DIY Bug Spray Recipe — Bye, Bye Bugs (especially mosquitoes), Scratch Mommy

DIY Bug Spray Recipe – Bye, Bye Bugs (especially mosquitoes)!

Last Updated on February 12, 2020

Looking for a natural DIY bug spray recipe that will not leave you soaked in toxic chemicals (…who needs that. ) AND actually works?

Here is where I would usually go into my spiel about individual ingredients in products that make them bad for us. I think that I can skip that with bug spray (BUT, if you want to know more I tackle toxic bug sprays in this post). We know it’s pretty darn nasty stuff, right? Okay…good.

Now that we have that out of the way, when it comes to bug spray for your body there are two ingredients that the big chemical corporations do not want you to know about. They just so happen to be essential oils (if you need a quick review about essential oils, check out this post).

So, let’s learn a bit more about these two specific essential oils.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree Oil (also known as Melaleuca Oil) is a wonderful essential oil and has been studied quite a bit throughout history. Among other uses for humans, it has antimicrobial, antibiotic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Not only is it healthy and healing (in appropriate doses) for humans, it is toxic to many insects. Woo Who! 12 Not to mention, I think that it smells quite lovely. I use it in many things around my home, even in my handcrafted body sprays and lotions.

Geranium Oil

This essential oil has been shown over hundreds of years to be a strong wound healer. It also holds many of the same properties as Tea Tree Oil, but is also hailed for its ability to keep insects (especially mosquitoes) away. 456

How Do You Make It?

Easy! First, you’ll want to get your hands on a spray bottle (I used a small 3oz travel spray bottle for the following recipe).

Second, you’ll need to locate the following ingredients. Don’t be worried by prices. Essential oils go a loooooong way, so you’ll have plenty of batches you can make from this purchase.

I prefer to purchase the vast majority of my essential oils from Mountain Rose Herbs, BUT I am NOT one who thinks ‘only this company ALWAYS’. I’m also quite fond of Plant Therapy (and they offer very affordable smaller sizes of EOs, which is nice to get started).

Vegetable glycerin. Huh? Non-GMO & ethically-sourced vegetable glycerin plays a part in many of my DIY projects! Having a bottle of this on hand is not only a great idea since you can use it a lot, but it’s also cheap. You can get a wonderful organic, non-GMO sourced vegetable glycerin in my online herbal boutique.

Just as I explained in my recent post Non-Toxic Spray For Pests, vegetable glycerine is a great vessel to help essential oils bind to whatever you spray them on (in this case, you). If you type vegetable glycerine/glycerin into the search bar at the top of my blog you’ll see quite a few other posts using this great ingredient.

Natural Mosquito Repellent

Warmer weather may be coming soon, but are you ready for mosquito season to start? Are you and your loved ones stocking up on bug sprays to avoid the dreadful mosquito bites and tick bites that will inevitably appear on your skin this year?

Have you thought about using a natural mosquito repellent to prevent this year’s skin irritation symptoms due to bug bites? Well, if you’re looking for a natural bug repellent, you’ve come to the right place.

Here we’ll discuss how to make a natural bug spray with pure and natural ingredients like lemon eucalyptus oil, lavender oil, tea tree oil, and much more.

Learn how to create the best natural insect repellent in minutes and protect yourself and your family from nasty diseases like the Zika virus this mosquito season. With our natural bug control tips and recipes, you’ll be mosquito bite free in no time.

Make Your Own Mosquito Repellent

Try these simple solutions to repel mosquitoes and keep them off you for good!

Natural Mosquito Repellent Spray Using Essential Oils

The best part about a natural mosquito repellent spray is that it will hardly ever produce allergic reactions. Also, natural bug repellents have been approved by the EPA, also known as the environmental protection agency, and the CDC, also known as the centers for disease control and prevention.

Homemade Mosquito Repellent Recipe

  • 12 oz bottle of witch hazel
  • 15 drops of citronella essential oil
  • 15 drops of lemongrass oil
  • 10 drops of peppermint essential oil
  • 10 drops of tea tree oil

Grab an empty jar and pour witch hazel and all essential oils inside. Mix the oils well and pour the mixture into a spray bottle using a funnel. Always shake the spray bottle before using it.

