3 Natural Insect Repellents to Keep the Bugs at Bay

Summer has arrived in the Northern Hemisphere, and we aren’t the only ones who got the memo. Insects love summer time as much as we do. But instead of using commercial bug sprays and repellents, deter mosquitoes and other bugs without harming your skin using certain essential oils. Most store bought formulas contain nasty chemicals that are toxic for both you, your family and the environment. Scientific studies are now proving the effectiveness of specific essential oils as a natural alternative. Make your own insect repellent using these 3 essential oils that are all natural, extremely effective and even good for your skin.

Patchouli Essential Oil

Patchouli essential oil has one of the most distinct fragrances of all the essential oils. If you have ever smelled it, you’ll know this alluring musky, earthy aroma.

Patchouli originated in South East Asia and is also most commonly found in India, Malaysia and the Caribbean. This smell has been relished as incense in religious rituals to calm spirit and mind for centuries, and to keep insects away from holy places. It was commonly used as a way to treat bed bugs and repell mosquitoes. The dried leaves of Patchouli were used as packing material to protect Chinese silk and Indian Cashmere from moths during transit.

Patchouli‘s effectiveness against insects has been known for years, yet science is only just catching up. Multiple studies now prove this essential oils’s effectiveness against pesky insects and bites of all kinds. This antibacterial and antifungal oil is strong enough to kills house flies and repels mosquitoes, ants, ticks, cockroaches, and many other insect species.

Lemongrass Essential Oil

Lemongrass essential oil has been used in perfumes, cooking and in therapeutic remedy for centuries. This shrub with its razor sharp leaves and is strong lime-like aroma is found in moist regions of India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and other South-East Asian countries.

Many commercial brands already use lemongrass essential oil as an active ingredient in their insect repellents. Citronella, one of the most widely used terms in natural insect repellent is closely related to Lemongrass. Both are extremely effective at keeping all types of insects at bay.

The strong smell of Lemongrass is hated by insects, and they tend to leave the area as soon as they can. It is highly effective in repelling mosquitoes responsible for diseases like dengue, malaria, and chikungunya.

There is now scientific proof to back this up. Studies show that insects actively avoided areas sprayed with Lemongrass essential oil, compared with the areas that weren’t.

Clove Essential Oil

Clove essential oil comes from the flower buds of a clove tree that can be found in India, Indonesia, and Madagascar. This warming aromatic has powerful therapeutic properties that have been used for centuries. It treats bacterial infections, soothes itching and red skin, and deeply cleanses the pores.

Although pleasing to us, the pungent odour of the Clove is repulsive to pests such as ants, flies and moths. In addition, clove essential oil can actually kill insects on contact, should you wish to do so.

Scientific studies show Clove essential oils to be one of the most effective essential oils in repelling insects, as it has the longest duration. In other words, it lasts the longest.

There are many ways to repell insects using these three essential oils. For a simply recipe, simply add your chosen essential oil to distilled water in a 10 to 1 ratio. Meaning 1 drop essential oil to 10 parts water. Add the solution to a spray bottle and spray it in areas around your house. As well as on your clothes and body, avoiding he face.

You may also like to use an oil burner or diffuser with your chosen oil. Doing this will cause insects to avoid the area.

Try the recipe below for an effective insect repellent that can be applied directly to your skin. Either use one of the three mentioned oils, or a combination of all three.

DIY Bug Spray Recipe


1⁄2 cup of witch hazel and apple cider vinegar

40 drops of Lemongrass/Patchouli/Clove essential oil

Glass spray bottle


1. Add all the ingredients and pour it into the glass spray bottle.

2. Apply it on your body but avoid eyes and mouth

NOTE: Store it in a cool and dark place.

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