Homemade Mosquito Repellent: {Recipes}

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If you’re interested in experimenting with homemade mosquito repellents, here are a few different recipes that you can try.

IngredientsMost of these have been sent in by readers and they’re all easy enough to make (thank you for sharing guys!). A few are made with assorted essential oils but there is one shared by Jennifer that uses simple ingredients (garlic cloves, mineral oil, water and lemon juice) so the expense is really minimal.

Here’s a tip sent in by Angela for her tried-and-true solution:

This is a recipe given to me by my aunt, I find that it stores well but should be used within the year.

1/4 cup vegetable oil mixed with these essential oils (mix and store in a spray bottle):

8 drops cedar
5 drops eucalyptus
4 drops lavender
2 drops rosemary
2 drops juniper
1 drop peppermint
1 drop cinnamon
1 drop clove

Here’s one from Mark:

I like this because it only needs a few items and it’s a breeze to put together. Make sure you shake it up for a few minutes each time before you use it. I hope your readers try it because it does work just as well as bought and it’s better to use on your body than those poisonous sprays that they try selling us in stores.

2 cups witch hazel
1 teaspoon vegetable glycerin
20 drops citronella essential oil
20 drops lemongrass essential oil

Instructions: Mix in a spray bottle and shake well before use.

Jennifer sent this one in:

Mosquitoes hate garlic and so when I saw this in a magazine a few years ago I clipped it, tried it and found that it did a good job keeping me bite free.

Directions: Mince a few cloves of garlic then cover with mineral oil. Allow it to sit for at least 24 hours. Next you take a teaspoon of *just the oil* and mix it with 2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Strain through a cheesecloth if you have any floaties then pour into a spray bottle. Shake before each use.



Here’s another one from Mother Earth News:

Since the 1999 appearance of West Nile virus in North America, it’s more important than ever to keep these pests at bay. You can outsmart them with this homemade, Earth-friendly solution.

It couldn’t be easier to make, ingredients needed are any combination of these essential oils: basil, cedarwood, citronella, juniper, lemon, myrrh, palmarosa, pine, rose geranium and/or rosemary mixed with 190-proof grain alcohol (see article for suggested quantities).



Yarrow Bug Spray: Here’s one that’s super easy to make and only requires a few items: fresh yarrow flowers and leaves (can also use dried), vodka (or other alcohol), catnip essential oil and spray bottles.

The yarrow is infused in the vodka for a week, strained then the catnip EO added before bottling.

There’s also this tip to try: Use plantain (the weed) by crushing it and applying to bite area (also mentioned in Tipnut’s big list of itch relief tips found on this page).

Prefer something that you don’t apply to your body? Here’s a project from Positively Splendid for making DIY Bug-Banishing Candles:



Since we spend a great deal of time outdoors in the evenings each summer, I am always on the lookout for natural insect-repelling solutions. When I discovered that most citronella candles sold in chain stores are a racket, I decided to try my hand at making my own! After doing a little research, I was happy to discover the process really is quite simple.

If you’ve lost faith in the effectiveness of commercial citronella candles, this tutorial for DIY candles promises to help keep them at bay by using Citronella essential oil (rather than citronella-scented oil found in many products). The containers used for the candles are pretty frosted glass jars (instructions for making these are included) and bits of colored crayons are mixed with the soy wax to tint the candles in a variety of colors.

Don’t miss this page for more prevention ideas.

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83 Comments to “Homemade Mosquito Repellent: {Recipes}”
  1. Alexandra says:

    Testimonial time. πŸ˜‰ This works! I made mine with many of these ingredients, high on citronella, and I added neem oil. I’ve been using this on myself and the children since May(found recipe on internet), and it works as well as any other non-deet product. There are other essential oils that work well too. I can’t remember off hand, but there is lots of info. on the net.

    Scary deet is the only stuff that keeps them all off, but this formula keeps most at bay. We couldn’t find grain alcohol, so used vodka. You just need to shake it well before each use. I feel comfortable using this on my children(rather than deet). We do need to reapply more than store bought. I even spray it on my clothes with no staining.

    • Fran says:

      Mix pure vanilla flavoring with water, and spray on.
      Very effective, and smells good too!
      Also it keeps those pesky no-see-um’s from bothering you.

      • David says:

        Hey.. Great idea.. But does it matter if there’s more vanilla than water? or more water in vanilla?