Homemade Mosquito Repellent Candle

If you want a homemade mosquito repellent that acts as something other than a spray, you can make your own natural bug repellent candle. This natural alternative will not only be good at repelling mosquitoes, but it will also make your home smell fresh.

Homemade Candle Repellent Recipe

  • 20 drops of rosemary essential oil
  • 8 drops of citronella essential oil
  • 1 Lemon
  • 2 Key limes
  • 4 rosemary sprigs
  • 1 tea light candle
  • 16 ounces of water

Slice the lemon and lime. Place a few slices of each inside a Mason jar. Then, put the rosemary sprigs in the container.

In a separate pot, mix the water with the essential oils and pour it into the Mason jar. Take the tea light candle out of its container and set it on top of the water. Light the candle, and you’re good to go!

Homemade Mosquito Repellent Lotion

If you have dry skin, look into this recipe for a natural repellent to help you avoid those pesky mosquitoes all season.

All-Natural Lotion to Prevent Mosquito Bites

  • 8 drops of tea tree oil
  • 8 drops of lavender oil
  • 8 drops of lemongrass oil
  • 6 drops of citronella oil
  • 6 drops of eucalyptus oil
  • 4 ounces of virgin coconut oil

First, mix all of your essential oils. Add the coconut oil and combine thoroughly. Wait a few minutes until the coconut oil hardens and then you’ll be ready to apply this natural alternative to your skin.

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Using a Mosquito Repellent Essential Oil Mixture in a Nebulizer

If you’re not looking to put a spray or lotion on your skin, you can take your essential oil mixture and use it in a nebulizer machine to scare the mosquitoes away.

Nebulizer Solution Recipe Using Essential Oils

  • 8 drops of citronella oil
  • 8 drops of tea tree oil
  • 8 drops of lavender oil

With this recipe, you can add and subtract drops from the mixture to discover your preferred scent. All three essential oils will shoo the mosquitoes away. Use these natural repellents today at little cost.

Essential Oil Mosquito Spray for Clothing

Some natural mosquito repellent recipes are too strong to apply directly to the skin; instead, apply these mixtures to clothing. It also works well as a natural fly repellent, too.

Mosquito Repellent for Clothing Recipe

  • 30 drops of geranium essential oil
  • 30 drops of citronella essential oil
  • 20 drops of lemon eucalyptus essential oil
  • 20 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 10 drops of rosemary essential oil
  • 1 tablespoon of vodka or rubbing alcohol
  • ½ cup of witch hazel
  • ½ cup of water or vinegar

Start by mixing all the essential oils. Once blended, add the vodka or rubbing alcohol to the mixture and shake it well. Next, pour the witch hazel in and add the water. Shake the mix again.

Always shake before using it as the mix needs to be distributed evenly throughout the solution.

Keep in mind that the essential oils listed above in the recipe are interchangeable with clove oil, lemongrass oil, tea tree oil, cajeput oil, cedar oil, catnip oil, and mint oil, as all ingredients produce the same reaction from mosquitoes.

Dried Herbs Mosquito Spray

Many DIY specialists claim that mosquito sprays made with essential oils are the most potent. Sprays made from dried herbs can produce a similar effect. Also, if you’re on a budget, the dried herbs recipe is the way to go.

Natural Mosquito Repellent Recipe Using Dried Herbs

  • Distilled water
  • Witch hazel or rubbing alcohol
  • Dry herbs

Boil one cup of water and add three to four tablespoons of the dried herbs you select. Some herbs that repel mosquitoes are peppermint, spearmint, lemongrass, lavender, catnip, and citronella. Any mixture will work, but it’s recommended to use at least one mint herb. Throw in some dried cloves to the mix.

Cover the substance and let it sit until cool. Then, strain the herbs out of the mix and add one cup of witch hazel or rubbing alcohol. Store it in a cool place.

Natural Insect Repellent

If you’re looking to keep a variety of insects away this year, the natural insect repellent made with vinegar will do the trick. Fair warning, though, as it will stick when wet, but the smell will subside as it dries away.

