How to Make a Natural Insect Repellent By Burning Lemon Leaves

by Rohina

During my visit to the Amalfi coast, I stumbled upon a fascinating DIY natural insect repellent hack that locals use to keep insects away from their homes and businesses. They burned lemon tree leaves outside their entrances. I learned it's an age-old Italian grandma's trick to naturally repel insects.

Inspired by this ingenious solution, I decided to bring this technique back home and share it with you. In this tutorial, I'll guide you through the steps of creating your own natural insect repellent using burning lemon tree leaves.

Tools and materials

  • Fresh lemon leaves
  • Cotton wick (available at craft stores or online)
  • Olive or coconut oil (or any oil that you would use in an oil lamp)
  • Matches or a lighter
  • Small container or dish to hold the oil-soaked wick
  • Fire-safe surface or holder
Gathering fresh lemon leaves

1. Gather fresh lemon leaves

Start by collecting fresh lemon leaves. These can be from your own lemon tree or obtained from a local farmer's market or grocery store. Make sure the leaves are clean and free from any pesticides.

2. Prepare the cotton wick

Cut a piece of the cotton wick to a length that comfortably fits the container or dish you'll be using. The wick should be long enough to reach the oil but not so long that it falls out of the container.

3. Soak the wick in oil

Place the cotton wick in a container and pour olive oil (or your chosen oil) over it. Allow the wick to soak for a few minutes, ensuring it absorbs the oil.

Lemon leaves

4. Arrange the lemon leaves

Take a few lemon leaves and arrange them in a pile. You can use as many leaves as you'd like, depending on the intensity of the scent you prefer. Make sure the leaves are dry before proceeding.

5. Assemble the repellent

Carefully place the oil-soaked wick over the pile of lemon leaves. The leaves will act as a natural base for the wick and help release their citrusy aroma as they burn.

Burning lemon leaves

6. Ignite the wick

Using matches or a lighter, carefully light the top of the cotton wick. Allow it to burn for a few seconds until it catches fire. The oil-soaked wick will keep the flame steady and allow the lemon leaves to smolder and release their scent.

7. Position the repellent

Place the container or dish with the burning lemon leaves and wick outside your entrance. Ensure it's on a fire-safe surface and away from any flammable materials. This will create a natural barrier to repel insects from entering your home.

8. Monitor and extinguish

Keep an eye on the burning lemon leaves and wick. If you need to extinguish it, gently blow out the flame or use a fire extinguisher if necessary. Remember, safety always comes first.

Over time, the lemon leaves will burn down and the wick will need to be replaced. You can refresh the repellent by adding more oil to the wick and replacing the burnt lemon leaves.

DIY natural insect repellent

DIY natural insect repellent

Enjoy your insect-free zone with your homemade natural lemon leaf insect repellent in place. Now you can enjoy a bug-free entrance to your home, just like the charming homes and businesses along the Amalfi coast.

Embrace the beauty of this age-old technique and enjoy the benefits of keeping insects at bay naturally. Let me know in the comments if you used this hack and if it worked for you!

Follow @rohina on Instagram for more DIY ideas.

Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  1 question
  • Bobbi Stafford Bobbi Stafford on Aug 23, 2023
    Do the lemon leaves need to be dried out, and not freshly pruned?
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