Homemade All Natural Bug Spray


I love me a good home design magazine… and I wish this post were an announcement that I am being featured in one (like my friend Roeshel just announced!  Way to go Roeshel!).  Alas, it is just me talking about reading magazines, but still, I can retain the being featured dream.

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Anyway, I was reading my May edition of Country Living magazine and they had the greatest all natural bug spray recipe.  I HAD to try my hand at making.

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So I went to the store and bought my essential oils, lemongrass, eucalyptus and citronella oil, which can be found at any health food store.  I purchased the witch hazel at Walmart, cuz the specialty store’s version was $12 dollars ($1.44 at Wally world by the way! Score!).

The article also had a great link to some beautiful glass bottles… but lets get real here – this is a kid friendly house and metal or plastic is better.  What I ended up finding were some tiny 2 oz spray bottles in the travel bins at Walmart too.  They were about a buck.  (and technically they hold about 4 ounces)

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Homemade Natural Bug Spray Recipe


3 1 ⁄2 ounces (which is basically 1/3 cup) of Witch Hazel

1 ⁄2 teaspoon Lemongrass Oil

1 ⁄ 2 teaspoon Eucalyptus Oil

1 ⁄ 2 teaspoon Citronella Oil

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Combine all ingredients in a small four-once spray bottle.  Country LIving had a great source for cheap an amber glass mister for $1.07 at Specialtybottle.com.

When you use it, be sure to shake the bottle contents before spraying (You can see in the picture below how the oils separates from the witch hazel)  p.s. It smells divine!

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Since the weather has been nice enough to enjoy, we’ve spent a lot of time outside.  I had to show these funny pictures.  We got the girls new bathing suits.  The tops are fine but the bottoms don’t fit at all..  Oh well, they were wearing diapers anyway.  But I had to get some low rider pictures before I helped Lydia cuz it was so funny!

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Let me know what you think it you make it!

What have you all been up to lately?


Meet the Author: Cassity

Cassity started Remodelaholic with her husband, Justin, to share their love for knocking out walls together. She is an interior designer, wife, and mother of two. She and Justin have remodeled three Read More


  1. says

    I remember my mother spraying a bit of citronella oil here and there during the summer time to ward off creepy crawlies. We live in Arizona and sometimes insects can “drop by” without warning. Thanks for taking me nostalgia lane just now. :)

      • says

        Nancy, I don’t know, I didn’t even know what no-seeums were, I just Google searched… I guess you can always try it? Sorry I am not much more help!

  2. says

    I have made something like that before, especially after my son ended up with crazy hives one time after using the chemical laden store brand! I think it works pretty well, if I remember right, mine just had the citronella oil??? What have I been up to?? Just got back from CA doing a design job but then stuck off to Disneyland, feel free to stop by :-)


    The purple is so much fun BTW, nice to change things up, I’m just too chicken to mess with my layout!! ha! Have a great day Cassity.

  3. Brenda K says

    I’m sure you meant 1/3 cup and not (13 cups) of the witch hazel. Thanks for the recipe. I am gonna make a batch up to keep around for my grandchildren.

  4. says

    Thanks so much for this recipe. For some reason bugs love my family. We love to be outside but hate getting bit! Can’t wait to try this bug spray. Off to pin!! :) Happy Mother’s Day!

  5. katie bateman says

    Cassity! Thank you for sharing this, I will make this! The store-bought kinds stink (I mean literally, they smell). Just wondering if it really works though?

    • says

      I have been using it for a while. I don’t think it is completely foolproof, but other bug sprays are the same. Most of all, I feel a lot better about this than the fumey-cough inducing chemically filled other sprays. And it smells divine, in my opinion, and doesn’t make you feel sorta sticky dirty, like with ohter bug sprays!

      Hope that helps.

  6. says

    So glad I found this. I like the idea of an all natural bug repellent and my kiddos have super sensitive skin so this may do the trick. Pinning this on Pinterest!!!


  7. says

    Looks like a good idea. The mosquitoes are out full force here and make it inside every night. I could use some protection and I’d love to try and make it myself and put it in a cute bottle of my choice. Thanks!

  8. says

    I so needed this tutorial after this weekend. My little girl is a bug magnet and her chubby little legs look so sad with bites on them. Definitely trying this! Thanks for sharing.

    Visiting from Somewhat Simple

  9. says

    I would be very hesitant to use this recipe with plastic. All 3 of the essential oils called for react with plastic. Lemongrass will actually eat through a plastic cup in a fairly short amount of time. I realize that the oils are fairly dilute in this application but it still probably not a good idea.

  10. Paige says

    I wonder if this is safe for animals….. I live in SW Florida and the mosquitos are ferocious! I would love to be able to use something natural and safe on my pups!

  11. Susan says

    I haven’t tried this combo, but it sounds good. Also Tea tree oil is amazing for ridding yourselves of bugs- apply straight from bottle is possible like perfume and I’ve dotted it around ankles to keep chiggers away too. We have been using this for several summers w/very few bites. Putting it in a spray bottle w/witch hazel might be great to keep the crawlies off your back especially. If something does bite, the teatree oil will stop the itch right away also!! Apply full strength to bite.

