all the cardboard, and the smoke will keep the bugs away.

Boom, you’re pretty much done with this Mosquito Repellent DIY project. You can see I pulled the wire through the hole in the top of my tin to act as a damper. I can flip it up to let more air in and make more smoke, but it will burn faster.

The wire handle lets you pick it up without burning your hand, and can also be used to hang it up

Burnt ash is easy to dump out

Hope you loved this Mosquito Killing hack. Well, it doesn’t actually kill them, but they don’t kill the vibe with this bad boy!! haahah

If you’re not up to the DIY, I’ve heard amazing things about these Thermacell Mosquito Repellers

If you have a large area to protect, there are a couple of other options.

Dynatrap makes electric Mosquito traps that cover up to 1 acre of land. The Mosquito Magnet also covers up to an acre and claims to reduce the overall population of mosquitos over 4 weeks.

DIY home decor using repurposed tin cans

Check out more creative ways to reuse empty tin cans here.

Resources for this project:
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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 9 questions
  • V. mckane V. mckane on Jul 16, 2021


  • Ken Ken on Jul 17, 2021

    i see the can upside down on the table, WHY? wont ithe ash come out and burn the table?

  • Cathleendunn435 Cathleendunn435 on Jun 28, 2022

    would it be ok to use a citronella can that's empty? it already has a handle.

Join the conversation
2 of 48 comments
  • Cecelia Cox Cecelia Cox on Jun 17, 2023

    To kill mosquitoes in the larval stage, which is the most effective way, make a bucket of doom. 5 gallon bucket, fill with water, put in some hay or grass clippings, and 1/4 of a Mosquito dunk. It’s not a pesticide, but a bacteria, harmless to anything but mosquitoes so it won’t hurt pollinators, birds or fish. Google entomologist Doug Tallamy.

  • Jacki L. Goss Jacki L. Goss on Jun 17, 2023

    Easier way to make the holes without affecting the shape of the can….a tip from the “Tin Punch era”

    Fill can with water - Freeze - Remove from freezer - Make a hammock shaped nest to hold can in place - Take hammer and nail and proceed to make your holes.

    Hope this works for you.