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All Natural 3 Ingredient Insect Repellent That Works!

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’Tis the season for mosquitos – which means you, like me, might be looking for an effective, natural insect repellent!

We live in a dry climate, but thanks to a wet spring, mosquitos are out in full force now. Most people dislike the pesky little bloodsuckers, but I absolutely abhor them. I get an unusually nasty allergic reaction to mosquito bites, and I seem to get more bites than anyone around me when the buggers are out. My son has the same bad luck; if the whole family is outside enjoying a summer evening, he and I are the ones being consumed alive by the little vampires.

Working in my garden in the evenings when the temperatures drop to a comfortable level is almost impossible unless I continuously douse myself in bug repellent. But I have always hated the idea of soaking my skin with the stinky, chemical-laden store-bought repellents I have used most of my life. So a few years ago I made it my mission to find a safer, natural alternative.

Why avoid most commercial insect repellents?

Commercial insect repellents often contain chemicals like DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) and permethrin. While effective, these chemicals come with a host of potential health risks. DEET, for example, can cause skin irritation, and there are concerns about its long-term effects on the nervous system.

Permethrin, meanwhile, is toxic to cats and can have adverse effects on the environment. Also, many of these repellents contain synthetic fragrances and preservatives that can cause allergic reactions and skin sensitivity.

Safe alternatives to chemical repellents

Thankfully, nature provides us with plenty of safe and effective alternatives. Essential oils are a fantastic option. They are derived from plants and have been used for centuries for their medicinal and repellent properties. Essential oils like citronella, eucalyptus, and lavender are particularly effective against mosquitoes and other insects.

These natural options are safer for us and our families, but also kinder to the environment. They break down more easily and do not accumulate in the ecosystem, making them a more sustainable choice.

Citronella as a mosquito repellent
Citronella plant

Natural insect repellent recipes

Most DIY insect repellents have the same few ingredients – a base of apple cider vinegar or witch hazel, water, and essential oils. I have tried several combinations of these and have found them to be very effective. The added benefits are that the ingredients are perfectly safe, even for kids, it’s cheap to make, and the oils smell SO much better than any commercial insect repellent.

This first recipe is the easy, basic insect repellent spray I make and use most often.

Basic insect repellent spray


  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup witch hazel OR apple cider vinegar
  • 40 drops essential oil(s) of your choice


Use a funnel to measure the water and witch hazel or vinegar into a spray bottle. Add the essential oil(s) and shake to mix well. Apply liberally and reapply as needed. Depending on the size of the spray bottle you’re using, you can easily half or double this recipe

The recipe is so easy, and it works! It is also very flexible; the oils can be mixed and matched depending on the smells you like best. Several essential oils work well to repel insects, including:

  • Lemongrass
  • Citronella
  • Rosemary
  • Tea tree
  • Peppermint
  • Lemon
  • Lavender
  • Geranium
  • Cedarwood
  • Eucalyptus
Lavender oil to repel insects

I usually use lavender, lemon, and eucalyptus essential oils in my repellent, but it’s fun to mix up different oils each time to discover new scents and see which are the most effective.

As far as the bases go, the apple cider vinegar works a little longer and more effectively than the witch hazel base. It does have a strong smell when first applied, but the vinegar smell dissipates pretty quickly, so don’t let it scare you away from trying out the recipe.

You will need to apply this homemade repellent more often than commercial bug repellent, but I think it’s worth it. Give it a shot, and let us know if it works for you!

For those who like variety or need a bit more potency, here are a couple more DIY insect repellent recipes:

DIY bug repellent

Coconut oil and essential oil insect repellent balm


  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 10 drops citronella essential oil
  • 10 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil


Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Once melted, remove from heat and stir in the essential oils. Pour the mixture into a small container and let it solidify. Apply the balm to exposed skin before heading outdoors.

Herbal infusion insect repellent spray


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint
  • 1 tablespoon dried lavender


Combine water and vinegar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the dried herbs and remove from heat. Let the mixture steep for 2-3 hours. Strain the herbs out and pour the liquid into a spray bottle. Apply liberally before going outside.

With these natural options, you can enjoy the great outdoors without worrying about harsh chemicals. Happy mosquito-free adventures!

DIY natural insect repellent


DIY natural insect repellent

Prepper News Watch for July 14, 2014 | The Preparedness Podcast

Monday 14th of July 2014

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