Homemade Bug Spray

It is so easy to make your own effective bug spray. This recipe will be for a bulk quart size jar, so you will have plenty of chemical-free bug repellant to share with friends and family.

First, let’s talk a bit about why the commercial bug repellants containing DEET (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide) are so harmful. DEET is a known neurotoxin .

DEET may cause anything from skin rashes, nausea, headaches, chest pain, and even seizures when applied topically to the skin.  Children, elderly, and those with compromised immune systems are at most risk for experiencing symptoms of toxicity from the use of DEET. This neurotoxin also affects aquatic, bird, and other wildlife.

We are surrounded by natural things in this world that are safe to apply topically and do not harm our environments. Things that are extremely aromatic in nature, tend to be great deterrents of pest. We even make simple tea sprays of mint to treat different pests on plants in our garden. You can put a few drops of mint on cotton balls and place in corners of your house to deter spiders too.


Here’s how you can make an effective, safe, and beyond natural bug spray.


  1. Hand full each of fresh mint, catnip, and lavender from the garden. If you do not have access to fresh herbs, you can use 2 Tbsp. each of dried mint, catnip, and lavender.
  2. 3/4-quart boiling water
  3. Essential oils of Cedarwood, Lavender, or Clove. See below for other essential oil options that are bug repellent.
  4. ¼ cup Alcohol (Vodka or 190% proof Cane)
  5. ¼ cup Witch hazel
  6. 1-2 Tbsp. Aloe vera juice or glycerin
  7. 2 Tbsp. of Neem oil if Ticks are an issue (optional)
  8. Small spray bottles of choice for bottling



  1. Place herbs in a quart size mason jar and pour the boiling water on top. Place lid on the mason jar and allow it to steep for several hours until it cools.
  2. Strain the herbs and keep the strong infusion in another quart-sized mason jar.
  3. Add alcohol, witch hazel, aloe or glycerin, and neem if using

*Alcohol acts as a natural preservative

*Witch Hazel acts as a humectant to help the natural bug spray stick to your skin, without the sticky feeling

*Aloe or Glycerin prevents the skin from drying out and further supports sensitive skin types

* Neem oil is a natural deterrent for ticks

  1. This is your bulk base of bug repellant. You can fill your small spray bottles at this time. (1oz, 2oz, 4oz, ect)
  2. This is the step that you will add your bug repellant essential oils. I personally do not enjoy the smell of citronella, so I lean more towards Cedarwood, Lavender, and Clove which work great. You will add 7 drops per ounce of essential oils total. So, if you have a 4 oz spray bottle, you will add 28 drops of essential oils total. (example: 12 drops Cedarwood, 12 drops Lavender, 4 drops Clove)
  3. Secure the lid to your spray bottle, add a label, and be sure to share it with friends and family!
  4. This bug spray is shelf-stable for 1 year.

     Other Essential Oils to Consider For Bug Repellent










    And many more….

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