Inexpensive Vinegar Insect Repellent Recipe

  • Apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons each of sage, rosemary, lavender, thyme, and mint

Mix 32 ounces of vinegar with all of the dried herbs. Seal the mixture tightly and shake daily for approximately two weeks. After this time, strain the herbs out of the mix and store the substance in spray bottles in a cool place (e.g., refrigerator).

If you’d like to apply this directly to your skin, dilute the recipe with half water. This mixture works well with insects other than mosquitoes, too.

Many people who like to hike in the open woods will apply this to their skin, or bring the right amount of the substance with them, to avoid being noticed by ticks.

Insect Repelling Ideas

Sometimes, the recipes that you find just don’t cut it. That means you need a few extra tips and tricks to get you through.

If you want a mixture that takes nearly seconds to make, try gathering some vanilla extract from your kitchen and combining it with witch hazel and water. Rub on the skin or spray using a spray bottle.

Plant some insect-repelling herbs and mosquito repellent plants in your garden as an easy access route. That way, you can use the active ingredient of your choice when the time comes.

Rub lavender oil on the hot parts of your body (e.g., neck and underarms). Fresh or dried mint leaves offer the same effect.

These tips are useful as home remedies for spiders. Many simple solutions listed above can be turned into ways to get rid of fruit flies naturally, too.

Lemon Eucalyptus Mosquito Repellent

This well-known natural mosquito repellent has been approved by the CDC and has been encouraged by your PMD, or your primary medical doctor, for decades. The oil of lemon eucalyptus provides almost 100% protection from mosquitoes.

Lemon Eucalyptus Mosquito Repellent Recipe

  • 1 part lemon eucalyptus oil
  • 10 parts witch hazel or sunflower oil

Mix and apply to skin. Researchers from Florida do not encourage the application of this substance to children three years of age and younger.

Lavender Mosquito Repellent

The fragrance that lavender produces acts as a natural mosquito repellent. Lavender is also good for calming and soothing your skin during all times of the year.

If you’re trying to get those pesky mosquitoes to stay away from your skin, try applying the oil to bite-sensitive areas, like your ankles and arms. Then, take a cloth with lavender oil on it and apply lightly to other exposed areas of the body.

Cinnamon Oil Mosquito Repellent

Cinnamon spices up some foods, like oatmeal and rice pudding (fortunately, this makes the substance FDA approved). That’s not even the best part, though! Cinnamon oil can help kill off mosquito eggs, too.

Cinnamon Oil Mosquito Repellent

  • 24 drops cinnamon oil
  • 4 ounces of water

Mix and shake it up. Try spraying it onto your skin, clothing, plants, and outdoor furniture for the best effect. Don’t make the solution too concentrated, though, as this could irritate the skin.

Thyme Oil Mosquito Repellent

If you’re looking to protect yourself against malarial mosquitoes, stick to using thyme oil in your mosquito fighting recipes. For additional protection against those annoying insects, try throwing some fresh thyme into a bonfire, as this will make the little critters stay away for up to ninety minutes.

All Natural Mosquito Spray using Thyme

  • 5 drops of thyme oil
  • 2 ounces of water
  • Spray bottle

Mix the two ingredients and start spraying away.

Greek Catnip Mosquito Repellent

The white and pink flowers that grow to produce Greek catnip oil are excellent at acting as natural repellents. Once extracted from the plant, the oil is proven to be extremely valuable in many natural mosquito repellent recipes. The mixture, once applied, can last anywhere from two to three hours.

Researchers from Iowa found in recent studies that catnip can be up to ten times more effective than DEET at repelling mosquitoes, making this DEET-free substance the perfect go-to spray.

Soybean Oil Mosquito Repellent

Though soybean oil is not a primary ingredient found in most natural mosquito repellents, it is still an excellent additive to make the mixture more potent. Adding this ingredient to homemade blends that already have lemongrass oil present will almost double your exposure protection.

Some researchers say that homemade recipes including both soybean oil and lemongrass oil have proven to protect against numerous species of mosquitoes.

Neem Oil Mosquito Repellent

Neem oil is a natural alternative, but some researchers have claimed that the product does not work as well as previously listed options do. United States research aside, Ethiopia found that neem oil provides a 70% protection rate for approximately three hours.

