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Indoor, Outdoor All-Around Bug Spray {Essential Oil}

We went through a HORRIBLE time of bugs.  I tried a ton of commercial “kid safe things” before I finally found something that worked!  I scoured the internet finding natural repellents, including diatomaceous earth.  Then I compiled the list of the essential oils that would do the job.

Bug Spray with essential oils

Bug repelling essential oils include Citronella, Catnip, Eucalyptus, Lemongrass, Melaleuca, Clove, Mint, Rosemary, Thyme, Basil and quite a few others and Neem, which isn’t really an essential oil – but these are what I have used, in roughly that order of effectiveness.  Most importantly is to use citronella for about 40% of your oil mixture and a tiny bit of neem – then fill out the rest with what you have.

Today I did a six-ounce bottle and used every oil I had listed above with vodka.  I am hoping this lasts us through our month long summer trip.  I will use it to spray down the beds and clothing when there is potential for bites.  For this I use the “cheaper” oils – for the most part (these are food grade, but better safe than sorry).  Theoretically none of the oils are going directly on skin, so I don’t want to use the nice stuff that is definitely skin and ingestion safe. If you wanted to make one to use on the skin, you can do the same concoction but with the higher quality oils.

For 3oz of distilled water or witch hazel use about 40 drops of essential oil, place in spray bottle, shake and have at it.  We usually use this up so fast I just use a plastic bottle, but you could use a glass one.  For example the mixture I use most is:

  • 3oz Vodka or Witch Hazel/Distilled Water combo
  • 20 drops Citronella Essential Oil
  • 10 Eucalyptus Essential Oil
  • 10 Catnip Essential Oil
  • 5 Thyme Essential Oil
  • 3 Neem Oil

I say most because it is good to change things up – just so the bugs don’t get used to it.  Also, I used to actually sit there and count – now I pretty much just eye ball it by parts. I usually keep a bottle filled with the oil mixture and then add it to water as needed so I don’t have to mix it up so much during high pest time.

I spray it in my kids room and on their beds during the warmer months to keep the bugs at bay.  I’ve also sprayed down their playhouse as well as their clothes and bodies when I know they are going to be playing outside for a while.  You can also add some lavender if the smell really bothers them, but we like the Eucalyptus smell.

Additionally, you could also grow any of the oils listed in their plant form around your home, especially near windows and other access points, to help keep those little buggers (pun intended) away!

If you already have bite marked children, hop over to see how we’ve healed our kiddos.

What do you do to keep your home pest free?


  1. says

    I love you and I will hug you one day (not just because of this post but it's has added to the many reasons why I want to give you a big ole girlfriend hug!)

    We are headed to Delaware next week and the buys are horrible most days. Neem, Catnip, Thyme and Witch hazel are now on my shopping list!!

  2. Raquel says

    Sounds amazing! Is this safe for homes with cats and dogs? Thank you! Raquel

    • says

      Yes, i just wouldn’t use it ON them. I have heard mixed things about EOs when it comes to cats especially. My mom just sprayed down the room she is staying in while she is in town with us – so our house is smelling very anti-bug ;)

  3. Lily says

    Why is witch hazel and distilled water mixed together? Is it okay if I just use witch hazel as a standalone carrier base (no distilled water or glycerin, just the witch hazel by itself)?

    • says

      The witch hazel helps carry and bind to the oils (as does an alcohol) the water is just cheaper ;) The last time I made it I just used all vodka.



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