Thrifty Tip: Homemade Bug Repellent

Posted on June 14th, 2013 by Discount Debbie


It’s that time of year. Bug season. Oh, I mean, summer 😉 I hate bugs, especially mosquitoes, which ought to be the state bird in my neck of the woods. While I hate those little critters, I get nervous about using dangerous chemicals around the house, especially around the children. So, this summer, I’ve decided to do something a little different. I’m making homemade bug repellent. I’ll tell you that I haven’t tested it yet. But, I’m getting recipes from people who have. And, I thought I’d share them with you in case you have the same concerns about bugs and commercial bug repellent.

Recipe #1. This is supposed to be a fantastic bug repellent. However, pregnant and nursing moms won’t be able to use this one because of the catnip oil. But, if you are not pregnant and not nursing, here’s the recipe you want.

    • 8 oz apple cider vinegar, witch hazel, or vodka* OR a dry oil such as jojoba
    • 15 drops lemongrass essential oil (which can also be used to open up sinus and breathing passages, soothe torn or strained ligaments/tendons, heal ringworm, add shine and lustre to damaged hair, and as calming massage oil)
    • 15 drops eucalyptus essential oil
    • 15 drops lemon essential oil
    • 15 drops citronella essential oil
    • 15 drops catnip essential oils (studies have shown catnip to be 10x more effective than DEET)

Recipe #2. Safe for pregnant (after first trimester) and nursing moms.

      • 8 oz apple cider vinegar, witch hazel, or vodka* OR a dry oil such as jojoba
      • 60 drops geranium or lemon essential oil

Notes: This formula contains oils which are generally considered safe for children and pregnant/breastfeeding women. However, depending on the age of your child they may need to be diluted.

Recipe #3

      • 8 oz apple cider vinegar, witch hazel, or vodka* OR a dry oil such as jojoba
      • 45 drops of peppermint oil – It’s supposed to be very effective and smell fabulous (note: avoid if you have epilepsy or are pregnant)
      • 15 drops lemon oil (or rose geranium oil to repel ticks)


Mix ingredients in a spray bottle and apply liberally. Store in the fridge when not in use.


How do you keep the bugs away during the summer?

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