        Thanks much!

        • Me says:

          It has to be PURE Vanilla Extract for starters. The imitation stuff doesn’t cut it. You don’t even have to mix it with water. My mom used to just dab it full-strength behind our ears and on our wrists and bends of the arms. Works WONDERS! πŸ˜€

      • dick taylor says:

        In what proportions works best with vanilla and water also will artificial vanilla work.

      • pep says:

        Hello I live in Los Banos Ca the land of Mosquitoes what I am curious about is .. is can i spray this on the windows to get these nasty bugs away? I have bad allergies and do not want to use poisons Thank you and I await your answer cause I THEY’RE HEEEAARRR…

        • owen says:

          Pep, as a Boy Scout with about 5 years of experience, I have found that citronella would work best for your situation (it irritates the mosquitoes feet)

      • kay says:

        can u use vanilla extract?

  2. Kacy Curran says:

    the best mosquito repellent I have found that smells good is:

    Avon Skin So Soft
    Rubbing Alcohol

    solution is 50/50

    We were in Yellowstone National Park last week and the mosquitos were horrible. Very small but big bites and I only received a few before I could locate an Avon dealer. I will always travel with my SSS solution:)

  3. Sunday says:

    My mom uses a spray bottle with Listerine (or equivalent) in it.

  4. KimberlyLiz says:

    I have heard that vitamin B1 works to repel mosquitos. It takes about 2 weeks to build it up in your body for it to work most efficiently. My family takes it before and during camping trips. It seems to work or maybe we were just lucky. I also use skin so soft. Between the combination of them I generally remain mosquito free.
    B1 has had scientific studies done on it, however some people swear by it and other say it doesn’t work at all.

  5. karen says:

    taking oderless GARLIC has been a huge help in greatly reducing the number of bites I get. used to get around 20 in a 10 minute period at dusk, and now it’s only 1-2 in the same time frame. I can finally sit out on the deck with my family!!!

  6. Nicolas says:

    Garlic Water is by far the best to use. Non scented. Buy a Pump-Spray applicator form home hardware (20.00$) go to any vitamin or grocery store buy either non-scented garlic powder and mix with water, or garlic water. Used widely in OFF!, and is a major sale for mosquito repellant..

  7. Jessica says:

    I have found that just useing rubbing alcohol, and then putting ice on it works wery well! I got 5 mosqito bites, and that is what i tried, and it works! It takes out the sting, the itch, and the bite goes away after a little bit! Maybe a day at the longest and the bite is amazingly gone!!!!!!

  8. Katrina says:

    I have found that lemon grass oil keeps all insects away, even fleas. Plus it smells great.

    • Janine says:

      I have a big mosquito problem in my courtyard & recently made a Reed Diffuser with 50mls pure essential lemongrass oil & 150mls of diffuser base. I haven’t been bitten once in about 5weeks since using. Plus it smells beautiful!

  9. Suzette says:

    Skin So Soft is still the best and safest mosquito repellant that I’ve every used.

  10. cass says:

    So I tried the deodorant on my itch site and it really worked, thanks so much! Instantly itch free for me!

  11. Cassie says:

    I have always used a mixture of skin so soft citrus listerin and vinegar. Got the idea from some horse ppl to use on our horses and it worked great for my horses why wouldn’t it work for me too lol and it smells good as far as bug repellent goes

  12. Ywain says:

    It’s great to hear these solutions worked but what are the proportions for the ingredients? At the start of the article for instance, it said to use a blend of essential oils. How many and how much?

    • TipNut says:

      The article states to use 2 1/2 teaspoons total of any combination of the listed essential oils so there’s no hard and fast measurement for each essential oil (due to personal preference and what works for each person’s body chemistry). Basically, you test amounts on trial and error to see what brings the best results for you.

      • joli says:

        Please do not use 2 tbsp (tablespoons) this proves to be really expensive with essential oils and EO’s are toxic if used in large amounts. EO’s are amazing but, please research as they can be harmful to animals and humans alike. The receipe in the begining is useful. Thank you!

  13. Rose says:

    as long as your able to, i suggest taking a couple benadryl if youre bitten by a mosquito. after all it is an allergic type reaction. benadryl releaves the swelling and itching.

  14. Valeriee says:

    i have four mosquito bites, and i actually applied nail polish [clear] and it instantly stopped the stinging! thanks!

