All Natural DIY Bug Spray
Last Updated on March 3, 2022
All natural DIY bug spray is easy to make and is very effective! This is the recipe I love to use.
Get my FREE design guides when you subscribe!
Welcome! I'm so excited that you have come to learn about how to make your own DIY bug spray. It's something I feel very strongly about and we have been very satisfied using this homemade mosquito repellant for 3 years now. If you want to learn more about why we make natural bug spray ourselves and stay away from DEET based bug sprays, you can watch the quick video below (note that I no longer use Jojoba oil in my natural bug spray, so now it's even less expensive for me to make).
Now, I have to say that I am sure we are all annoyed an inconvenienced by bugs to a certain extent, but my poor, sweet Avery and Joe get attacked by mosquitos like I have never seen. In the mosquitos' defense, I totally understand why they love both Joe and Avery :) But I digress… The worst part about bug season for us is that Avery suffers from Skeeter Syndrome (yes, it's a real thing, you can Google it), which makes mosquito bites more than annoying for her. Her Skeeter Syndrome has improved some as she has gotten older, but her mosquito bites can still be quite painful and they take forever to go away.
So, you can appreciate that I have a STRONG desire to keep my family mosquito bite free, especially Avery. But DEET terrifies me to my very core ever since some spilled on my car door and melted the plastic (more on that in the video above). But I have to stress… BUG SPRAY FULL OF DEET MELTED THE PLASTIC ON MY CAR DOOR. Imagine what that is doing to your skin… Just sayin'.
As with practically every household item, homemade bug spray can be made inexpensively and naturally at home. I am very excited to share with you a recipe for a natural bug spray that works well! *Note–I will be the first to admit that it doesn't work as well as DEET based bug sprays, so if you are going to spend a full-day outside in a mosquito laden area or an area where the Zika virus has spread and want to avoid mosquito bites at all costs, then the pros of DEET may outweigh the cons. But this homemade bug spray is perfect for us 95% of the time.*
This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission which helps keep my blog up and running but it won't cost you a penny more)! Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
How to Make DIY Bug Spray that is ALL NATURAL
Note- I wanted my bug spray to last all summer, so I made a large batch. If you prefer to make a smaller batch, adjust the volume of the ingredients accordingly.
INGREDIENTS & MATERIALS NEEDED
- Approximately 150 drops of Essential Oils: I used one dropper full (approximately 50 drops) of each of the following essential oils Citronella, Eucalyptus and Lemongrass essential oils for my DIY bug spray.
- 8 ounces Witch Hazel
- 2 ounces water
- 16 ounce glass spray bottle (this is the exact glass bottle I used—it's best to use glass bottles with essential oils)
- Label (I originally made a cute label on clear sticker paper, but the image completely vanished after about 1 year, so I made a new one on regular sticker paper that is holding up much better–you can see how I made it and get the FREE label template for yourself here)
1) I use a 16 ounce glass bottle for my homemade bug spray. Begin by pouring 8 ounces of witch hazel (it acts as an emulsifier) into the bottle.
2) Next, add 2 ounces of water.
3) Now it's time to add your essential oils. For a 12 ounce mixture, I recommend approximately 150 drops of essential oils. Since I chose to use 3 different essential oils to use in my spray, I added approximately 50 drops of each. I counted drops the first time I made it, but now I add one dropper full of each essential oil, which translates to approximately 50 drops.
4) Shake well before each use.
That's it! Isn't that EASY?! Check out the finished product! You can fill out the form below to have the free bug spray label template emailed to you!
Now, let's talk about the cost breakdown. I am not going to include the cost of the bottle, since that is reusable. Also, bear in mind that each 15 mL bottle of essential oils contains approximately 300 drops, so 50 drops is 1/6 of a bottle. Also bear in mind that I used Young Living essential oils (which are far more expensive than other essential oils you can purchase on Amazon), so you could make it for even less than I did!
- Eucalyptus Globulus 50 drops: $2.40
- Lemongrass 50 drops: $1.87
- Citronella 50 drops: $3.25
- 8 ounces Witch Hazel: 5.28
TOTAL COST: $12.80 for 12 ounces –> .93 per ounce
GUESS WHAT?! On Amazon, Deep Woods Off is around $1.44 an ounce, depending on the variety that you get. So, for LESS MONEY you can keep bugs away from your family SAFELY and NATURALLY!
