A Healthy, Non-Toxic DIY Mosquito Repellent
When it comes to mosquitoes, I've won the dubious honor of being the "Most Popular Girl in the Block." Over the years, I've tried almost any mosquito repellent you can think off. I even got a 97% DEET - can you imagine? - for a trip to the rain forest. Hate to say, that besides being toxic, it did not work! Nada.
That's when I decided to create my own recipe.
So easy that you won't believe it! Here's what you'll need to make yours:
For the base:
2oz Pure Witch Hazel
1oz Rubbing alcohol - The 70% Isopropyl is ideal but the 50% will work as well.
1oz Distilled Water - if not available use boiled waiter
13-16 drops of Essential oil of Citronella
11-14 drops of Essential oil of Lemongrass
12-16 drops of Essential oil of Peppermint
11-14 drops of Essential oil of Grapefruit or Lemon
10-14 drops of Essential oil of Rosemary
10-14 drops of Essential oil of Eucalyptus
6-10 drops of Essential oil of Lavender
Glass or metal spray bottle to dispense
A glass jar with a lid to store all your repellent
NOTE: essential and fragrance oils are not the same. You'll need essential oils to make this recipe. Though a bit more expensive than regular, I prefer organic essential oils.
Plants are grown without pesticides and I found organic oils to be better quality. There are many brands out there but in my experience not all are the same! When available, I buy Aura Cacia.
Tea Tree oil
Jojoba oil (preferred), almond oil, or grape seed oil.
As for the oils, it is ok to skip some though I found that combining them works better. Mosquitoes in certain areas seem to be immune to particular oils that otherwise work well in others.
TIP: If you can't find witch hazel use distilled or boiled water instead, and adjust amounts accordingly.
You'll also need a scale and a glass container with a closed lid to store your repellent-hard plastic is ok, but not ideal-and a scale to measure your base mix.
Let's get started!
Drop carrier liquids-witch hazel, alcohol, and distilled water-in a glass bottle. Use a scale to weight amounts, so it's easier to keep your proportions right.
I started with the water: add 1 oz to your glass container.
Add another oz of alcohol.
And lastly 2 oz of witch hazel.
Move the scale out of the way and lay out all your essential oils. Grab your recipe and a pen, too.
I suggest you start with the lowest amounts the recipe calls for, and if you need a stronger mix go up.
Begin by adding the 13 drops of Citronella oil to the base and put this oil away.
TIP: Get your recipe and add a checkmark next to the ingredient you just added: i.e. Citronella. it's a lot easier to keep track in case you get distracted.
If you change amounts or replace oils, record these changes as well in there.
Continue adding the 11 drops of lemongrass, 12 of peppermint, 11 of grapefruit or lemon, 10 of rosemary, 10 of eucalyptus, and 6 of lavender.
To mine, I also added 6 drops of tea tree oil and 6 of jojoba oil. These are optional-it's ok if you don't have them handy.
You can put neem oil as well. It is a great natural insecticidal and great for the skin and hair, but t has a very strong scent so I'm going to skip it.
And voil: Your mosquito repellant is ready! :)
TIP: Make sure you label your glass container with the date, so everyone in the household knows what's in that bottle. At home, Hubster has a short-term memory so labeling avoids problems: like using the repellant instead of the all purpose cleaner ;-)
Now, before you use it you'll need to do one more thing: Shake well and pour into a spray bottle.
I actually have two dispensers: A small but fancy perfume spray bottle-in glass and stainless steel, with an aluminum case-that I carry in my purse-and a larger one in aluminum, perfect for the outdoors.
However, I keep most of my repellent in the larger glass jar in ideal storage conditions: an enclosed cool, dark place away from direct sunlight.
I suggest you do likewise: pour a small amount into your spray bottle and keep the rest well stored.
Then refill as needed.
Remember that natural bug repellent will need to be reapplied every few hours for maximum effectiveness.
Feel free to vary amounts.
The higher the amounts of essential oils, the more concentrate. I suggest you start with mine and see how it goes.
Dark-colored glass bottles work best for products containing essential oils. Since I couldn't find a dark bottle, so I'm using clear glass.
Once you've made your mix, store in a cool, dark place when not using.
Finally, glass or metal containers and spray bottles are preferred over plastic, especially for long-term storage. It's preferable to make smaller and more frequent batches.
A FEW CONSIDERATIONS
- None of the ingredients nor the repellant, should be ingested
- Don't forget to test the repellent in a small area of your body before you fully apply if you have allergies or a very sensitive skin. I haven't heard of any harm, but better safe! J
- Pregnant or nursing should consult a health practitioner before using any essential oils, specially undiluted.
- Be cautious when applying essential oils on young children. Test first, and don't apply to eyes, mouth, or cuts.
- Always label homemade products well and keep them out of reach from children and pets.
Learn how to make mosquito repellant candles with this how to make citronella candles guide!
Resources for this project:
Tina on Aug 12, 2022
I, too am a mosquito magnet. I am from south Louisiana where the swarms are outrageous. Two things which have worked for me: 1) baby oil or coconut oil with eucalyptus oil drops—-mosquitoes hate eucalyptus. No specific quantity, just until the eucalyptus is strong. The second is Avon’s Skin-so-Soft, I use it in a spray bottle. Just apply and smooth into skin. Both do the job and totally eliminate mosquito bites.