DIY Insect Repellent with Essential Oils and Other Natural Ingredients

By James Barton •  Updated: 07/28/18 •  6 min read

The number of diseases contracted from a single bite of an insect, such as mosquitos, is a lot. These diseases can make you feel very sick and the most unfortunate is, they can be fatal. There are a lot of insect repellents sold in supermarkets and pharmacies; however, they contain DEET. DEET is a chemical that is harmful with too much exposure which is why it’s better to make your own DIY insect repellent made from natural and nontoxic ingredients.

Diseases That You Can Get from Insect Bites

As mentioned, bugs and insects carry of a lot of diseases so here are some of the most common ones.

Dengue Fever

This disease that is contracted from a mosquito bite can be deadly if the person who has this is not given medical attention right away. Some of its symptoms are an on and off high fever, rashes and nausea.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is caused by bacteria that is spread by ticks. The symptoms of this infectious disease can appear after days or months of getting bitten. It starts with a red rash and when left untreated, it could lead to serious complications like neurological problems.


Malaria is caused by a parasite carried by mosquitoes and transferred into humans through a mosquito bite. Its symptoms are fever, headache, and joint pain. This can also cause death when the patient is left untreated.

Zika Fever

Zika fever is another disease transmitted through a mosquito bite. There were no reports of death for patients infected with the Zika virus but mothers who get infected deliver a baby that has birth defects.

DIY Insect Repellent Recipes You Can Make at Home

Commercial insect repellants made of chemicals is not only your option to keep those bugs away. Moreover, it is important to know how to make a DIY insect repellent so that you are ready in the event of a survival situation in an unfamiliar place. Here are some recipes that are easy to make and made from safe ingredients.

Recipe 1

What you will need:


Put all the ingredients in the spray bottle and shake well. Spray on all of your exposed areas of your body as often as needed and make sure to shake before you spray it on.

Recipe 2

What you will need:


Put vodka or witch hazel in the spray bottle then add oils. Shake well to combine all of the ingredients. Spray on to skin as often as needed.

Recipe 3

What you will need:


Put lavender oil, vanilla extract and lemon juice in the spray bottle. Shake well to combine. Then, add distilled water and give it another shake to combine all of the ingredients. Spray on skin or clothing as often as needed.

Recipe 4

What you will need:


Put the geranium oil, tea tree oil and vegetable glycerin first in the spray bottle. Add distilled water until the bottle is almost full. Shake the bottle to combine all the ingredients together. Spray on your skin as often as needed and don’t forget to shake before you apply it on your skin.

Recipe 5

What you will need:


Pour enough boiling water to the basil leaves in a pot and let it steep overnight. Remove the basil leaves and squeeze excess water. Pour the basil water into the spray bottle but don’t fill it up completely. Then, add some vodka until the bottle is almost full. Shake well. Spray as often as needed on skin. This is also a good room spray to keep mosquitoes away.

Note: All oils mentioned in the recipes are essential oils.

Plants That Naturally Repel Bugs

Knowing which plants that repel insects is equally important so that in case you forget to bring your DIY insect repellent, you can find plants that you can use to keep mosquitos and bugs away. Also, you may want to grow these plants in your home because they are going to be really helpful in keeping your home bug-free.


Lavender Repels Insects

Lavender Repels Insects

Lavender is known for its beautiful smell that’s why this is often used in perfumes. In spite of its sweet smell and beautiful color, insects like moths, mosquitos and flies hate it. You can hang sprigs of lavender in entry ways so you can keep unwanted insects away. You can also get a few of its buds and rub it in between your fingers to release the oil then, wipe it on your clothes or skin.


Lemongrass is known as a great ingredient in cooking but actually, this plant is rich in citronella oil which is known to repel mosquitoes. Plant this in your garden to keep mosquitos away and at the same time, you readily have the ingredient in case you will need it for your cooking.


Basil is a great herb and we often use this in pasta dishes. The smell of basil keeps mosquitoes and flies away. You may put a bunch of this in a small vase with water in places where you think mosquitos and flies might get in.


Similar to basil, mosquitos hate the smell of rosemary. Other bugs also don’t like rosemary that’s why this is also a natural insecticide for vegetable plants. Gardeners often plant this with their vegetables to keep pests away.

Final Words

The recipes you could make using essential oils, herbs and other natural ingredients are limitless. There are other recipes that you will find on the internet aside from the ones mentioned. If you are really into DIY, you can even formulate your own. These DIY insect repellent recipes are great because they are safe for babies, children, and adults. This is also a great addition to keep in your bug out bag.

James Barton

James Barton

Hi, I'm James. I am the founder and main editor for The Survival Corps. I have been a part of the survival and prepping community since my mid 30's as I downsized and started to prepare to be self sufficient in a time of crisis.