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Easy Homemade Mosquito Repellent Spray

It’s time to throw away your toxin-filled, store-bought insect repellent! This easy, homemade mosquito repellent is all you need—and it’s 100% toxin-free!

Woman holding homemade bug repellent.

DIY Mosquito Repellent Spray

That time of year is right around the corner—pool parties, campouts, and backyard barbecues. It’s time to break out the insect repellent.

But instead of your usual store-bought insect repellent, try this easy, homemade mosquito repellent spray.

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure statement here.)

I am not a doctor and the statements on this blog have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products mentioned here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Consult your doctor before using essential oils on children under 5 or while pregnant or breastfeeding. Please do not ask me for medical advice. Click here to read my full disclaimer.

Harmful Chemicals in Insect Repellent

Since you came to this post in search of a DIY insect repellent, it’s probably safe to assume you may already be aware of the harmful chemicals typically used in insect repellent.

But just in case you don’t know, let me share just a few of the nasty chemicals that can be found in store-bought insect repellents like Off and Cutter.

Deet is the most popular active ingredient in insect repellents. However, other harmful chemicals, such as pyrethroids, permethrin, cyfluthrin, and more, are also used in repellents.

Side Effects of Chemicals Used in Insect Repellent

Many of the chemicals used in store-bought insect repellents have been linked to neurotoxicity.

Neurotoxicity refers to brain or peripheral nervous system damage caused by exposure to a biological, chemical, or physical agent.

Symptoms can include headaches, vision loss, loss of memory and cognitive function, fatigue, sexual dysfunction, and, quite honestly, the list goes on and on and on.

Deet Dangers

Deet is especially dangerous! When deet is applied to the skin, some people may experience a rash, redness, or hives. If accidentally ingested, it can cause seizures!

And like so many of the other harmful chemicals used in personal care products today, deet is believed to be a carcinogen. 

There are actually many other harmful effects of deet. You can read this article to learn more about them.

Alternative (Deet Free) Insect Repellent 

Finding alternatives to many of the toxin-filled products available today can be challenging. Even the so-called “natural” products available in stores sometimes still contain harmful ingredients.

The best way to avoid toxic chemicals is to make your own DIY products—that way, you know exactly what you are putting on your body.

This all-natural, homemade mosquito repellent spray is super easy to make, works great, and is 100% toxin-free! And you only need five ingredients to make it!

Homemade Mosquito Repellent Ingredients

Three out of the five ingredients used to make this homemade mosquito repellent are essential oils.

If you are unfamiliar with essential oils, please read my ultimate beginners guide to essential oils to learn more about them.

Citronella Essential Oil

Citronella essential oil comes from the Asian grass plant known as Cymbopogon nardus. It is actually used in many well-known insect-repellent products, such as sprays, creams, and candles.

Citronella has been registered as a plant-based insect repellent in the United States for over 50 years.

Citronella is known to repel dangerous Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which are capable of spreading the Zika virus.

Lemongrass Essential Oil

Lemongrass essential oil is extracted from the lemongrass plant. Lemongrass can repel many insects, including mosquitoes and ants. 

Peppermint Essential Oil

I love the smell of peppermint, but apparently, bugs do not. Peppermint essential oil has been known to repel mosquitoes, ants, gnats, and horseflies.

Distilled Water

Water is the base for this homemade bug repellent spray. It is best to use distilled water whenever possible. The minerals in tap water can clog your spray nozzle.

Witch Hazel

Water and essential oils do not mix. Witch hazel helps to combine the essential oils and water.

How to Make Homemade Mosquito Repellent Spray 

You’ll just need the ingredients above and a small glass bottle to make this DIY bug repellent spray.

I use a 4-ounce bottle for this DIY, which can be purchased from Amazon. If you use a different size bottle, you’ll need to adjust the ratios below.

It is also very important to use a glass bottle. Plastic bottles should never be used with essential oils.

Pure essential oils are very potent, and the plastic may begin to deteriorate and leach into the essential oils over time.

Keeping it in a dark glass bottle is also important because sunlight can damage the essential oils used in this DIY mosquito repellent spray. 

Fill the glass bottle with equal parts witch hazel and distilled water. Then add 15 drops each of citronella, peppermint, and lemongrass essential oils.

