7 DIY mosquito repellants

Homemade Mosquito Control

Two bottles of bathing oilWhile DEET has long been the recommended go-to for warding off mosquitoes, there are many who prefer an all-natural, homemade option, particularly when they are applying the repellent to their children.  We have some options for you but caution you to remember that all-natural options wear off quickly, so be prepared to re-apply every couple of hours.  Also, please remember that essential oils can trigger skin reactions, particularly in the young, so please do a patch test before using.  Finally, essential oils degrade quickly in sunlight, so it is a good idea to store your homemade repellant in a dark, well labelled bottle in a dark location.  

Mosquitoes, specifically female mosquitoes, bite when they are preparing to lay eggs.  They need the protein to lay and have an uncanny ability to find us from our CO2 plumes.  Repellants are exactly that – they repel the mosquito rather than making us “invisible” to them.  Mosquitoes are put off by certain smells, particularly garlic, although we promise we do not suggest you slather yourself in garlic before leaving the house! 

While mosquito repellant plants don’t really exist (you can check out an earlier blog post for more on that), the fragrance from certain plants, when ground down to the oils, will put mosquitoes off.  These include essential oils from lavender, catnip, eucalyptus, lemon grass and other “mosquito repellant plants” (AKA plant oils).

In all your recipes you will want to combine your essential oil with a carrier oil (Olive, Almond, or Grapeseed are good choices) at a 100 drop to 2 tablespoon ratio.  To preserve your recipe, you will need an alcohol, which you can add at a ratio of ½ teaspoon to 2 Tablespoons of oil.  Isopropyl alcohol or vodka are good options to use.  You will also want to add in some witch hazel.  If you have it lying around (and who doesn’t) a teaspoon of vegetable glycerin will help keep everything combined and reduce settling if you want to try using water instead of oil (we don’t find this to be as effective, especially in our heat and the resulting sweating).  Now for the recipes!  

Cosmetic Oil


2 tablespoons of oil 

100 drops of essential oils 

½ teaspoon of alcohol 

½ teaspoon Witch Hazel 

1. Herb garden:  Add 50 drops of basil and 50 drops of rosemary essential oils 

2. Citrus: 100 drops of lemon grass, or orange, or a combination of both 

3. Geranium: 100 drops 

4. Lavender: 100 drops 

5. Mint:  100 drops 

6. Eucalyptus: 100 drops 

7. Citronella: 100 drops (caveat here, as we acknowledge that this may not be what you want to smell like!) 

You can get inventive with your recipe but don’t lose sight of the fact that we are trying to repel mosquitoes, not delve into perfumery. 

If you would like to keep some stand-by’s available for camping trips or to keep in your car, homemade options may not be a good idea.  Sunlight and heat will degrade them.  We recommend you visit the EPA website for more guidance on skin repellents.  They also have an excellent search tool for finding the one that is right for you.  

If your mosquito issue isn’t limited to camping trips, but instead closer to home in your back yard, we can help.  We offer an all-natural service for your yard to keep those mosquitoes away using a combination of garlic (you won’t notice the smell, but the mosquitoes will!) rosemary and mint.  Even our combination services rely on garlic around flowering plants, as we are very focused on protecting our pollinators and minimizing our impact in a yard.  We want the mosquitoes out, along with their diseases, while keeping birds, butterflies and all other wildlife happy and content.  

Finally, as we cannot harp on about it enough, remember that your number one source for mosquitoes is water.  Just one teaspoon is enough water for them to breed in and managing that is a vital part of what we do.  If you want to reduce the numbers in your yard clean your gutters, remove all containers and dump out water after it rains.  If you want to learn more about our service don’t hesitate to give us a call.  We are always happy to talk mosquito! 🦟