How To Make Natural Insect Repellent

Bugs begone with these natural remedies!

As the concern over Zika virus grows, many of us are searching for effective ways to protect ourselves and our families. You’ll discover many options to prevent bug bites, and one of them is to learn how to make natural insect repellent.

Many people aren’t comfortable using bug sprays made with DEET, a chemical with a controversial reputation. Although DEET is considered an effective mosquito repellent, some studies suggest it carries a risk for long-term health effects, including brain cell death [1]. What’s more, an analysis from Consumer Reports showed that more than one-third of popular insect repellent brands provided an hour or less of protection against potential Zika-carrying mosquitoes [2].

Is a natural insect repellent the right choice for you? The concept behind these products is the incorporation of natural oils that repel bugs so they don’t bite in the first place. Like commercially-made repellents containing chemicals, they may not provide lasting protection. However, you may feel more comfortable reapplying product if you understand the ingredients it contains.

Read these guidelines before making and using a homemade natural bug spray:

  • Women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant should speak with their doctor to determine which insect repellent product is safest and most effective.
  • Always do a patch test to identify an allergic reaction or skin irritation before using any essential oil for the first time. Be aware that some oils may irritate the skin of young children.
  • Reapply frequently and after swimming or exercise.
  • Store homemade bug repellent in a labeled spray bottle in a cool, dark place.

Natural All-Purpose Insect Repellent
This mixture offers a variety of oils that create a pleasant scent for humans—but not bugs! Feel free to substitute essential oils if you don’t like any of the scents or have allergies to any of the oils.

Mix ¼ cup vegetable oil with an essential oil mixture that includes:

  • 9 drops cedar
  • 5 drops eucalyptus
  • 2 drops rosemary
  • 2 drops juniper
  • 2 drops peppermint
  • 1 drop cinnamon
  • 1 drop clove

Homemade Mosquito Repellent
From West Nile virus to Zika virus, it’s clear that mosquitoes are more than an itchy inconvenience. Those pesky critters actually put our health at risk. This natural insect repellent is based on garlic, an odor that repels mosquitoes. On the downside, the garlic may repel loved ones, too!

  • Soak several garlic cloves in vegetable oil for at least 24 hours.
  • Mix garlic-infused oil with two cups of water and one teaspoon of lemon juice.
  • Shake and apply frequently.

Discover more DIY ideas for your life in 10 DIY Beauty Treatments from your Kitchen and 10 DIY Herb Garden Ideas.


[1] Scientific American

[2] Consumer Reports

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Amy Wagner

Amy is a writer specializing in health & wellness, business, and entrepreneurship. She's a long-time martial arts teacher who has earned a 4th degree black belt in tae kwon do. When Amy's not writing or kicking, she's wrangling sons, reading fiction, or crushing on BBC actors.

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