Homemade Mosquito Repellent: 8 Easy Recipes For Personal, & Yard Use

Ouch! Getting a mosquito bite literally sucks.

Whether you react severely to mosquito bites or not, getting turned into a human juice box is fun for no one. But using a store-bought repellent can be expensive – and bad for your health. (And let’s not forget, that aerosol spray isn’t doing the environment any favors, either!)

If you’re fed up with being eaten alive and feeling guilty when you bust out that store-bought, DEET-filled crap, it might be time to check out our list of fantastic homemade mosquito repellents – they’re effective as DEET but safer!

Part I – Homemade Mosquito Repellent Recipes for Personal Use

The first five homemade insect repellents in the list are actual mosquito sprays, bars, and traps, meant to apply to yourself or small living areas in order to keep mosquitos and other bugs away. The last three recipes (Part II) take the repellent concept to the big leagues, equipping you with ways to clear your entire yard of mosquitoes!

Recipe 1. The Easy Homemade Mosquito Spray

This recipe is an essential oil homemade mosquito repellent, using a specific blend of oils that is a prime anti-mosquito concoction. While essential oils are a great tool in the battle against bugs, the nice thing about this recipe is that you don’t have to go mixing and matching essential oils like a mad scientist. This blend of oils is good for young kids as well as adults, making it a great natural mosquito repellent for babies and grown-ups alike.

Note: Although the essential oil used in this recipe is a gentle, kid-safe option, it’s still generally recommended not to put essential oils directly on an infant’s skin. If they’re under two years old, just apply to their clothes and you should be good to go!

What You’ll Need

  • 2 ounces either apple cider vinegar, witch hazel, or vodka
  • 40 drops of Shield Me essential oil
  • 2 ounces water
  • Spray bottle

How To Do It

This homemade mosquito repellent is as easy as it looks. Just mix the three ingredients together into a spray bottle and, hey presto, you’ve got bug spray! Since essential oils and water mix like… well, oil and water, it’s best to add the essential oil to the ACV, witch hazel, or vodka first, mix it up, and then add the water.

Pro Tip: Don’t use just any plastic spray bottles when using essential oils. You should look for  glass or plastic specifically made for essential oil use.

Once you’ve made the mixture, keep it in your fridge in between uses. It will keep for a few months!

​PROS

  • Very easy to make
  • Especially designed for use with children ages 2-10

​CONS

  • Can be a more expensive homemade option
  • No variation in choice of smells

Best Suited For: This DIY natural mosquito repellent is best suited for families with younger children.

Recipe 2. The “Essential” Homemade Repellent

Another essential oil option, the “Essential” Homemade Repellent involves a combination of essential oils that is simultaneously pleasant to smell and good at repelling mosquitos. While it is the last essential oil-focused recipe we will include on this list, there are many, many variations of essential oil mosquito repellents.

Some popular essential oil mosquito repellents include eucalyptus oil, lemon grass oil, citronella oil, tea tree oil, neem oil, and rosemary oil.

Here are a few other variations on essential oil based repellent recipes (the first one inspired Recipe #1!) that you can find, along with a valuable list of some of the top essential oils to use in mosquito repellents that are also safe for children and pregnant mothers! In addition, if you’re going to use essential oils in your spray, make sure to get quality oils, as it can make a big difference in the health aspects of your homemade spray.

What You’ll Need

  • Spray bottle that works with essential oils
  • ½ cup witch hazel
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 40 drops of essential oil

How To Do It

This homemade mosquito repellent lacks the water component from the first recipe. Just pour them in, stir or shake well, and there you have it! Once this is done, spray it on your clothes and skin, anywhere you might get bitten, with the exception of the eyes and mouth.

It should keep those bugs off, and keep you smelling like a boss.

​PROS

  • A variety of scents to choose from
  • Easy to make

​CONS

  • Can be a more expensive homemade option

Best Suited For: This mosquito repellent is great for anyone looking for a strong but good-smelling option that can be tailored to their preferences.

If you’re interested in what else you can use those leftover lemon eucalyptus essential oil and rosemary essential oil with, you may also enjoy our article on homemade febreze recipes!

