DIY Bug Spray

Orkin just released its annual rankings of worst cities for mosquitoes - Atlanta, NYC, Wash D.C., Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Detroit, Phili, Charlotte, and Raleigh.  But let’s face it, mosquitos are everywhere and they are most active when temps are above 80 degrees. I must have a few mosquito SNPs because they seem to flock to me like bees on honey (an annoyingly leave my husband unscathed).  The bites aren't fun, but let’s not forget they can carry deadly diseases like West Nile, encephalitides, Dengue fever and Zika.

I’m not a fan of DEET spray given its potential toxic effects, so I created an awesome all natural bug repellent made with witch hazel and key essential oils.  Essential oils have a much better safety profile than chemical insect repellants and all the oils in my recipe below have been backed by science to repel mosquitos, some even more than DEET.  I just made a fresh batch of this recipe today for my daughter’s camping trip this weekend.

DIY Bug Spray recipe:


2 ounces jojoba oil

2 ounces witch hazel

½ tsp vegetable glycerin (or jojoba oil)

10 drops catnip essential oil

10 drops lemon eucalyptus essential oil

10 drops litsea essential oil

10 drops geranium essential oil

10 drops lemongrass essential oil (or citronella essential oil)


1. Mix all ingredients in a dark 4 oz glass spray bottle.

2. Shake before each use spraying over entire body (avoid eyes) or just clothes.  It’s always wise to test a small patch of skin prior to applying. Homemade essential oil bug sprays need to be reapplied more often than chemical sprays like DEET, but to me it’s well worth it.

*Avoid using insect repellents on children under 3.  When applying on kids, apply to your own hands first, then rub on your child.