Want to share this with your friends so that they can keep their families safe from bugs AND from DEET?! Why not share it on Facebook or pin it to Pinterest?
This sounds amazing, I am definitely going to try it, my granddaughter also suffers from huge itchy bites when she gets bitten. We live in South Africa, and the area we live in is very hot and conducive to mosquitos and other bugs for at least 8 months of the year!
I hope it works for your granddaughter and that you both like it!
I am deathly allergic to eucalyptus so am wondering if you have any other suggestions as an alternative to this particular oil. I love the idea of making my own bug repellant because I too am a natural target for mosquitos and chiggers and ticks. They all love me and mosquitos leave huge whelps that take forever to heal, and I scratch them into bleeding sores in my sleep and don’t even realize I’m doing it because they itch so badly. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Substitute one of the others I mention or just leave the eucalyptus out!
Question on the DIY bug spray. I’ve read several times that adding vanillin (not vanilla) helps s natural bug spray last longer. Have you heard this or tried it? Thanks!
I don’t know, but let me know if it works! Thanks for reading!
What a great post… I can’t wait to make a batch up! Love your dispenser! I have an Apple and am trying to download the label. No luck. Any tips? The file comes up empty when I download it.
Let me know…The bugs are biting and I want revenge. :) Thanks.
Can’t wait to explore your site.
If you don’t have the software for Silhouette then it may not work. It is free software! Thanks for reading.
I had no luck with the label link either so I ended up making my own. I have an apple computer and the silhouette software. Maybe just post a flat screenshot and people could copy it with the trace tool! Thanks so much for trying to share!
Sorry it didn’t work for you! Enjoy your spray and thanks for reading.
Hi Tasha, I found this great article explaining the benefits of lemon eucalyptus essential oil. In studies, in repelled mosquitos that carry malaria in India and other malaria countries. This is different than just eucalyptus oil apparently. They say it is proven to be more effective than DEET! good news, here is the link http://www.naturalnews.com/050188_DEET_mosquitos_essential_oils.html
Thanks for the info!
Will this wonderful concoction repel TICKS!
I really don’t know. We haven’t had any since we started using it, but I can’t say for sure? Thanks for reading!
What other essential oils would you recommend? I don’t have any citronella oil and would like to try this.
Hi Kristina! I truly believe that Citronella is the most important oil to use–the others you choose to mix with it are probably less crucial.
What would you say the approximate shelf life is? Looking forward to trying this natural alternative!
Great question Marianne! I can confidently say it lasts at least 2 months, but we used all of ours by about the 2 month mark and made a new batch, so I am not sure how much longer it could last. That said, I think the shelf life is probably unlimited. I hope that helps!
Dear Tasha Thankyou so much for sharing this beautiful inspirational idea, when I am reading the information I am thinking if there is any way alongside Young Living Oils to design and work together to deliver the insect spray to countries (for example in Africa that do not have resources to prevent mosquitoes that can cause malaria and disease.)
Thank you with kind wishes
What’s the jojoba oil for?
Just to add a bit of quality moisturizer, Sumiyah!
This is an absolutely brilliant idea.
I read recently that mossie coils are chemically really bad for you.
Then I came across this idea.
Got to give it a try.
We live in Australia and the mossies are about to arrive.
How much do your “oils” cost to ship to Australia?
Thank you for this blog.
This repellant recipe looks promising! Over the weekend, we went to a lake that had millions of insects! Even the Deet spray did not deter them. On the second day I used unscented lotion to which I added Tea Tree Oil, plus the Deet spray – that worked very well. I get horrible infections from mosquito bites, so protection is important. Will be trying out this spray on my next outdoor adventure!
Yay, Colleen! I hope you like it when you try it!
Where did you find a glass spray bottle?
I ordered mine on Amazon, Shiner–there is a link to the one I ordered in the post :)
Could I use a plastic bottle instead of glass?
Hi JD! Generally, glass is recommended for storing essential oils because they can break down plastic, but since this is fairly diluted, plastic would probably be okay.
You know… creating my own bug spray has never occurred to me! My husband is an avid “adventurer”, and we also live in the middle of no where so bug spray is an absolute must in this household. We go through that stuff like it’s candy so I definitely need to try this method out ASAP. Thanks for making me aware :)
nice bottle and I want to have a bug spray like this.