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Keep in mind, this essential oil is not approved by federal standards as a topical applicant, as it can actively irritate the skin depending on the person. The FDA warns that if you’re traveling to another country that’s prone to mosquito-causing diseases, you should probably use more than just a neem oil mosquito repellent.

Using Baking Soda to Trap Mosquitoes

Most mosquito repellents are made to mask your scent and distract mosquitoes from what they’re genuinely looking to find. However, there is another alternative method: create a carbon dioxide trap for the critters.

Carbon Dioxide Trap Recipe for Mosquitoes

  • ¼ cup of baking soda
  • 1 cup vinegar

Grab a bottle and cut it in half; set the top half of the container to the side. Any size spray bottle will work. Pour the baking soda into the bottle and invert the top of the container so that it forms into a funnel. Place this over the bottom of the bottle and tape it together.

Pour one cup of vinegar into the container. Once the two ingredients combine, they’ll start to bubble and release carbon dioxide. This solution attracts mosquitoes, but once they dive into the liquid, they’ll find themselves trapped and will eventually die.

This solution doesn’t always have to be in a bottle to work, though that is the best way to trick the mosquitoes. There are still more tips and tricks regarding baking soda on plants that you can learn.

How to Use Garlic to Repel Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes hate garlic. That means you can grow it in the backyard, incorporate it into your food, or take it in pill form; either way, mosquitoes will not want to be around you once they sense the substance is near you or in you. In other words, the more you eat or have around you, the less likely you’ll be to attract the pesky insects.

Keep this food ingredient handy. Not only will it help you in the insect department, but it also has several health benefits.

Carrier Oils in Mosquito Repellents

Many natural mosquito repellents require essential oils to ward off the nasty insects. However, when essential oils are at full strength, they have the opportunity to severely irritate certain areas of the skin, especially if you’re super sensitive to certain ingredients.

That’s where carrier oils play their part in recipes. A carrier oil is better known as base oil or vegetable oil.

They’re typically used to dilute concentrated solutions used in massages and aromatherapy, but the same facts pertain to mosquito repellent recipes. As such oils are FDA approved, they will be able to reduce skin reactions potentially caused by essential oils.

Using Black Pepper to Ward off Mosquitoes

One of the most well-known kitchen spices can help in your fight against mosquito attacks, and that’s black pepper. There are a couple of ways you can use black pepper: Sprinkle the spice around you and on your clothes to distract mosquitoes or purchase black pepper oil and gently rub it on exposed areas of the skin.

Be aware that severe skin irritation symptoms may occur when using black pepper oil. Talk to a specialist before trying this or stick with sprinkling black pepper around you.

Treating a Mosquito Bite

Even if you’ve created the perfect natural mosquito repellent with ingredients around the house, you’re still susceptible to getting a few bites here and there, especially if the solution has worn off and you’ve forgotten to re-apply it. If that’s the case, you’ll want to know how to treat a mosquito bite.

Try rubbing some apple cider vinegar directly onto the bite. Also, if you rub a slice of raw onion or fresh garlic onto the site of the bite, you’ll feel relief from the itchiness.

If your bites get severe, head to your doctor as soon as you can and take note of all signs and symptoms that start to occur.

Mosquitoes can pose a dangerous threat if they’re carrying a virus around with them. That’s why it’s best to prepare yourself before they start attacking. Use our natural mosquito repellent recipes devised to use non-toxic ingredients from around the house to better prepare yourself and your loved ones.

We hope you did like our homemade mosquito repellent recipes and tips. Please share these pest control ideas on Facebook or Pinterest with your friends and family.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

You only need 2 ingredients for homemade vanilla extract: vanilla beans and vodka. Let the vanilla beans infuse the vodka for as little as 8 weeks, but for optimal flavor, wait at least 6-12 months before using. Homemade vanilla is more cost efficient than store-bought options.

Vanilla extract is an ingredient in many of our baked goods. This common addition actually carries big weight– 1 teaspoon completely transforms a good dessert into a great dessert. You can’t make a few staples like vanilla cake, vanilla cupcakes, or vanilla buttercream without it.

