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Make your own Insect Repellent Bug Spray

By Survival Warehouse August 21, 2023

As the warm weather beckons us outdoors, so do pesky insects, ready to spoil our outdoor adventures. While store-bought insect repellents can be effective, they often contain chemicals that some individuals prefer to avoid. Fortunately, making your own insect repellent using natural ingredients is an eco-friendly and skin-friendly alternative. In this guide, we'll walk you through the process of creating your own natural insect repellent that will help keep those bugs at bay.

how to make your own insect repellent bug spray

Why Choose Natural Insect Repellents?

Natural insect repellents offer several benefits that appeal to health-conscious and environmentally-conscious individuals:

  1. Chemical-Free: Natural repellents are free from harsh chemicals commonly found in commercial products. This reduces the risk of skin irritation, allergic reactions, and potential health concerns associated with synthetic ingredients.

  2. Environmentally Friendly: Many chemicals in traditional repellents can be harmful to the environment. By using natural ingredients, you contribute to a healthier ecosystem.

  3. Customization: When making your own repellent, you have control over the ingredients used, allowing you to tailor the formula to your preferences and skin sensitivities.

Ingredients You'll Need

Before you start crafting your natural insect repellent, gather the following ingredients:

  1. Base Oil: Choose a carrier oil like coconut oil, jojoba oil, or almond oil. These oils serve as a base for diluting essential oils and moisturizing the skin.

  2. Essential Oils: Opt for insect-repelling essential oils such as citronella, eucalyptus, lavender, lemongrass, and peppermint. These oils contain compounds that bugs tend to dislike.

  3. Aloe Vera Gel: Aloe vera gel adds a soothing and moisturizing element to the repellent, helping to counteract any drying effects from the essential oils.

  4. Distilled Water: Used to create a balanced consistency and increase the repellent's coverage.

Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Choose Your Essential Oils

Select a combination of essential oils known for their insect-repelling properties. Some popular choices include citronella, eucalyptus, lavender, lemongrass, and peppermint. Aim for a total of 20-30 drops of essential oil per ounce of base oil.


1. Rosemary: The Aversion Elixir

Insects, particularly mosquitoes, harbor an aversion to the invigorating scent of rosemary. This makes it a go-to essential oil for activities like hiking and lakeside leisure. Notably, studies also reveal that rosemary's fragrance provides an energy boost and a quick "mental refresh," making it an essential companion for both repelling bugs and rejuvenating your senses.

2. Thyme: The Mighty Mosquito Barrier

In the realm of insect repellency, thyme stands tall. In a surprising revelation, a study found thyme's mosquito-repelling prowess even surpassed that of DEET, a commonly used chemical repellent. Beyond mosquitoes, thyme essential oil acts as a deterrent for chiggers and ticks, thanks to its potent antimicrobial properties. This oil has a rich historical lineage, having been utilized in diverse medicinal remedies over time.

3. Citronella: Nature's Lemon-Fresh Armor

Embrace the zesty, floral aroma of citronella, a versatile essential oil known for its ability to repel fleas and mosquitoes. While it requires more frequent reapplication compared to DEET-based repellents, the lemony scent keeps pests at bay throughout the day. You can even employ citronella-infused sachets strategically around your living spaces to discourage moths and cockroaches.

4. Sage: An Invigorating Shield

Sage essential oil offers a distinctive and invigorating aroma, often described as healing and purifying. The antibacterial and mood-boosting properties of clary sage, a specific variety, have been unveiled through numerous studies. When it comes to repelling insects, sage essential oil is your ally against chiggers, flies, and ticks, creating a protective shield with its captivating scent.

5. Lavender: Relaxation and Repellence Combined

Lavender, synonymous with relaxation, brings its soothing essence to insect repellency. Beyond promoting better sleep, mood, and digestion, lavender essential oil proves its worth as a natural deterrent against fleas, flies, mosquitoes, and ticks. Whether through aromatherapy, topical treatments, or in your daily tea, lavender safeguards your outdoor serenity.

6. Peppermint: The Ultimate Pest Sentry

Consider peppermint essential oil your ultimate natural pest repellent, creating a barrier around your home's entry points. This versatile oil is a nemesis for ticks, spiders, roaches, moths, flies, fleas, beetles, and ants. Deploy sachets infused with peppermint oil near windows and doors, or get creative with diffusers and sprays to maintain a pest-free sanctuary.

Step 2: Mix the Base Oil and Essential Oils

In a small bowl or glass jar, combine your chosen carrier oil with the essential oils. Stir gently to ensure proper blending.

Step 3: Add Aloe Vera Gel

To enhance the moisturizing and soothing effects of your repellent, add a tablespoon of aloe vera gel to the oil mixture. Mix well until fully incorporated.

Step 4: Incorporate Distilled Water

Gradually add distilled water to the mixture, stirring as you pour. This step helps create a balanced consistency and ensures even distribution of the repellent.

Step 5: Test and Adjust

Before applying the repellent to your skin, perform a patch test on a small area to check for any adverse reactions. If you experience any discomfort or irritation, adjust the essential oil concentration or choose different oils.

Step 6: Storage

Store your homemade insect repellent in a dark glass bottle or container. This helps protect the essential oils from sunlight, which can degrade their effectiveness over time.

offgrid bug spray

Application and Precautions

Apply a small amount of your homemade insect repellent to exposed skin, avoiding sensitive areas like the eyes and mouth. Reapply every few hours or as needed. Keep in mind that natural repellents may need more frequent application compared to chemical-based counterparts.

Crafting your own natural insect repellent can be a rewarding and environmentally conscious way to keep those annoying bugs at bay. By combining the power of essential oils with moisturizing ingredients, you can enjoy the great outdoors without worrying about harsh chemicals. Remember to personalize your repellent to suit your preferences and test it before widespread use. With a little effort and creativity, you'll have an effective and natural solution to fend off insects during your outdoor escapades.

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