DIY all natural diy bug spray with essential oils

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Learn how to make an all natural bug and tick repellant spray with this simple diy recipe, safe for the entire family - even pets!

dried flowers around a bottle of homemade bug spray

Beautiful weather is here and we are spending more and more time in the garden. Each night we enjoy dinner there together as a family, and before we knew it, we were getting bit up by mosquitos.

Our family uses a blend of essential oils to help repellent pests, while also nourishing our skin in this homemade DIY bug spray. 

You likely already know that toxic, harmful bug sprays are not ideal for our skin. However, getting bit and bothered by bugs is probably worse! So use this simple recipe to keep them at bay, while keeping your family safe.

woman's hand dropping cedarwood essential oil into glass amber bottle

WHAT ESSENTIAL OILS ARE BEST for bug sprays?

Here is my list essential oils you can use to prevent bugs from biting. You can see, bugs really dislike peppermint, spearmint, lemongrass, cedarwood and the mint family.

  • Ants – peppermint or spearmint
  • Aphids – cedarwood, peppermint, spearmint
  • Beetles – peppermint or thyme
  • Caterpillars – spearmint or peppermint
  • Chiggers – lavender, lemongrass, sage, thyme
  • Fleas – peppermint, lemongrass, spearmint, lavender
  • Flies – peppermint, lavender, rosemary, sage
  • Gnats – patchouli or spearmint
  • Lice – cedarwood, peppermint, spearmint
  • Mosquitoes – lavender, lemongrass, arborvitae
  • Moths – cedarwood, lavender, peppermint, spearmint
  • Plant Lice – peppermint or spearmint
  • Slugs – cedarwood
  • Spiders – peppermint or spearmint
  • Ticks – lavender, lemongrass, sage or thyme
  • Weevils – cedarwood, patchouli, sandalwood
 

WHAT DO I NEED TO MAKE ALL NATURAL BUG REPELLENT SPRAY?

You'll need a base for the bug spray, such as alcohol or witch hazel. I often use alcohol free witch hazel for bug sprays. I've tested this bug spray with and without alcohol. Alcohol holds the essential oil molecules longer allowing them to disperse more effectively  around us and on our skin. However, I haven't noticed any decline in effectiveness in this spray when using an alcohol free version, like I'm sharing today in this recipe!

You can use either an alcohol based or alcohol free witch hazel. Just note, alcohol may be drying to the skin. The good new is, this recipe contains a carrier oil to help protect our skin and can offset some of the dryness you may experience. I almost always like to us to use a nourishing carrier oil when using essential oils, to help dilute them, since this spray goes directly on our skin.

What are the best essential oils in natural bug spray:

Studies have shown lavender can effectively repeal mosquitos for up to eight hours! Source

Additionally, cedarwood has been proven to be as effective as DEET in preventing ticks, as shown in this study

what makes this all natural bug spray nourishing?

I love to add some sweet almond oil to my bug spray, as it keeps my skin soft and smooth during the warmer months. You can use any carrier oil you have on hand, such as fractionated coconut oil or rose hip oil. Additionally, the essential oils in this blend are seriously good for your skin!

Can I turn this into a garden bug spray?

Yes, you can absolutely use this essential oil blend for your garden. If you're able to identify the bug that's harming your garden, you can adapt the recipe based on the list in the beginning of this post. You will want to remove the carrier oil and use a total of 30 drops for a 4 oz bottle.

Can I use citronella in this bug spray?

Absolutely! However citronella is not pet friendly. So only use it if you plan to keep it away from animals.

 HOW TO MAKE ALL-NATURAL BUG AND TICK SPRAY

This recipe is used to repel most garden pests safety.

INGREDIENTS

Tools:

Click here to head to the shoppable image!

Saftey:

Peppermint essential oil is recommended for children two and up. I used it around my children frequently, however it's always best to oil responsibly and understand guidelines. Download my free resource with children friendly oils, based on age.

I recommend consulting with your veterinarian about using an essential oil product on your pets. While we use them on our family, we do not have any pets. We determined these oils were safe topically for pets and when used as directed in this recipe, by reading about them from an expert at https://essentialoilvet.com

Do not spray this directly onto face to avoid contact with your eyes. If desired, spray onto a cotton ball and wipe on your face with it

Can I use this essential oil spray and go into the sun?

According to Tisserand and Young's book on Essential oil safety, none of the essential oils used in this recipe are considered photototoxic, meaning you do not need to avoid the sun after use. In fact, this recipe contains essential oils that are soothing and healing to the skin. If you want this spray to double as a n after sun spray, just skip the lemongrass. Lavender, peppermint and cedarwood is a wonderful, soothing combination to use after sun exposure

Keep this spray out of direct reach from children, especially under two years of age.

INSTRUCTIONS

dried flowers around a bottle of homemade bug spray

All natural skin nourishing bug spray

Yield: 1 4 oz bottle
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: $10

Learn how to make an all natural bug and tick repellant spray with this simple diy recipe, safe for the entire family - even pets!

Materials

  • - Witch hazel
  • - Carrier oil of choice
  • - Lavender essential oil
  • - Peppermint essential oil
  • - Cedarwood essential oil
  • - Rosemary essential oil

Tools

  • - 4 oz glass amber bottle
  • - small funnel

Instructions

  1. Using a small funnel, drop 10 drops of each essential oil into your bottle
  2. Add one tablespoon of your carrier oil
  3. Fill the rest with witch hazel
  4. Close bottle and give it a good shake.

Notes

Seperation is competely normal in a diy project like this. Shake before using.

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PIN IT FOR LATER

Use this essential oil spray when you're on your cottagecore picnic.

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About SARAH

Sarah is the creator of frolic & fare, a home, recipe and garden blog filled with romanticized projects to add beauty to the everyday. 
Sarah is a sleep researcher, aromatherapist and herbalist who loves to create botanical and herbal infused recipes for simple, seasonal living.