A dear reader named Jill emailed me last year and said that once she began making her own vanilla extract, her baked goods tasted even better than before. She told me the secrets are to use extra vanilla beans and let the extract sit for at least 6 months before using.

I never thought to publish a post about homemade vanilla extract because it’s actually pretty simple. But Jill’s words were enough to convince me that all bakers should know that a cheaper AND better tasting vanilla extract is only 2 ingredients away.

Why Make Homemade Vanilla Extract?

Why make vanilla extract when you can just buy it from the store? Good question. With the price of vanilla constantly fluctuating, it’s very cost efficient to make your own. Plus, you can control the strength of its flavor. This is KEY because many pricey store-bought options lack the essential depth of flavor that makes good vanilla… good vanilla. This is either because the vanilla extract is imitation and made with artificial or synthetic ingredients or brands cut back on the amount of real vanilla in each bottle. You’re not paying for good vanilla, you’re paying for the convenience of weak bottled vanilla.

(By the way, last year I was part of a blind taste test of different store-bought pure vanillas and McCormick won by a landslide. It was the group’s top choice in both flavor and aroma.)

If you open a bottle of some store-bought vanilla extracts and a bottle of homemade vanilla, you will immediately smell the difference. And this difference directly transfers into your homemade baked goods.

Homemade Vanilla Extract: Video Tutorial

What You Need for Homemade Vanilla Extract

All you’re doing is pouring alcohol over split vanilla beans and letting the concoction age over time. Give it a shake every now and then. It’s that easy.

  1. Vanilla Beans: You can find vanilla beans at most major grocery stores in the spice aisle. If you can’t locate them, try purchasing them online. I highly recommend these Madagascar vanilla beans, these Tahitian vanilla beans, or these Tahitian vanilla beans. (Note that each are different quantities.) I’ve made vanilla with them all. The beans are a generous size, nice and plump, high quality, and perfect for homemade vanilla. Vanilla beans labeled “Grade B” are specifically sold for extracting purposes, but I’ve made vanilla with Grade A beans and it tastes great. Use either.
  2. 80 proof Alcohol: Vanilla extract is most commonly made from vodka, but you can use bourbon, brandy, or rum instead. I usually use vodka, but the one bottle of bourbon vanilla I made 7 months ago is DIVINE. No need to splurge on expensive alcohol. This is probably the only time someone will tell you to buy the cheap stuff!! All the vanilla’s flavor is from the vanilla beans, so spend your money on those. Avoid flavored vodkas as they often contain artificial flavors, which negates the purpose of making your own pure vanilla.
  3. Glass Bottles or Jars with Tight Seal: I recommend 8 ounce bottles. These bottles have a convenient swing top with a very tight seal. Great for gifting!
  4. Funnel: A funnel is optional, but it makes pouring 100x quicker and easier. (These funnels collapse, so they’re great for storage.)
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Vanilla beans are expensive, but 5-6 of them make an entire CUP (8 ounces) of vanilla extract and you can reuse the beans. Compare that to $4 for 1 ounce of store-bought extract.

Non-alcoholic version? Pure extracts are made from alcohol because it’s the easiest way to extract the flavor out of the food. I’ve never made vanilla extract with a nonalcoholic alternative, but there are a few tutorials online if you give it a quick search.

Single-Fold Vs Double-Fold Vanilla Extract

Most store-bought vanilla extracts are what’s known as single-fold. Single-fold vanillas are weaker and to make your own, you need about 4 vanilla beans per 8 ounces of alcohol. I prefer a stronger vanilla so the homemade flavor is more prominent in desserts. Strong vanilla is known as double-fold and it’s pretty pricey because it requires a lot of vanilla beans. Since double-fold can get expensive, I opt for about 5-6 vanilla beans per 8 ounces of alcohol. This is the best balance of taste and price.

Confused about which type of vanilla bean to buy?

  • Madagascar Vanilla – very common and has a creamy and rich flavor
  • Mexican Vanilla – has a darker, almost smoky flavor
  • Tahitian Vanilla – also very common and has a rich floral flavor

Any are great choices for your vanilla extract.

