The more I educate myself about DEET and other chemicals, the more I’m convinced I have to be proactive about finding better alternatives. (You can read about DEET here)

Thank goodness I have discovered the power of essential oils and their ability to deter bugs! I have always LOVED using pure essential oils because almost all other scents (perfumes, flowers, chemicals, etc) irritate my sinuses and throat. Most essential oils never have!

For a long time I have used essential oils to make cleaning products, to scent my home, to heal irritated skin or breakouts (tea tree oil and lavender), and this year I began using these oils to make bug repellent.

Guess what. It’s THE BEST bug repellent my family and I have ever used! Not only does it smell really good, it’s nourishing to your skin, and it actually keeps the bugs away!

Peace out smelly chemicals, and irritating bugs!

Okay, so there are many different oils you can use in your homemade repellent, and many combinations. In fact, sometimes I simply pat a few drops of lavender oil on my skin when I don’t want to use a full on spray. Lavender oil is one of the few essential oils that does not need to be mixed with a carrier oil. Others require a bit of oil as to not irritate the skin. Keep in mind that essential oils are very powerful, and a very little goes a long way!

How To Make Your Natural Bug Repellent


Sample Bug-Repelling Essential Oil Blend:

  • lemon eucalyptus essential oil (reported by the CDC to be a good natural substitution for DEET in repelling insects, but not recommended for use on children under 3 yrs.)
  • cedarwood essential oil
  • lavender essential oil (if using, choose Lavandula angustifolia– “Lavender (40-42) essential oil” does not have the same insecticidal qualities)
  • rosemary essential oil

Other Bug-Repelling Essential Oils:

Additional Tips and Warnings:

Mosquitoes: Peppermint, Lemon, Lavender, Eucalyptus, Thyme, Geranium, Clove, Sage, Cinnamon, Rosemary

Flies/Gnats: Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Geranium, Cedarwood, Patchouli, Melaleuca, Rosemary

Ticks: Peppermint, Geranium, Thyme, Melaleuca, Cedarwood

Application Options


  1. This is going to be the simplest recipe. You only need two ingredients: a carrier oil and a mix of essential oils.
  2. Supplies
  • Carrier oil
  • 10-20 drops of preferred essential oils (see above for some great combos)
  • Small bottle or old jar
  1. Method
  2. In a small bottle add 2 tablespoons of carrier oil.
  3. Add in 10-20 drops of your preferred essential oil.
  4. To apply, simply shake the bottle well and rub a small amount of oil on exposed skin.


If you prefer a spray on repellent this works great although it uses a few more ingredients.


  • carrier oil
  • 10-20 drops of preferred essential oils
  • small spray bottle
  • distilled water
  • vodka or witch hazel


1. In a 2 ounce bottle or jar add in 1.5 Tbsp of distilled water
2. Add 1 tsp of carrier oil
Add 1 tsp of vodka or witch hazel
3. Add 15-25 drops of essential oils.
4. Shake well before spraying on your skin.

Child’s Spray Blend (I send this one to school with my little one)

Follow directions above.

Child’s Spray Blend (I send this one to school with my little one)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.