Summer is just around the corner, and it’s time for me to whip up some homemade mosquito repellent. My little family uses homemade mosquito repellent because it is all natural, super easy to make, and works well at keeping those pesky insects away from us, including my 4-year-old little one.
During the lovely summer months, we like to spend many hours outdoors, playing in parks and playgrounds. But you know what else will be there? Yep, mosquitoes. May through July are when we have the most problems with mosquitoes. Depending on which State you are in, the peak of mosquito season might be different.
Mosquito bites can be super itchy. But more alarmingly, they can also be dangerous. That’s because mosquitoes can kill hundreds of thousands of people every year. One study shows that diseases (like Zika, dengue, and chikungunya) that mosquitoes carry and transmit kill 725,000 people annually.
This sobering fact means that I must keep everyone in my family safe from those pesky little insects when we are outdoors. Spraying on all natural homemade mosquito repellent has worked wonderfully for us. In addition to using homemade mosquito repellent, we also dress in light-colored clothing, and wear socks, long pants and long sleeves shirts whenever possible.
Mosquito Repellents on the Market
I’m sure you have heard of mosquito repellents that contain DEET, aka N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide. Some examples are Repel 100 Insect Repellent and Off Insect Repellent. Many people are happy using DEET products. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends DEET products, saying: “repellents that contain DEET offer the best protection against mosquito bites.” But CDC also admits that:
In rare cases, using DEET products may cause skin rashes. Some persons who used products containing a high concentration of DEET or who were exposed to excessive amounts of DEET have experienced skin rashes, blisters, and skin and mucous membrane irritation.
There are other side effects of using DEET. Most notable (although rather rare) are reports of seizures after DEET exposure. For example, a 5-year-old boy “experienced a major motor seizure at day camp” after using mosquito repellents that contained DEET.
Some people who prefer DEET-free mosquito repellents use products made with plant-based ingredients. Two examples are: Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent, and Off! Botanical Lotion. Their active ingredient is oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), or para-menthane-3,8-diol (PMD), the synthesized version of OLE. Both oil of lemon eucalyptus and PMD comes from the lemon eucalyptus plant, which is native to Australia. Studies have shown that repellents containing OLE are as effective in repelling mosquitoes as low concentration DEET products.
Active Ingredient in Homemade Mosquito Repellent
To make our homemade mosquito repellent, I use lemon eucalyptus essential oil, which is pure unrefined lemon eucalyptus oil. Unfortunately, you can’t buy OLE or PMD, but you can find lemon eucalyptus essential oil pretty easily. I also use citronella essential oil, which has also shown to repel mosquitoes.
While many people think that lemon eucalyptus essential oil is the same as OLE, they are actually different. Both lemon eucalyptus essential oil and OLE come from the same plant, but they are made differently. OLE is extracted using a solvent from the plant. Lemon eucalyptus essential oil is steam distilled from the plant. Many people, including me, have seen great results when using homemade mosquito repellent made with lemon eucalyptus essential oil. Don’t take my word for it. Give this homemade mosquito repellent recipe a try to see for yourself.
Homemade Mosquito Repellent
Prep Time: 5 – 10 minutes
Yields: about 2 oz of homemade mosquito repellent
Because this homemade mosquito repellent is super easy and quick to make, I usually make only about 2 oz at a time. You can certainly make a bigger batch by increasing the ingredients proportionally.
Ingredients for Homemade Mosquito Repellent
includes affiliate links
- Lemon Eucalyptus Essential Oil – 10 drops. I use Plant Therapy Organic Lemon Eucalyptus Essential Oil. You can also try Healing Solutions Lemon Eucalyptus Oil, or Sun Lemon Eucalyptus Essential Oil.
- Citronella Essential Oil – 10 drops. I use Plant Therapy Citronella Essential Oil. Other options include Now Foods Citronella Oil, or UpNature Citronella Essential Oil.
- Vegetable Glycerin – 1 oz. You can try Sky Organics Vegetable Glycerin, or Now Solutions Vegetable Glycerin.
- Unscented Witch Hazel – 1 oz. I use Thayers Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel. You can also try T.N. Dickinson’s Witch Hazel, or Thayer Lavender Witch Hazel.
- Spray Bottle – 1 spray bottle, like Blue Glass Spray Misters (4 oz), or Amber Glass Sprayer Bottles (2 oz).
How to Make Homemade Mosquito Repellent
Above is a short YouTube video on how I make homemade mosquito repellent.
(1) Add 10 drops of lemon eucalyptus essential oil and 10 drops of citronella essential oil to your spray bottle.
(2) Add 1 oz of vegetable glycerin.
(3) Add 1 oz of witch hazel.
(4) Shake your spray bottle to make sure all the ingredients are incorporated together.
(5) Your homemade mosquito repellent is ready for use.
Tips on Using Homemade Mosquito Repellent
(1) Before your venture outside, spray on your homemade mosquito repellent. It’s best to spray it over your clothes, rather than on exposed skin. This is especially a good idea for the little ones who have more sensitive skin.
(2) As this homemade mosquito repellent contains essential oil, it’s best not to use it on babies or children younger than 4 years old.
(3) I don’t spray it on my little one’s hands because she often touches her face with her hands. I don’t want the homemade mosquito repellent to end up in or near her eyes.
(4) We usually reapply our homemade mosquito repellent once an hour or so to make sure that we don’t give those pesky mosquito a chance to come near us.
(5) While we have used this homemade mosquito repellent without any problems, everyone is different. Be sure to stop using it if you experience any allergic reaction.
That’s it. That’s how you make and use homemade mosquito repellent. With a few all natural ingredients, you can whip up your own DEET-free mosquito repellent in a few minutes. My little family has been using this homemade mosquito repellent, and we have successfully keep those pesky mosquitoes away. So will you be giving this easy homemade recipe a try, or will you be continuing to use commercially available repellents? I’d love to know what you think about this recipe. Please share and pin this recipe if you like it!