Recipe 3. The Dried Herbs Spray

If you want to get away from homemade mosquito repellent with essential oils, this is a killer natural DIY mosquito repellent spray that you can tailor to your preferred herbal scent. Here’s what you’ll need to put it together.

What You’ll Need

  • Pan
  • Cloth
  • Bowl
  • A spray bottle
  • 1 cup witch hazel or rubbing alcohol
  • 1 cup distilled water
  • 3 or 4 tablespoons of dried herbs (your choice of any one of the following OR combine them into your own blend! – Citronella, Catnip, Lavender, Lemongrass, Spearmint, and Peppermint.)

How To Do It

1. Begin by boiling the distilled water along with 3 or 4 tablespoons of your choice of dried herbs. Feel free to experiment with this one. Vary the herbal mixture each time until you find your favorite combinations! If you don’t like using dried catnip, there’s catnip oil that you can get!

2. Let it boil for a minute and then remove it from the heat, give it a stir, and then cover it and let it cool.

Pro Tip: Make sure to cover it as soon as it’s off the stove, as this will help keep the precious oils in the mixture!

3. Once cool, use the strainer and bowl to remove the herbs (they will clog your spritzer otherwise).

4. Then add the cup of witch hazel or rubbing alcohol to your concoction, stir it up, pour it into your spray bottle and off you go!

​PROS

  • Smells great
  • Affordable

​CONS

  • Tracking down the specific dried herbs you prefer can be extra work

Best Suited For: Those who don’t want to spring for essential oils, but still want the delicious, natural smell.

Recipe 4. The Mosquito Repellent Lotion Bar

While there are many reasons to make bug sprays, often using a lotion for mosquito repellent can be just as effective!

DIY mosquito repellent lotion bars also work well as a mosquito repellent cream for babies too! However, if you’re pregnant, make sure not to use any herbs that could be dangerous

Note: If you do want a lotion bar and don’t want to go through the process of infusing the oil, here is a simpler version of this recipe.

There are so many wonderful herbs to choose from, however, that you should have no trouble finding some that smell good and are safe.

What You’ll Need

  • A double boiler (or glass bowl and saucepan)
  • Water
  • Cheesecloth
  • Silicon mold
  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • A heaping ½ cup of beeswax
  • ½ cup of another butter like mango, shea, or cocoa (or a combination!)
  • ¼ cup each o​​​​f both rosemary and catnip leaves
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 2 tbsp thyme
  • ½ tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 (or more) tbsp mint leaf (optional and added to your own liking)
  • 1 tsp of Vitamin E (also optional)

Pro Tip: If you want to add any other bug resistant essential oils (again, here’s that list of some of the kid-friendly options) to this one, feel free to do so. Add between five and fifteen drops of each kind, or to your preferred intensity.

How To Do It

1. Heat up your double boiler, or add an inch or two of water into your saucepan and place the glass bowl on top. Once you’ve got the boiler going at medium to high heat, add in the herbs and spices (cinnamon, thyme, cloves, rosemary, catnip, and mint) along with the cup of coconut oil.

2. Cover the top of the container and let it steep for thirty minutes. By then you should see a distinctly darker color to the oil. That means it’s being infused by those herbs! Rosemary will likely be the dominant smell at this point.

3. Strain out the herbs using the cheesecloth and add ½ cup of the cleaned oil back to the boiler. There will be a lot less overall, but if you have more than ½ a cup, save that precious oil for your next batch!

4. Now add the ½ cup of your choice of butter as well as the beeswax and stir until it’s melted together and thoroughly mixed. Take it off the heat and let it cool. Once it’s off the burner you can mix in any essential oils or vitamin E. Make sure to do this before the wax starts hardening!

5. Once your mixture is ready to go, pour it into your silicone mold and leave it overnight to harden. 

Pro Tip: You can also pop it in the fridge or even the freezer for 10 to 20 minutes to speed up the process if you’re in a hurry!

Once the mosquito repellent bars are hardened, just rub them on your dry skin, and voila! You’re protected against the mosquitos! Remember to reapply every 2 to 3 hours. These mosquito repellent bars should keep for several months up to a year. However, make sure they stay cool or they’ll melt!

