Repel those pesky mosquitoes – naturally!

Photo: Natural Home and Garden – Lemon Balm

With all the recent rains from Tropical Storm Debby my house looked like I lived on the waterfront!  I think it was one of those 100 year storms as I have never seen so much rainwater!  I filled 8 rain-barrels and drained as much standing water as possible with a small pump, but am still coping with some wet soil which the mosquitoes seem to be enjoying.  I have been experimenting with essential oil combinations, instead of DEET products and have found them to work well.

What couldn’t have come at a better time was an article in a recent Natural Home and Garden newsletter with recipes for natural mosquito repellent. A study by the National Park Service found that test groups exposed to DEET reported side effects including nausea, headaches, dizziness, skin irritation, rashes and numb or burning lips. Researchers at Duke University also found that long-term exposure to DEET can kill brain cells and cause behavioral changes in rats.  To read the entire article including clothes to wear to deter mosquitoes click here…  For the short version here’s the recipe:

Repellent Recipe
The following essential oils will naturally repel mosquitoes—for a stronger formula, try mixing several oils together. Experiment to see which oils work best with your body chemistry. Always test essential oils on a small patch of skin before applying liberally, and use extra caution with children. Most essential oils are not recommended for use on children younger than 2.

Essential Oils
• Basil
• Catnip
• Clove
• Citronella
• Eucalyptus
• Garlic
• Geranium
• Lavender
• Lemon Balm
• Myrrh
• Neem
• Palmarosa
• Peppermint
• Pine
• Rosemary

2 1/2 teaspoons total of any combination of mosquito-repelling essential oils
1 cup 190-proof grain alcohol (available in liquor stores)

1. Place ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake vigorously. Transfer to small bottles for storage. To use, rub a small amount on exposed skin or dab on clothing.

2 thoughts on “Repel those pesky mosquitoes – naturally!

  1. For those who don’t have the time to make your own, try Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE) based products. Repel, Cutter and Coleman all have OLE products that can be found at sporting good stores, on-line and at big box stores like Wal-Mart. OLE is registered with the EPA and recommended by the CDC. It is just as effective as 20% DEET products without the side effects and sticky feeling.


  2. A couple more recipes to try…an oil based one and a vinegar based one.

    1. Oil Insect Repellent Recipe:
    10-25 drops essential oil. Try lavender, rose geranium (for ticks), coriander seeds, peppermint, cajeput and citronella
    2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    1 tablespoon aloe vera gel (optional)

    Combine the ingredients in a glass jar; stir to blend. Dab a few drops on your skin or clothing.

    2. Apple Cider Vinegar Insect Repellent Recipe
    25 drops essential oil (see above)
    1/4 cup water or organic apple cider vinegar

    Combine the ingredients in a glass jar. Shake to blend. Dab some on your skin or clothing.

    Read more:


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