Done With Diligence

DIY: Natural Tick & Mosquito Spray Repellent that Works!

Everybody loves summer!  Nobody loves ticks and mosquitos.  And here in Mississippi, we have plenty of both!  To make matters worse, mosquitos LOVE my kids and me.  On a summer night, we can be outside for 10 minutes and get 15 bites…for real!  So, when I tell you that we needed a natural bug spray that actually worked, I’m not kidding!

In addition, we live near lots of wooded areas, and I encourage my children to spend lots of time outside.  Ticks love wooded areas, too.  But obviously I want to do all I can to avoid tick-borne illnesses, such as Lyme disease. 

 My options were using chemical repellents, use a natural commercial bug spray that didn’t work very well, or make just my own bug repellent.  After significant research, I pieced together my own DIY recipe.  And after a few more years of tweaking my bug spray recipe, I finally have a WINNER!  Good news, I’m going to share it with you!

bug spray recipe card

What’s In the Homemade Repellent?

This post is not medical advice. Consider it a conversation between 2 friends. This post also contains affiliate links. You can read more about them in my policies and disclaimers.

bottle of witch hazel

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Witch Hazel– This ingredient acts as an emulsifier to help the oils and other ingredients to blend together well.

bottle of vanilla extract

Vanilla Extract- Vanilla extract is a natural insect repellent, and it smells wonderful!

bottle of coconut oil

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Coconut Oil– This base ingredient is yet another insect repellent.  And this study found that coconut oil worked just as well as DEET products at repelling some bugs, and in some cases, even better than DEET.

bottle of essential oil blend

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Essential Oil Blend “Shield Me” by Plant Therapy– This combination of oils is from their “Kid Safe” line, so I can feel comfortable using it even on my young children.  It contains 100% pure, undiluted essential oils of Citronella, Pink Grapefruit, Bourbon Geranium, Rosalina, and Patchouli.

bottle of murphys

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Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (not to be confused with Lemon Eucalyptus Oil) by Murphy’s– Even the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) have approved Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus as an effective tick repellent (source).  And Murphy’s states that their studies have found it to be effective at repelling ticks for 4-8 hours depending on the type of tick (source), which is great for a camping trip!.  

I did have some concerns about the other ingredients in this product, as the label simply states that the ingredients are Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, 30% and & 70% other. I emailed the company to ask, and they directed me to this statement on their website, “The other 70% of ingredients are deionized water and corn ethanol. These aren’t listed on the bottle due to strict regulations set forth by the EPA that only allow “Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus” to be named. We would love for them to be listed out as well!”

A Few Tips for Making this Homemade Bug Spray

white bottle with bug spray
  • It is easiest to make it in a glass measuring cup. 
  • With 4 kiddos, I always double my recipe!
  • This mist spray bottle is perfect!  It distributes a very fine layer of the repellent spray so that you don’t feel wet and oily after applying.  No need to rub in!
  • Even with the emulsifier, I still give my homemade bug repellent a gentle shake before applying to my kids.
  • For best results, reapply every 2-3 hours.
  • To apply to face and neck, I spray my hands and pat it on.  Pay particular attention t avoid eyes and mouth areas.
  • It might be wise to apply to a small area first to check for allergic reactions, especially to this particular mix of essential oils.  Some oils can cause skin irritation.

Final Thoughts on Natural Bug Repellent

I’m so thankful to find natural alternatives that still allow my family to enjoy the great outdoors during those summer months without fear of insect bites.  And we don’t have to worry about exposure to toxic chemicals that are used in commercial insect repellents.  This recipe provides an easy way to protect them.  The best part is that it smells great!  I often have people ask me what I just sprayed and comment on the pleasant smell.

And if you do find yourself with a tick (I’ll admit, sometimes I forget to spray my kids before they go outside!), you might be interested in my article on how to address tick bites naturally.  I also have an article on homeopathic remedies for summer that addresses mosquito bites.

recipe card for bug spray

Members can download all recipes for free in the Freebies Library!

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