Homemade Bug Spray Repellent

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Mosquitos, they are everywhere. It seems like the minute you walk outside they find you. That’s why it’s so important to have a good Homemade Bug Spray with you. Natural bug sprays, made with essential oils, a carrier oil, and witch hazel, are effective ways to help combat being bothered by those pesky little flying bugs while you are trying to enjoy your time outdoors.

Glass spray bottle with homemade bug spray

How to Make Your Own Homemade Bug Spray

If you have thought about making your own bug spray for your skin instead of buying it at the store, don’t worry, you are not alone. There are a lot of recipes and tips out there on how to make it yourself, however, there are some key tips that you must keep in mind when you are wanting to make it by yourself.

Essential oils, even though they are great for you to use, they can also be quite toxic to both you and your pets and certain ones cannot be combined together. It’s imperative that you do your due diligence when making your own DIY bug spray.

Does Tea Tree Oil Keep Bugs Away?

Yes. It’s been known to help keep bugs such as ticks and mosquitos away. As well as bed bugs, lice, and dust mites.

Can you Put Tea Tree Oil Directly on your Skin?

No, you shouldn’t. Anytime you are using this type of an essential oil on your skin, you must use a carrier oil of some type to dilute it. Some great suggestions are Almond oil, Olive oil, and Coconut oil. Then apply it to your skin.

How Long Will This Last?

You will have to reapply every 2 to 3 hours.

Why Aren’t you Using Citronella Essential Oil?

Even though citronella is known to be a bug repellent (i.e. citronella candles), it’s actually not that safe for your skin. It’s been known to cause skin reactions and it’s unsafe to inhale. And it’s toxic for your pets. That’s why it’s not a good oil to put in your homemade bug repellent that you are going to be using on your skin. It’s best to leave the citronella outside and in your candles that you have sitting around.

What Can I Use Instead of Tea Tree Oil?

If you are allergic to tea tree oil, you can just omit it. You are still getting the bug deterrent from the lemongrass and the lavender.

Oils to Avoid on your Skin

There are some essential oils that you should not put on your skin directly due to the possible reactions to them.

  • Cinnamon
  • Citrus
  • Lemongrass
  • Peppermint
  • Clove
  • Jasmine
  • Tea Tree

That’s why it’s important when you start using essential oils to remember you will need to:

  1. Buy a carrier oil to dilute the oil
  2. Test small areas of your skin to make sure you aren’t having a reaction
  3. Do your due diligence and research before just making something you find online.
  4. Make sure the products you are being told to buy are cosmetic grade, approved for use on your skin, and/or FDA approved.

What Smells do Bugs Dislike?

Even though this isn’t a complete list, some of the essential oil scents they do not like are:

  • Lavender
  • Lemongrass
  • Peppermint
  • Tea Tree
  • Cedarwood

Health Benefits of Essential Oils

There is so much out there on the internet about essential oils. There are countless DIY recipes and how-tos. One of the key things to remember is that when you are starting into using any type of these oils, you must do your research. I cannot stress this enough. You must do you due diligence when researching your oils.

Just like there are countless recipes, there are also countless experts. One site that I have started to go to during my research has been the Cleveland Clinic. They have put together a fantastic post called Essential Oils: Their Benefits and How to Use Them that is well worth the time to read.

Store-Bought Bug Repellent

If you aren’t feeling up to the task of making your own and are concerned about the effects of using essential oils, there are still great products out there that you can use.

Babyganics DEET Free Travel Size Bug Spray – I have actually used this for my kids and I have been very happy with it.

US Organic Anti-Bug Spray – I have also used this and it works well.

Is This Safe for Kids?

Essential oils are NOT to be used on children under the age of 3 months old. You will also need to dilute the spray even more if using on young children. If you have never used essential oils around your children, it would be best to consult with their pediatrician first. And always keep them out of reach of young children.

Expert Tips, Ingredient List and Suggestions for Recipe Success

  • Lemongrass essential oil – this oil is closely related to Citronella.
  • Lavender essential oil – bugs really dislike this plant.
  • Almond carrier oil – you can also use jojoba, coconut, sesame, or olive.
  • Tea tree essential oil – this is known to be a good bug repellent.
  • Witch Hazel – if you don’t have this, you can also use vodka.
Ingredients to make Homemade Bug Spray

Supplies Needed:

  • Mini glass spray bottle – this set I found on Amazon has everything, including a mini funnel and dropper.
  • Measuring cup
  • Tablespoon


  • Don’t let the dogs lick you or the kids after putting this homemade bug spray on. Essential oils as well as certain plants can be toxic to your pets. As with all things, do your research.
  • Keep in mind that using any type of citrus based essential oils, such as the Lemongrass, may cause sun sensitivity. Make sure to be careful when you are out in the sun when using anything with essential oils.
  • If you have a tendency to have skin allergies, allergies, or if you have asthma, make sure to talk to your doctor before using essential oils.
  • We are not giving out any medical advice. This spray is one we have used before ourselves. We are not responsible for any problems that you have when you make this. As with any time you use essential oils, there could be a reaction.
  • When measuring out the witch hazel, you will need to use 10 drops for each drop of essential oil.
  • Avoid spraying this on your face and getting it into your eyes and mouth.
  • Do NOT add water when making this. Remember the old saying water and oil don’t mix. When you add essential oils to water, they will do just like it does when you normally add oil to water. The oil sits on top.
  • Also remember that bugs are attracted to everyone differently. You may find you will need to increase the drops of essential oil that you use for your family.

Step by Step Directions

You will find complete instructions in the How to Card below. This is just a brief breakdown.

Step 1: In a measuring cup, mix in the essential oils and the witch hazel.

Step 2: Add in your carrier oil.

Step 3: Add into your spray bottle.

Homemade bug spray for skin in a glass spray bottle

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Glass spray bottle with homemade bug spray
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5 from 1 vote

Homemade Bug Spray

Homemade bug spray, made with essential oils, a carrier oil, and witch hazel, is an effective way to help combat being bothered by those pesky little flying bugs while you are trying to enjoy your time outdoors.
Prep Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Crafting/DIY
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Bug Repellent, Bug Spray, DIY, DIY Bug Spray for Your Skin, Homemade Bug Spray for Skin
Servings: 0.5 cup


  • Glass bottle with sprayer
  • Mini funnel
  • Measuring cup
  • Tablespoon
  • Mini dropper


  • 20 drops Lavender Essential Oil
  • 16 drops Lemongrass Essential Oil
  • 16 drops Tea Tree Oil
  • Witch Hazel 10 drops for EACH drop of essential oil
  • 2 tablespoons Almond Oil or other carrier oil


  • In a medium sized measuring cup, start adding in the essential oils one at a time.
  • You will need to add in 10 drops of witch hazel for EACH drop of essential oil as you need to dilute the oils.
  • Next add in the almond oil and stir.
  • Using the mini funnel, pour the mixture into the glass bottles you are using.
  • Shake together and spray. Rub onto the skin if needed.

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