Wait 6-12 Months

The only things you need to remember about homemade vanilla extract are ratio and time. The ratio of vanilla beans per ounces of alcohol is imperative, but so is the amount of time the vanilla infuses the alcohol. We discussed ratio above, so let’s chat about how long to infuse the vanilla. Homemade vanilla extract tastes better and becomes darker in color the longer it sits. This means we need to practice our patience and luckily with an almost 2 year old, I have patience in my back pocket at all times. The wait is worth it, though. Make some today and use it 6 months from now. You’ll be even happier when a full year has past. 12+ month homemade vanilla is incredible!!

Store the infusing vanilla out of direct sunlight and give it a shake once per week.

Want to know the best part of all? You can continuously add more alcohol to the bottle as you use it. See the recipe instructions below. This is truly the gift that keeps on giving!

Free Printable Vanilla Extract Labels

Because everyone loves a cute accessory, I asked my dear friend Jess to design adorable labels for the vanilla extract bottles. So excited to share these with you.

Print out the labels on sticker adhesive paper, then cut out the circles. Peel off the labels and stick on your vanilla extract bottles. The labels are obviously optional, but they’re a cute addition especially if you plan to gift the vanilla to others.

I gifted my sister-in-law this very bottle yesterday for her birthday! 🙂

And one last thing… as you wait for your vanilla to infuse, here are hundreds of recipes using vanilla extract that you can browse. Lots to look forward to!

Homemade Vanilla Extract

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup
  • Category: Spice
  • Method: Mixing
  • Cuisine: American


Let the vanilla beans infuse the vodka for as little as 8 weeks, but for optimal flavor, wait at least 6-12 months before using.


  • 5 – 6 vanilla beans
  • 1 cup ( 8 ounce s; 240ml) 80 proof vodka (or bourbon, brandy, or even rum)
  • 8 ounce bottle or jar with a tight seal, washed & dried


  1. Using a sharp knife, slit the vanilla beans so the beans are exposed. No need to completely split the bean in half, just slit down the middle. If the length of the vanilla beans don’t fit into your bottle or jar, cut the vanilla beans into smaller pieces. Place beans into bottle or jar.
  2. Pour vodka on top. A funnel helps. Use a little extra vodka, if needed, so the beans are fully submerged. Shake a few times.
  3. Store vanilla at room temperature out of direct sunlight. Shake about once per week or once every couple weeks. Vanilla can be ready to use in as little as 8 weeks, but I recommend at least 6 months for optimal flavor. 12+ months is great!
  4. As you begin to use your vanilla, you can refill with a little vodka each time. Give it a shake after you refill and give it a shake before each use, too. If you’re gifting the vanilla or if you don’t have any more alcohol to refill, remove the beans completely after first use. The beans will become a little slimy if they aren’t almost fully submerged.
  5. Unused aged vanilla extract (with the beans fully submerged) will last several years. If it still smells good, it’s still good to use! Aged extract without the beans will last indefinitely. Once you begin using the vanilla and adding more alcohol after each use, the beans will eventually need to be replaced. It’s hard to give a specific amount of time as some may use (and refill) the vanilla more quickly than others. After about 1 year of frequent use and refilling, you will you find the vanilla flavor less intense. Simply remove old beans, add fresh beans, shake, and continue to use/refill.


  1. Seeds: Since the vanilla beans are exposed (slit open), there will be vanilla bean seeds in the bottle and therefore in your baked good. They add even more wonderful flavor!
  2. Use the same amount of homemade vanilla extract as you would store-bought in recipes.
  3. Gifting: I usually remove the beans if I’m gifting the bottle, that way the gift recipient isn’t responsible for refilling with more alcohol and the beans don’t go to waste. (You can reuse the beans for a new bottle.) However, if it’s been less than 6 months, I recommend gifting with the beans in the bottle because there’s still lots of flavor in there! Tell the gift recipient to remove the beans once he/she begins using the vanilla.
  4. Alcohol: If baking gluten free, use certified gluten free alcohol. Avoid flavored vodkas as they often contain artificial flavors, which negates the purpose of making your own pure vanilla.

Keywords: vanilla

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