DIY All Natural Bug Spray

There are very few things that I don’t like about summer, and one of those is bug bites. It keeps me from wanting to go camping or stay outside after dark. I just can’t stand those itchy, painful bites!

But one thing I hate more than the bug bites themselves is using bug spray loaded with toxic chemicals to prevent them. Coating your skin in toxins kinda makes the bug bites not seem so bad, right?

This summer I have a new plan of attack, and that’s using my own natural homemade insect repellent made with essential oils.

How to Make Homemade Bug Spray

I have extremely sensitive skin so it also makes sense to use natural ingredients for that reason, too. Plus, I really do care about what’s being absorbed into my skin and my kids’ skin.

Making your own bug spray couldn’t be easier and chances are you probably have some of the ingredients in your cupboard already.

DIY natural insect repellant-3

I did some searching around and found dozens of homemade bug spray recipes. I took inspiration from several places, but ultimately used this one based on DIY Natural’s bug spray.

The one essential oil that popped up over and over was citronella oil. Unfortunately I can’t stand the smell of citronella (maybe that’s why it works so well on bugs!).

However, I still added it to my homemade bug spray because of its insect repellent properties [source], but you can use many different combinations of essential oils. Oregano oil is a great one on its own [source], but I went ahead and combined it with lavender, citronella, tea tree and peppermint oil as well. 

DIY natural insect repellant-2

When using essential oils, it’s important to dilute them with a carrier oil so they don’t irritate the skin. For this I used jojoba oil. Olive, neem, almond or other oils can also be used as well. You could even use coconut oil for a lotion style bug balm.

Note: neem oil is a natural pesticide [source] and should not be used by pregnant women or children.

My natural food store has handy little glass spray bottles so I picked one up for the bug spray. You don’t need very much – a few spritzes worked great for me on each arm and leg. However, just remember that it does need to be reapplied more often than other repellants – every few hours or so.

The more oils you use, the stronger the spray will be. I used this combination for mine – 20 tea tree, 20 citronella, 20 lavender, 10 bergamot, 10 oregano and 10 peppermint. The spray ingredients do separate, so it’s important to shake it very well before spraying.

DIY natural insect repellant

What natural ways have you tried to repel insects?


DIY All Natural Bug Spray

Prep Time5 mins

Total Time5 mins

Course: Bath and Body

Cuisine: DIY

Keyword: bug spray

Yield: 4 ounce approx.

Author: Lindsey Johnson

Cost: $6


  • Mix everything together and transfer to a spray bottle.

  • Shake very well before using as the ingredients naturally separate.

  • Reapply every few hours for best results.


If you’re looking for bottles, my natural food store has handy little glass spray bottles. I picked up one for the bug spray.
When applying, you don’t need very much – a few spritzes worked great for each arm and leg. It does need to be reapplied more often than other repellants – every few hours or so.


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