Make Your Own Natural Mosquito Repellent

Now that we are all getting outdoors more (hooray summertime!), most of us (some more than others!) are having to deal with pesky mosquitoes that love to try and ruin our outdoor fun.  :-)  I have to admit, here in this semi-arid desert state, we don’t have to deal with mosquitoes NEARLY as much as those of you in the midwest or back east. But ANY mosquito is an unwelcome mosquito!

I don’t know about you….but I will avoid spraying on mosquito repellent at all costs! I hate that stuff! I mean I will USE it if I HAVE to….but it’s just so unpleasant! Well not anymore!  I made up a homemade version that Amy at Positively Splendid shared and found it VERY PLEASANT! :-)

What’s not to like about cooling witch hazel mixed with fragrant esssential oils!?  And it’s SO easy to mix up at batch.  I didn’t have some of the oils I needed in my stash…so I dropped by the local health food store and they had everything I needed.  (If you don’t have the lavender and peppermint oil on hand, you can substitute 5 more drops of citronella and lemongrass…but I love the smell of having all 4 oils in the mix!)

In a spray bottle, mix and shake well to blend:


Do not spray directly on faces. Instead, spray in your hands and then rub onto your face, avoiding your eyes and mouth.
The best protection against mosquito-borne illness is avoidance. If you can, remain indoors during their peak hours (dawn and dusk).
This spray is not waterproof/sweat-proof, so you will need to apply again hourly to ensure continued protection.

Also, it will not protect against ticks, I would recommend a store-bought product that contains DEET if tick exposure is likely.

My bottle of homemade bug spray at the ready on the back patio!   Take THAT you little bloodsuckers!   :-)


Mosquito Repellent


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  1. Dana says

    Geranium oil also works! I just dab a couple of drops around my ankles and elbows..and it works for hours! An entire day near the lake at a cookout..and not one bite! The downside is that it also attracts bees because they think you’re a flower. They checked me out for a few seconds and then moved on though. =) I’ll have to try this too!

  2. Elizabeth says

    Oldest DS and I are some of the skeeters favorite dishes! Looking forward to trying this. As for ticks though, the best repellant is Avon Skin So Soft, works great!

  3. Ashley House says

    I have read a few different places that if you just take an unused dryer sheet and put it in your pocket or tie it to your belt loop that it will keep the mosquitoes away. Haven’t tried this yet, but I plan to soon as they are out and about here. I have 2 very allergic children and anything to not have to douse them with chemicals.

    • says

      I hate to burst your bubble, Ashley, but dryer sheets are one of the most common ‘problem’ items for people who have chemical sensitivity. Moving from one set of chemicals to another isn’t going to help as much as you’d hope. Essential oils, like this recipe, are a much better choice.


    • Marina says

      Have tried very strongly scented drier sheets and even they did not repel mosquitoes. We got bit almost immediately. I’d try this citronella recipe, should work and it’s natural.

  4. says

    I heard since we had such a mild winter bugs are going to be a big problem this year! thanks for an alternate solution!

  5. says

    definately trying this! love that it is natural and from the looks of the ingredients should also smell nice:). hadn’t been here in a while….love the new look of your blog!

    • says

      Kenda….I bought mine at our local health food store. But they are also available online lots of places…including I updated the post to include some links in case people were interested.

      • Katrina says

        If you have a Walgreens near you they have it on sale right now. You get a cash coupon back so it ends up being free!

  6. chris says

    We grind up garlic and water in the blender and then “paint” it around the deck and porch. We don’t have as problem with bugs and you can use it on the dogs too. We just add a “stripe” down their backs and they don’t get bothered with the bugs as well. We just reapply every couple months when the buggers start to reappear.

  7. says

    Plain old-fashioned “Listerine” – can even use the generic PLAIN stuff (no flavorings added) Put it in a spray bottle and spritz it in the air around the perimeter of where you’re going to and it keeps away all bugs. Gnats, no-see-ums, mosquitoes, etc. works if you spray it on your clothes, too.

    I also second the Bounce dryer sheet idea. Friend of mine uses it and says it works great!

    Witch hazel can be found in any drug store or grocery store usually around the alcohol and peroxide shelve(s). It costs about $1.00 around here.

    • Becky says

      I had to do some weeding over the weekend, so I sprayed myself liberally with generic Listerine. Didn’t seem to be working as I heard the little buggers buzzing around my ears and landing on my neck. So I went in the house and grabbed a dryer sheet, rubbed it on my arms and neck and tucked it in my waistband. Don’t think that worked either. I have several welts on my arms. :(

      • christy says

        Becky I have tried both of those and they have never worked. We live in a state that has tons of mosquitoes. They are already out in full force. I have tried just about every natural remedy that I have heard of. Nothing has ever worked like Off Deep Woods. We have spent days camping and no bites or ticks. I am sure it isn’t good for us or the kiddos but the alternative is Tick fever and lyme disease, one of which my husband got and we spent lots of money on hospital bills because he was so sick.

        I am leery to try this one too because it looks somewhat expensive initially. I hope if someone tries it they will let us know if it works good. Especially if they live in the midwest.

      • says

        Wow, so sorry neither worked for you!

        Most of these suggestions were for MOSQUITO repellant, not tick repellant. The only things that I know of that are not commercial that will keep ticks away are Sulfur (an element) powder (not Sulfa- a class of antibiotics) or Skin-so-soft.

        I live in GA – a place with LOTS of mosquitoes and I am a mosquito magnet. The Listerine worked wonderfully well 2 summers ago when I went with 8 girls from my church to camp for a week. We were in a boggy area and it was hot outside. We didn’t have any mosquito, no-see-ums, nor chigger bites nor problems with ticks, though it it possible that there weren’t a lot of ticks in the area.

        I’ve also used Skin-So-Soft with great results. It’s just a lot more expensive for me than Listerine. I’m wondering if any oil would work like the Avon product for ticks as it’s probably more to do with the slickness than the smell, though infusing/adding some of the above herbs to it wouldn’t be a bad idea.

        My friend personally used the dryer sheets for mosquitoes and it worked for him.

        HOWEVER, I’m wondering if whether or not an alternative works has to do with different people’s body chemistry. That would explain why things work well for some people and not at all for others, as well as why some people in a family get eaten alive and others are barely bothered by bites.

        Hope that for those that these things don’t work well will be able to find an alternative to the pesticides in the commercial stuff. However, it’s better to use the chemicals than to get Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever or an anaphalactic reaction to being bitten!

      • Daria says

        I’ve used the Skin-so-soft for years with much success. My budget stretcher was that I had bought the bath oil and never used it, so I just mixed a small amount (an ounce or two) with my favorite (or less used) skin lotion. The large bottles can be bought as a BOGO, so they’ll last for years!

    • Demaroge says

      The Listerine did not work for me. I personally tried it. No luck.

      Dryer sheets – NOPE.

      Consuming garlic tablets daily – may have helped but certainly not a complete remedy

  8. Demaroge says

    I tried the yellow plain Listerine…did nothing for us. :( I really wanted it to work!

    I did read somewhere about a mosquito trap. Putting yeast in it causes a reaction creating carbon dioxide so the mosquitoes are attracted to it and then drown. Sounds like a winner for an outdoor gathering. Placing a jar of the stuff in a close but hidden spot would draw the mosquitoes away from your friends.

    I am pretty sure I saw that on Pinterest site…..I plan to try it next time we have an outdoor gathering.

    I wonder if tea tree oil would be a good deterrent?

  9. says

    Can you steep citronella leaves instead of using oils? Or do you know where to buy the oils? I have citronella in our patio garden to help keep mosquitoes away.