  15. Jim lisle says:

    The best thing to keep away Mosquitos and most bugs are dryer sheets. Tuck one in your belt but rub it on your arms and legs first. Works better than anything out there. Also great to put in tents and campers when camping.

  16. grace sandoval says:

    Skin so soft with little water 80/20 mix mixed and sprayed kept them away from my daughter. Now gotta try the alcohol mix.

  17. maria farias says:


    tHANK YOU ALL.. Thanks for sharing.


      My suggestion is that , take 500 grams of dried neem tree leaves, powder it, and evening time burn the power in mosquito area.

  18. cheese puff says:

    i have really bad mosquito bites, like really bad, but i think you should use either listerine or nail polish, they both do wonders

  19. BEN GREGO says:

    Sorry, folks, but I cannot IMAGINE going to all that fuss and bother making this!!!

    The best way to avoid mosquitos?? CHANGE YOUR DIET…..it’s a known fact that those who eat the most sugars (of ANY kind) are going to be the main target of these pesky critters……..

    I know this is not a popular idea, but it’s a FACT and has worked for me for many years……….

    • bryan says:

      Thats rubbish, i have a vary low suger diet and have so since i was young i still get mosquito bites.

      They dont go for types of blood they take wats there for them.

      • SayLaV says:

        It is not rubbish Bryan. I have always been a sugar lover. I have been sugar free for a few years now and it has done absolute wonders for my health. I never thought I could do it but after a few days I lost the cravings. I do not eat any sugar now. I would be the person who was bitten by mosquitos first! On my face, on my hands…. Whatever was exposed they would find me. Now, I never get bites. Other benefits from no sugar diet:
        1. weight loss
        2. No more headaches/migraines
        3. No bug bites
        4. Put an end to a life time problem of yeast infections.
        Think what you like but don’t knock it until you have tried it plus it does not cost a dime. You may think you are on a low sugar diet but you would be surprised how many things have it as an additive.

        • healthygirl66 says:

          I am with Bryan! Rubbish! I do not eat any added sugar. NOT ANY! I am a complete health nut and mosquitos eat me alive. If there is one mosquito in a ten mile radius of me I promise you it will find me and it will bite me. A low or no sugar diet is by far one of the best things a person can do for their health but as far as no bug bites, NOT SO! I am living proof. I have been on a no sugar diet for many years and for many years I have been a big part of a mosquitos diet. I am glad that it seems to have worked for you (I AM jealous)! But, sorry, I still say its rubbish!

          • blue says:

            i am also with you…

          • no sugar added says:

            I am a no sugar person – none, not even starchy carbs and I am a mosquito magnet. Two days ago I was out pulling weeds for about 20 minutes and came in with ~35 bites and I even applied OFF! first. My husband on the other hand, eats sugar, fat, carbs (anything he wants) and gets NO bites. We can sit on the loveseat together I will be swatting mosquitos all night and he doesn’t get one.

        • dd says:

          so why do they like my babies I dont give themloads of candy

        • Reese says:

          We are gluten free, and rarely eat anything w/ added sugars. Mosquitoes hardly bite me, yet they will bite me daughter 10 times as much. Mosquitoes can detect/smell a person from up to 160 feet away. I really don’t think it’s just about sugar consumption. Glad to know that you feel it has helped you though.

    • Mosquito Magnet says:

      I agree the low-sugar thing is not the answer. I don’t even care for sugar and have a low-sugar diet, but I attrat bites like crazy.

      • Rhomancowboy says:

        Low sugar, high carb, vegetarian, our diets simply make no difference. There are about 340 different human scents that attract mosquitos, not to mention the simple act of breathing. The number one thing that attracts them is carbon dioxide, and with every exhalation, odors we aren’t even aware of, like lactic acid, send out signals for them to ‘come and get their meal. Some people, like me, tend to be ‘mosquito magnets’ because we secrete more of the scent(s) that draws them. So eat what you want, and keep the natural mosquito repellent in hand!

        • Leona says:

          I agree. I am a pale skinned female from the Midwest. I have been told that mosquitoes look at me and say, “Look at that nice piece of white meat coming!” No matter the diet, mosquitoes bite me! I’ll try some of these repellant ideas posted here!