  12. amy says

    when applying to pets, the solution is to only apply from the back of their neck down to base of their tail so that they cannot get their mouths to it.

  13. Lee says

    I have used Ivory soap all my life and never had a red bug aka chigger or a tick until I tried another soap for a few days and got red bugs. I went and got me a bar of Ivory soap lathered up let it dry for 30 mins and the next day they were gone. Also cinnimon essental oil sprayed in the corners of your home will keep spiders away. sorry for spellings my fingers get excited lol.

  14. Jay says

    I will try to make up a batch of this to try it out, thanks! For simplicity, my neighbors and I have grown fond of using plain, yellow mouthwash in a spray bottle. Listerine is fine and so is the $1 store brand – bugs can’t tell the difference.
    It has worked around our neighborhood as well as on the trail (we’re Scout leaders).
    Another very portable bug repellent (but maybe not as green) is Bounce fabric softeners. I always have a few in a Ziploc in my backpack. Rub one (or part of one) on your arms, neck, and hat and then stick in in your front pocket, shirt collar or under your hat to keep bugs away.

  15. Sheila says

    I use about the same recipe as you have posted here but add a little vinegar. I think it helps to mix the oils with the witch hazel. About a scant tablespoon to your recipe.

  16. Vickie says

    Sounds great, I will have to give the recipe to my daughter. Unfortunately, I am allergic to Eucalyptus so I can not use it.

  17. amy says

    I made this. It smelled great! I bought the little plastic walmart travel size squrit bottles and 4 weeks in my bottles started to melt! I stored them in my panty in a cool dry place. I guess I could buy glass, but my boys are two and four and I was trying to be safer with plastic. Anyone else experience this?

    • says

      Amy, I haven’t had any problems with the plastic, although I believe another commenter said it wasn’t good to use the plastic, but I haven’t had a chance to research it. I too have a 2 and 4 year old and the glass is sure to be dropped… Anywho, sorry i can’t help you out more!

      • Julie says

        These Essential Oils *will* “eat through” many plastics. I agree that glass isn’t the way to go… perhaps a small cute aluminum bottle would work?

  18. Beth says

    Soooooo cute!!!
    Love the swim suit photos. So miss those days. My girls are soon to be 21 and 19 :(
    Time flies so quick. Cherish every minute u have because u blink and they are graduating or going to college or whatever their path brings. It happens so fast.
    You have a beautiful family.
    God bless

  19. Beth says

    So it must. Be bed time. I was thinking bug spray like raid. Not like off! Anyway I never use the stuff with the deet in it. It creeps me out and I just don’t think it works well. My mom in law sells Avon and I have always bought skin so soft. Mostly spray or sunscreen. It really works for me and my family and believe me Mosquitos love me and my son. One bite usually swells to about 4 inch diameter circle. Whenever I have the Avon products on I’m all good.
    If I did not have the Avon stuff available I would def try this. Thx for recipe.

  20. Alysia says

    thanks for the recipe. We were out this evening with our dogs and we could only stand being out for a couple minutes the bugs were eating us alive. I hate using chemical bug spray but didn’t know that there were other options (kinda new to the essential oil idea). found you on pinterest. i wonder if i could use it on the dogs?

  21. Anj says

    This is a great and it works. My only concern when you are using plastic bottles, which trust me I would do the same because I have children too–eucalyptus oil and lemongrass are very very powerful strong oil. They NEED to be in glass bottles because they are corrosive. If left for too long your kids might be getting a little more then you bargained for. You’re call of course. I use essential oils every day and work with them so I know about they properties and stuff. Just be careful. The oils will corrode thru the plastic very easily.

  22. Ashley says

    I made this and it did eat through the plastic. It also did not work at all for me or my husband. We sprayed it all over us and still had Mosquitos swarming. I was a little disappointed since it took me a while to find the citronella oil.

  23. says

    Just a mention on the plastic bottles – glass is recommended for use with essential oils as the oil “breaks down” the plastic…then you have the chemicals/compounds that the plastic is made up of as part of your spray, and that too is being applied wherever you are applying the essential oils…if the contents of the bottle are going to be used very quickly, this issue may be something that you wouldn’t be concerned about…nice tutorial by the way!

  24. Kayla says

    If you use the glass bottles maybe take a can cooler and tape around the glass bottle? Just an idea. My aunt and her friend both sell doterra I Oils and said not to put it in plastic so this is just a thought.

  25. Michelle says

    I was thinking about making some bottles up for Christmas gifts. My concern is how long will these last and how to store them? Thanks!

    • Cass says

      Hi Michelle! If you store the mixture in a dark glass bottle and keep it somewhere cool, it will last long past Christmas. :) Thanks for commenting!

  26. Jana Shaw says

    Ya’ll please don’t put essential oils in plastic! The oils will take the toxins out of the plastic (or styrofoam, etc.) and you will be putting toxins on your skin, or ingesting them if taken orally! Only use glass bottles. The glass bottles sold for essential oils are pretty thick and sturdy and don’t break easily, and I don’t have kids, but I wrap a washcloth around my glass bottles and hold it on with rubber bands, like in the shower in case I do drop it – if it breaks, at least it’s held in the washcloth, but hopefully it won’t break at all. It’s just way too dangerous to put them in plastic!

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