​PROS

  • It’s a lotion combined with a bug repellent, what’s not to love?
  • Great flexibility in choices for the scent
  • Infuse the oil yourself!

​CONS

  • Quite a bit of work
  • Require a lot of ingredients

Best Suited For: Those who don’t want to use a homemade mosquito repellent spray or want the benefit of lotion combined with their spray!

Recipe 5. A Homemade Mosquito Trap

All the recipes so far have been helpful for temporary exposure to mosquitoes, especially when you’re on a hike or are relaxing outdoors.

This mosquito trap is a great way to bring that mosquito invasion to an abrupt halt.

But, if your problem involves mosquitos regularly getting into your living space, you may need more of a homemade mosquito killer rather than a simple spray or lotion.

What You’ll Need

  • 2-liter soda bottle
  • Knife
  • Scissors
  • Duct tape
  • A pot
  • ½ cup of brown sugar
  • ½ cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast

How To Do It

1. Start by cutting the soda bottle through the middle, roughly two-thirds of the way up. Flip the top part over and insert it, spout down, into the bottom portion without it touching the bottom. Then use duct tape to re-attach the two pieces of the bottle together.

2. Next, boil the water, add the sugar and dissolve it completely, creating a syrup. Once cool, add the syrup into your bottle.

3. Add the yeast, but don’t mix it. Just let it sit on top of the syrup. Make sure the syrup has cooled all the way before adding the yeast. Don’t do it sooner or it’ll ferment too quickly.

Pro Tip: Toss the syrup into the fridge for a bit to cool it faster!

And there you have it. Your mosquito-killing trap is complete. It should last for about two weeks.

You’ll know when it needs to be replaced when the bubbles stop forming in the syrup (this means the fermentation process which helps attract the mosquitoes has stopped, and the trap has become less effective). If you want to get a visual rundown on how this mosquito repellent works, along with some more details on why it works, check out this nifty video.

​PROS

  • Helps catch mosquitoes in a larger living space
  • Doesn’t require the application of a spray or lotion
  • Lasts for weeks

​CONS

  • Has to be kept out of reach of children and pets
  • Not aesthetically pleasing

Best Suited For: Those who have mosquito infestations in their living space.

Part II: Homemade Mosquito Repellent for Your Yard

Now, having outdoor mosquito repellents to put on yourself is helpful, especially when you’re away from home, hiking, or moving around in general.

But, sometimes you just want to go outside and sit down for a minute without dousing yourself in a spray to enjoy the experience. Wouldn’t it be nice in those moments to just have a whole backyard mosquito repellent?

Good news… you can!

Here are some great options to make your own natural mosquito repellent for your whole yard. They are both parents- and kid-safe mosquito repellents, that can be sprayed onto the grass, your driveway, and on any stagnant water in the vicinity.

Note: If you do have any stagnant water like a swamp or pond by your property while treating it with a homemade repellent can be helpful, the best long-term solution is to get that water cleaned up and flowing.

Recipe 6. Read It and Weep: The Onion Option

A classic homemade mosquito repellent, this option leverages the power of an onion… and that’s it! How simple can it get? The repellent usually lasts for around a month before needing to be reapplied. Now let’s see how it’s made…

What You’ll Need

  • An onion
  • Water
  • A container with a lid
  • A sprayer (A pressure sprayer is great, but a large squirt bottle works as well)

How To Do It

Once again, this mosquito repellent recipe is super simple.

1. Just chop up the onion, put it in your container and add a gallon of water.

2. Stir the mosquito repellent around a bit and then cover it up and leave it to steep in a warm, sunny spot for 3-5 days.

3. Pour it into your sprayer and give your yard, porch, patio, lawn chairs, swing set, etc. a good dousing!

​PROS

  • Easy to make
  • Minimal ingredients

​CONS

  • Smells like onions!

Best Suited For: Those who want a super simple, effective homemade mosquito repellent option that is natural and easy to make.

Recipe 7. The Paul Harvey Recipe

This one comes to us from none other than the famous radio super-personality, Paul Harvey himself. The best part of this recipe is that it can last up to three months!