  20. gemma says:

    thank u so much for all the remedies, im going to jamaica in june and in dreading it as i went last year and was covered from head 2 foot deet did not work,repelent wrist bands didnt work and neither did these tablets that i had so im going 2 try the roll on, vanilla,vit b1, vit E and garlic tablets loool and c how i get on..wish me luck πŸ™‚ x

    • SHAWN says:

      try the dryer sheets first…it works for me….

    • Marine1967 says:

      Been to Jamaica numerous times and never got bit once. In fact, we never even saw a mosquito. We go in July, so maybe there is a difference, but I know that back home, I am covered in bites from the first hatching until the first hard frost. In Jamaica, nothing !!

  21. Julie says:

    Nothing is mentioned about this, but do any of these oils stain clothing? Especially the skin so soft, seems the recipes that contain SSS have a lot of SSS in them. Just wondering if anyone has any experience with this. Thanks!

  22. Alla says:

    I sold “av-on” for years, and had customer after customer try the S-so-S method. None of them — NOT ONE CUSTOMER, in three different continental states and Hawaii — found it effective. I eventually tried it myself. I’m forced to agree — it’s nonsense. Mosquitos are not affected by nor attracted to scent, remember — but to body heat. They don’t care if you’ve painted yourself with honey, vanilla, or anything else, so long as they sense your heat signature. Your best bet is repellants, whether you “go green” or “homemade”, or whether you purchase commercial repellants.

    • Lou says:

      Wrong! heat alone will not attract mosquitos it is a combination of Carbon Dioxide, octenol, and Lactic acid all of which are expelled by the human body.. So if you can cover those smells which is difficult you can keep them off of you.

      • SayLaV says:

        I agree with both of you. Skin So Soft never worked for me and I believe the Carbon Dioxide etc. has an effect on attracting Mosquitos.

        • Steve says:

          Yes mosquitos are attracted to carbon dioxide. SO here is a idea for a mosquito trap to eliminate some of the pests. One cup water one quarter cup brown sugar one gram yeast.
          Heat water and mix in brown sugar let cool. Cut a 2 liter beverage bottle in half pour in the mixture and add the yeast no need to mix in the yeast. Insert the top of the bottle upside down and tape together if needed and wrap with something black as they also are attracted to black.

          PLace in an area away from activity so they will be drawn away from you. repeat every two weeks

  23. kristina says:

    just learned this year to use the Listerine to keep them off and if you get a bite anyway use a little vics vapor rub on it… takes the itch away and the bite disappears in a few hours…

  24. wendy says:

    diaper rash cream works if my kids get bit

  25. yvonne says:

    my son has very bad mosquito bites all over his body.. and those have been long bites but he keeps on scratching those bites until now. each bite has turned to black.. they look bad and i feel so sorry. =(

    i’ll try the vics vapor rub..tnx for this.

    • yvonne says:

      and oh by the way, will those black mosquito bites fade?

    • Renea says:

      Sounds like chiggers to me and the bites are infected.
      My first born sons pediatrician gave me this home remedy 30 years ago.
      This is a quick healing bath for all insect bites using house hold products which will clear up the bites, stop the itch and sooths the body plus safe to use:
      Fill tub at least 1/2 full with warm water.
      Pour in 2 tbs baking soda, 2 tbs epsom salt, 1 cap full of bleach,
      Mix 1 tsb vicks vapor rub with 1 tbs of liguid hand soap and swirl into the warm bath water while washing the mixture off hands until the vapor rub is cleansed from hands and the epsom salt becomes dissolved.
      Soak affected areas for at least 15 mins, drain bath water and briefly shower off.
      Rub winter green or plain rubbing alcohol on the bites immediatley after towel drying from showering off.
      I have done this on my own children, grandson and myself for many years with pleasent safe results. All my family and friends have been pleased with this recipie.
      Also chiggers are best snuffed out by slightly glazing clear nail polish on the bites allowing all to dry and then following the healing bath recipie to clear up the skin. The polish will eventually peal off. I had a neighbor child thet was almost to the infantigo stage and her mom used this treatment for the bites.
      We could see the chiggers in the dried pealed off nail polish afterwards. The chiggers had ate up the little girl all over.
      It only took three days to clear up her bites using this treatment.

  26. Charity says:

    We do a lot of camping and two of the most effective things we have found for mosquitos are Bounce dryer sheets and Bronco horse fly spray. Just take the Bounce dryer sheets and rub yourself down and then you can tie it to your chair. The Bronco horse fly spray can be found at any farm and ranch supply place such as Tractor Supply or Atwoods. It has a citronella smell and it also keeps the flys away!

