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Best Essential Oils That Repel Mosquitoes and 3 Natural Repellent Recipes

When you grow up in the Caribbean, where it’s an eternal Summer, mosquitoes are an everyday thing. You sleep with mosquito nets and become savvy in finding a natural way to avoid mosquito bites.

The truth is that mosquitoes and mosquito larvae are a real problem in many parts of the world, including the United States. 

We live in Texas, and going to the park with the kids or even to our own yard, can become quite uncomfortable.  

Not only do their bites cause itchiness and irritation, but they can also spread germs. In worst cases, they can carry dangerous diseases that can lead to serious health conditions.

But that’s where essential oils can come in.

Essential oils and essential oil blends are best known for helping to make our homes smell amazing, and yet, they are also full of ingredients that can help with the battle against pesky bugs like mosquitoes and fruit flies. 

I’m not qualified to give medical advice, nor am I an expert on human skin or the human body; however, having dealt with my children’s skin sensitivity, I can speak to my results when trying natural solutions and natural products.

Let’s look at the best essential oils that repel mosquitos and also some natural repellent recipes using them (with no side effects like most repellent products!).

What are essential oils?

The idea of using plants to repel insects isn’t a new one – people have been using natural mosquito repellents such as burning plants for many generations and in different ways. 

Lightly bruised plants would also be harvested and hung around the house to act as natural bug repellents

Essential oils are made from the aromatic volatile organic compounds that are found in these plants. They evaporate easily and have a strong smell with each coming from a different plant. 

They are also ideal for making your own effective repellent against many types of bugs and most particularly as protection from mosquitoes.

Best essential oils that repel mosquitoes

Each essential oil can be used on its own or used in recipes to make them even more effective.  Let’s start by looking at which are the top candidates for their mosquito repellent qualities.

Citronella oil

As you might guess from the name, Citronella essential oil also contains high amounts of citronellal so is also another great candidate for bug repellents.

You may have seen a citronella candle on the bug repellent aisle and this is why. It also contains something called geraniol which is a bug repellent.

Citronella is an effective essential oil against mosquitoes, especially when using the right recipe. I definitely prefer a natural mosquito repellent in my home.

Geranium essential oil

Geraniums are a species of flower that many gardeners are familiar with and love, but they can also be distilled into an essential oil that has geraniol as an active ingredient.

This element can help work as a repellent for mosquitoes and other bugs.

Peppermint oil

Made from a species of mint plant and as with all mints, Peppermint essential oil contains lots of menthol.

Peppermint oil is known for the lovely cooling sensation it can have when used on sensitive skin, burns, or even something like sunburn, and it is also a mosquito repellent which is an added bonus!

Rosemary oil

We use rosemary to make herbal tea or to add a delicious touch to our meals, so we were surprised to find out that rosemary repels flies and mosquitoes and drives away other bugs, too. 

Lavender oil

A few drops of lavender oil make everything smell amazing but there’s more than just a great smell to this oil.

The soothing, calming, grounding fragrance that we enjoy has the opposite effect on mosquitoes and they are repelled by it. 

Lavender also has antiseptic and antifungal qualities that help with skin irritations associated with bug bites. It’s one of my favorite essential oils, for sure!

Lemongrass oil

Lemongrass essential oil is a natural alternative for toxic repellents. Diffusing lemongrass is a great choice because, like most citrus oils, it gives you potency without a high price tag.

This is one of our favorites in my home because not only do we like it mosquito-free, it also smells delicious and boosts our mood.

Tea Tree oil

Tea Tree essential oil comes from the melaleuca tree from Australia and is known for a host of useful benefits. A couple of drops of tea tree oil can bring antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial benefits. 

Studies have also shown that tea tree essential oil is effective as a natural insect repellent.  This includes mosquitoes, bush flies, and biting midges.

Cinnamon Bark oil

Cinnamon Bark oil works not only to repel mosquitoes but has the ability to kill their eggs so has dual benefits for a bug repellent spray. 

This spicy oil has a warm and comforting aroma that is also very good to mix with oils such as tea tree and orange for bug sprays.

Cedar oil

As the daughter of a wood craftsman, cedarwood is one of my favorite fragrances in the world because it evokes times with my favorite person in the planet. Cedarwood has been used for generations in repelling bugs such as ants, gnats, fleas, chiggers, ticks, and mosquitoes. 

How to use essential oils safely

Avoid applying essential oils to your eyes or mucus membranes. I recommend testing somewhere first if you are applying the oils to the skin. 

If you are unsure about using essential oils as a mosquito repellent directly applied topically to the skin, diffusing the oil might be an alternative solution. 

You can also create a repellent recipe. It’s one of the best ways to use essential oils to repel mosquitoes and other bugs. These often involve mixing the oils with other natural ingredients and some that may seem more like cooking ingredients than a bug spray.

It’s important to keep your essential oils out of the reach of young children. They often come in glass bottles, which is a hazard, and some essential oils are too hot when neat.

Simple Water Based Mosquito Repellent

Take a spray bottle and add to it 3-4 tablespoons of lemon juice, 15 drops of lavender essential oil and 3-4 tablespoons of vanilla extract.  

Fill the rest of the bottle with either distilled water or boiled water that has been allowed to cool.  

Shake it and use it as a natural bug spray on your skin to stop the mosquitoes landing on you.

Citronella and Peppermint Bug Spray

Another example of a general bug spray, this one will need a 4-ounce spray bottle to create.  You need to then add:

  • 2 ounces distilled or boiled water
  • 1.5 ounces of witch hazel
  • 30 drops citronella essential oil
  • 25 drops of peppermint oil
  • 15 drops of tea tree oil
  • Optional: only add 1 ounce of witch hazel and add 1 teaspoon of jojoba oil instead

Add to exposed skin or to clothes, reapplying every 2 hours or as needed.

Rub-on Bug Repellent

This final repellent remedy is more of a rub-on than a spray and means you can use a range of different ingredients, depending on what works best for you.  

You’ll need:

  • A small container such as a lotion bottle or a dark blue glass jar
  • 2 tablespoons of an oil of your choice from something like avocado oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil, or neem oil
  • 20 drops of essential oil with bug-repellent properties

Add the carrier oil to the jar then mix in the essential oil. Shake and rub onto the skin to protect from mosquitoes and other insects.

Repelling bugs naturally

Using essential oils is effective against many species of mosquitoes as well as other bugs and helps to cope with the warmer months. 

Always use them carefully at first, then you will have an effective method to battle the bugs wherever you go.

I definitely have a great experience using these high concentration pure botanicals for health and healing. I simply love them!

If you want to learn more about essential oils, check out the Young Living Essential Oils catalog of essential oil products.

Young Living carries an oil blend called Purification that contains Citronella, Lavandin, Lemongrass, Myrtle, Rosemary, and Tea Tree. I love this oil because it’s designed to neutralize and cleanse our home environment. 

Have you ever tried essential oils to repel mosquitoes and other bugs? Share what has given you the best results in the comments below.

Elayna Fernandez - Bestselling Author - 
Transformational Trainer and Keynote Speaker - Mentor to Mom Entrepreneurs

© Elayna Fernández ~ The Positive MOM
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