Gently roll the bottle between your hands to blend everything together, and you’re done! That’s it!

Homemade Mosquito Repellent For Kids

The above recipe is recommended for children ten and older. For children 2-10 years old, please use lavender essential oil instead of peppermint. Also, use only ten drops of each essential oil instead of 15.

Homemade Mosquito Repellent For Babies

I do not recommend using this bug repellent on babies three months old or younger. For babies three months to two years old, please use the kid’s recipe above and lightly spray their clothes only. Avoid contact with skin.



Yield: 4oz
Active Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Time to throw away your toxin-filled, store-bought, insect repellent! This easy, homemade, mosquito repellent is all you need. And it's 100% toxin-free!



  1. Use funnel to fill the glass bottle with equal parts witch hazel and distilled water
  2. Add 15 drops of citronella essential oil
  3. Add 15 drops of peppermint essential oil
  4. Add 15 drops of lemongrass essential oil
  5. Attach nozzle & gently roll between hands to blend well

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

How to Use Homemade Mosquito Repellent 

This spray is simple to use. Just spray liberally all over your skin, hair, and clothes whenever you are in an environment with a lot of bugs.

This spray won’t last as long as your typical, toxin-filled, store-bought repellent. It should be reapplied every hour.

How to Store DIY Mosquito Repellent Spray

Heat can cause mold and bacteria to grow, so try to store this DIY bug repellent spray in a cool, dark place, like under your bathroom or kitchen sink.

It is also important to keep it in a dark glass bottle because sunlight can damage the essential oils used in this homemade bug repellent spray. 

And the bottle should be made out of glass because pure essential oils are very potent, and plastic may begin to deteriorate and leach into the DIY bug repellent spray.

When Does Homemade Bug Repellent Spray Expire?

Homemade products made with water that does not contain a preservative don’t last very long. That is because bacteria and mold can grow in water quite quickly.

So, since this DIY insect repellent spray is made with part water, its shelf life isn’t very long.

If you follow the directions above and make sure to store the DIY insect repellent spray in a cool, dark place, it should last around 30 days.

Can Tap Water Be Used Instead Of Distilled Or Filtered Water?

I personally only use distilled water because the tap water where I live is full of toxins.

Also, the minerals in tap water can clog your spray nozzle.

But you’re free to use whatever type of water you would like. Distilled water is just my personal preference.

If you know your tap water is safe or you are just not concerned about the potential toxic chemicals in the tap water, then by all means, use that instead.

What Can I Use Instead of Witch Hazel in DIY Bug Repellent Spray?

If you don’t have witch hazel on hand, you can use drinkable grain alcohol (ethanol) or vodka instead.

DIY Bug Repellent Tips

If you plan on storing this DIY mosquito repellent for more than 30 days, add 1/2 a tablespoon of vodka to preserve freshness.

Make sure to shake the bottle well prior to each use, and never spray directly onto the face.

Also, If you have never applied any of the above-mentioned essential oils to your skin before, please do a skin patch test prior to applying it all over to make sure you do not have an allergic reaction.

Use Pure Essential Oils

There are many essential oil companies that sell high-quality essential oils. I used to use Young Living oils exclusively but I just couldn’t afford to use them anymore.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover several brands that sell amazing, high-quality essential oils at very affordable prices.

I regularly use Eden’s GardenPlant Therapy, and Simply Earth essential oils. 

If you decide to buy from Simply Earth, you can use the code HAPPYHEARTFREE to receive a free $45 Simply Earth gift card with the purchase of your first recipe box.

If you are unfamiliar with Simply Earth or their recipe box, you can check out previous boxes here.

If you order now with the code above, you will receive the recipe box, a big bonus box, and a $45 Simply Earth gift card—all for $29.99 (new customers only)!

Conclusion about Homemade Mosquito Repellent

I’m incredibly passionate about natural living and eliminating toxic chemicals from our homes. I truly believe that the things you put ON your body should be safe enough to go IN your body. 

I hope this DIY bug repellent helps you get one step closer to eliminating the toxic chemicals in your home and creating a toxin-free environment for you and your family!

If you have any questions or comments please leave them below 🙂

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