  27. Alyssa's Mommy says:

    In AR we used to be able to buy sulfur tablets at the pharmacy that was supposed to give off an odor in your sweat to keep Mosquitos away— and we use the Bounce dryer sheets for my 3 yr old to keep Mosquitos at bay—just the plain scent though— since they are supposed to be attracted to sweet scents like some of the fruity and flowery fabric softeners these days.

    • no sugar added says:

      some should be careful with sulfur tablets – it is one substance that more people are allergic to, particularly fair skinned/freckled types.

  28. Donna says:

    Listerine didn’t work for me, nor did dryer sheets. I will try some of the other suggestions, but all should note that WHAT WORKS FOR ONE DOES NOT NECESSARILY WORK FOR ALL!

    • Syl says:

      I sense that some things may work for one that will not work for another. SSS has worked for me for years. I have found no staining on clothing. I do not dilute it.
      We are headed to Virgin Islands, St John in the spring. I am nervous about dengue fever. Have been checking out neem oil but find the posts confusing!

  29. Ilsa says:

    I may have to test out a few of these. I’m allergic to citronellal (the chemical in citronella, lemon grass, lemon eucalyptus, and a number of other “lemon” plants that are used to keep mosquitoes at bay). For people who aren’t, I can’t see the point in using citronella AND lemon grass or some other combination. After many a swollen face and case of itchy hives I assure you, they are the same thing just a different potency.

  30. alison says:

    hello all .

    im from the uk wales and have been living in canada for year and a half now and god the Mosquitos seem to really like bit its not funny πŸ™ i have tried a few things and not working my poor legs and arms .. one went on my hubby last night and didnt get him thought it get me instead ….. there so itchy so on there driving me mad now πŸ™

    • Keyla says:

      Try rubbing toothpaste on the bite directly

    • Amity says:

      hot water is the best, fastest and cheapest remedy for itchy bites, just soak a cotton ball in as HOT as you can bear and hold it on the bite as long as you can (dont burn yourself!) Itch is immediately relieved and bite disappears in about an hour. White vinegar works too but the itch sometimes comes back later.

  31. Night Bite Fight says:

    I haven’t tried any of the potions yet (being I just haven’t had time to make any)…But Toothpaste directly on bites worked instantly for me.

    Also in a pinch to prevent bites, rubbing slices of lemon on arms and legs worked (great outside @ a BBQ)… Only thing is, it is a bit sticky (so I don’t recommend to use for bedtime, unless you have nothing else).

    Thx for all the postings.

  32. Bite me says:

    i think it depends on blood type. i am a+ my mum is a- and she gets bitten far worse than i do.

    i am currantly on a formula of 10 drops of tea-tree EO to 3tbs of olive oil and a pea sized amount of aloe vera gel

    rub it in to exposed skin like you would sun screen and dab a little on any bites.

    works well for me, just have to try it out on mum

  33. Michele says:

    Down here in the panhandle we have nose emus.
    Up north we called these teeny tiny creatures chiggers. Anyways, they bite, and the itch lasts several days.
    I just moved here and those bugs, plus mosquitoes kept me from gardening.
    One day my postman and I were talking about it and he said, I got a suggestion for ya, but ya might not want to like it cuz you’ll smell like a salad!
    Lol, VINEGAR. Straight up cider vinegar.
    He said his wife sprays herself down to do gardening and it keeps everything away from her.
    Gonna try it today.
    Let ya know!

  34. The Remedy says:

    Try using an electric fan, it”ll surely blow them away

  35. Christina says:

    I feel lucky, I just don’t get bit by bugs. I must be a sour puss πŸ™‚

  36. july johnston says:

    Tea tree oil and water as little or lot as you want stronger the better …..in spray bottle. .. wors great!

  37. Greeny says:

    Hello! I tried the minced garlic mineral oil and lemon juice repellent and it works great. I do however have one problem. I had my family members try it and they all say that it has a strong and stinky smell due to the garlic and I agree with them. Is there something that I can do to eliminate that strong odor and still have the repellent be as effective? Can this also be used on newborns?
    Thank you very much

  38. Silva says:

    Nothing effective than mosquito net. If I get annoyed then I will use the Mosquito racket and clear the room with no buzzing.

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