Wednesday, July 24, 2013

DIY Herbal Bug Spray

photo by the incredible Dave Taylor

At first, I was a little hesitant to try out my own bug spray - its not really one of those things that is worth the risk of not working, especially on the kids. It actually sat in our car for about a month before we even used it - but when we did, I couldn't even believe the results!

We were out at the lake, and on our way home The Hubs wanted to stop for a few minutes to throw in a fishing pole. The place that we stopped at had swarms of these giant-mosquito-looking bugs. I am not sure if they were actually mosquitos - but they were gross and huge and everywhere.

So, I opted to stay in the car with the kids and Vahe set out to face the bugs. What a man won't do for a fish! :) I was so excited when I realized that I had the potentially-effective bug spray I had made in the car - and, since it was better than nothing, Vahe decided to try it out. 

I couldn't even believe it. I took this first picture of the passenger side of the car - probably 100 bugs just hanging out on my window.

This picture was taken of the driver's window - where Vahe had sprayed himself down just outside the door, about 5 minutes before. ZERO bugs!

If this doesn't make you a believer, I don't know what else will! Since then, we have used it on the whole family around mosquitos without a bite. I would even go as far to say that this repellent works BETTER than a deet-laced pesticide spray that you'll find in the store. Plus, it smells way better and all of the ingredients are completely natural and safe on everyone!

You'll find varying recipes online for DIY bug spray, this is just how I decided to make mine. Since it has worked so well for us - I don't think I will ever try anything different. If you use essential oils, chances are you have almost everything you need to make this bug repellent in the cupboard. The only oil I had to add to my collection was citronella - and it has turned out to be a great investment!

At first, the spray had a really awkward smell to it. When you smell all of the oils separately, you can kind of pick each one out when you smell the entire mixture. But, after a few days it gave off more of a woodsy-lemon scent that actually smells really nice! 

So, here's what you'll need:

4 oz witch hazel
1 oz sweet almond oil - totally optional, I just added it so that the spray was slightly mosturizing. You can sub it for another ounce of witch hazel, or any another skin-safe liquid oil
12 drops lavender oil
12 drops tea tree oil
12 drops peppermint oil
12 drops lemongrass oil
12 drops citronella oil

Pour all of the ingredients into a spray bottle. Shake well before each use, it will separate quickly!


  1. This sounds awesome. Bugs ALWAYS attack me, even when they never get anyone else. I need to try this.

  2. I was just telling my hubby that I wanted to make the switch from store-bought to natural so I am so glad you posted this! I'm excited to try it!

  3. This sounds great, the hubs and I are headed for a week long camp out in a few weeks so I will have to try this out. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Wish I had this a couple of weeks ago - before heading off to Yellowstone! I spent years feeling guilty for spraying all that OFF on you and your sisters - I'm so glad you have a healthy alternative for my grandchildren! ♥ Mama

  5. These are great, thanks so much for sharing, I'm definitely going to try them, as we battle with mosquitoes more than anything, but we don't let that put us off exploring outside :)

  6. Were can u buy these oils at in the u.s.?

    1. Whole Foods or



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