Natural Repellant for Bugs (skin application)

For an Eco-friendly solution to combat mosquitoes and flying insects this is a recipe using essential oils that works well for me although results might vary due to individual chemistry.

There are a plethora of mosquito and flying insect repellants on the market. Many well-known products contain non Eco-friendly ingredients such as Propane, Butane, N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide, and many other difficult to pronounce chemicals.

You'll need a base for the essential oils, so a 50-50 ratio of distilled water and high proof alcohol such as vodka is a preferred choice. Isopropyl or rubbing alcohol is not suitable for use with essential oils and is therefore not recommended with this recipe.

This recipe is for external use only, so just because it contains vodka does NOT mean you can drink it! Vodka is being recommended simply because it is a readily available high proof clear alcohol and works well to disseminate the essential oils in the solution mixture. You can substitute vodka for any high proof, grain, or perfumer's alcohol. Witch Hazel is also used in various recipes but due to it's tendency to dry the skin it is better suited when blending a toner for facial use, particularly for oily skin.

Items required:

  • Spray bottle capable of delivering a light mist. For 100 mL solution use a 120 mL (4 oz) bottle for mixing room.
  • 50 mL vodka (opt for an economical brand, after all it's not going to be drank!)
  • 50 mL distilled water
  • 25 drops Citronella essential oil
  • 15 drops Lemongrass essential oil
  • 5 drops Clove Bud essential oil (may substitute with Cinnamon essential oil)
  • 5 drops Eucalyptus essential oil
Mix above ingredients in spray bottle.


Shake bottle before spraying fine mist on external body areas, avoiding face and eyes.

To make a larger quantity refer to our dilution and mL equivalent charts to easily make calculations.

Mosquitoes spread diseases such as Equine encephalitis, Dengue and Yellow Fever, West Nile, and Malaria. Additional information about the diseases spread by mosquitoes can be found in these publications

Illinois Department of Public Health:

Connecticut Mosquito Management (State of Connecticut)

Dengue-carrying mosquito found on Oahu has health officials taking major precautions.

All the same precautions should be exercised when using this recipe as one would with any other lab created commercially available ready to use repellant, as well as performing a skin patch test 24 hours prior to use. A simple skin patch test will let you know if you are sensitive to any of the essential oils used. Apply a small amount, wait 24 hours, no skin irritation means you're good to go!

The essential oils used in this recipe are not likely to cause a failed patch test, however, everyone is different and what is ok for one person might not be ok for the next. If you have no prior personal experience using any of the essential oils in the recipe it is always good to do a skin patch test first.

This natural repellant recipe is calculated at 2.5% dilution and is for adult use only. Keep away from eyes and pets.

Excess should be stored for short term use in cool dark conditions.

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