What You’ll Need

  • 3 cups Epsom salt
  • 3 bottles inexpensive beer (if it’s stale, all the better!)
  • 36 oz mint mouthwash (for a more eco-friendly option, look into organic or natural mouthwash, like PerioBrite)
  • A sprayer or large spray bottle

How To Do It

1. In your sprayer, mix 3 cups of Epsom salt, 3 cans or bottles (roughly 36 ounces) of inexpensive beer, and roughly 36 ounces (roughly one bottle worth) of mint mouthwash.

2. The idea here is to have approximately a 1 to 1 ratio of mouthwash to beer. Swirl it around until it’s mixed together in the sprayer.

Make sure the salt is thoroughly dissolved! 

Pro Tip: It’s a good idea to shake or mix up the homemade mosquito repellent concoction each time you use it to make sure none of the ingredients have separated.

​PROS

  • Classic, proven recipe
  • Beats the cost of expensive lawn treatments by professionals
  • Works for up to 3 months!

​CONS

  • Smells like beer and mouthwash
  • No preservatives, so it has a short shelf life and needs to be applied relatively soon after mixing

Best Suited For: Those who want a battle-tested, powerful, and natural mosquito repellent that will last for months.

Recipe 8. Garlic Yard Spray

Another age-old, though slightly less effective, way to clear mosquitos (and vampires!) out of your yard, is to use garlic. This has been done for centuries in various ways. Here’s a simple, yet effective recipe that should keep those pesky bugs off your lawn for anywhere from a few hours to a week.

What You’ll Need

  • Blender​​​​
  • Strainer
  • Gallon container with lid
  • Sprayer or spray bottle
  • 3 heads of garlic
  • Water
  • List Element
  • Optional: 2 hot peppers and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

How To Do It

1. Peel the cloves from three heads of garlic and add them to your blender.Fill the blender a little over half full of water.

Optional: Instead of 3 heads of garlic, use 2 heads of garlic, 2 hot peppers, and 2 tbsp of vegetable oil to the same amount of water in the blender.

2. Blend thoroughly for at least a minute. Strain out any chunks and then add the strained liquid to your gallon container. Fill the rest of the container up with water.

Put the lid on the container and store it in a cool, dry area like a refrigerator or cold storage room until needed. When you go to apply the repellent, further dilute the concentrate by adding ¼ cup of the concentrate to 1 gallon of water.

Mix into one of the spray bottles and apply the mosquito repellent to your lawn.

​PROS

  • A natural option
  • Very simple to make
  • Extremely affordable

​CONS

  • Not good to use if you have a cat!
  • Needs reapplication regularly
  • Smells like garlic!

Best Suited For: Those who want a more organic, natural approach to keeping their lawn mosquito-free.

Final Thoughts

And there you have it: 8 homemade mosquito repellents that range from sprays and lotions, to house traps and entire yard applications.

Comment below and let us know which ones you’ve tried, how effective they were, and if you had to tailor the ingredients or application to get better results.

Also, if you have your own favorite homemade mosquito repellent recipe, we’d love to hear about it. Please share it with us!

Using your homemade mosquito repellent for when you’re camping or hiking? Check out our review of the best solar power bank for uninterrupted connectivity.

FAQs

Yes, vinegar can keep mosquitoes away. Mosquitoes hate the overwhelming acidic smell of vinegar. However, because of its intense smell, many homeowners dilute it with water and add a few drops of tea tree oil or lavender essential oil to mask the odor. Some might use apple cider vinegar over white vinegar too. If you’re looking for alternatives found in your pantry, you can use soybean oil or olive oil. Add a few drops of lemon eucalyptus oil to make the smell pleasant when you have people or friends over.

Yes, essential oils can keep mosquitoes away. However, not all essential oils can repel the pesky pests away especially when you are a mosquito magnet. Ideally, you should use neem oil, lemon eucalyptus oil, jojoba oil, cinnamon oil, tea tree oil, peppermint oil, and even rosemary oil. If you have pets inside your home, be cautious when using essential oils because some are toxic.

Yes, a homemade mosquito repellent safe and effective compared to a store-bought mosquito repellent spray. Bug repellents in groceries are made from chemicals, which are not only toxic to insects but also to humans! A bug repellent made from natural ingredients keeps mosquitoes away and avoid itchy bug bites when you’re outside doing yard work or within your home.

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