How to Use Essential Oils as Insect Repellents?
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How to Use Essential Oils as Insect Repellents?

In the past few years, essential oils have seen a popularity boom like never before. Everywhere you go, you can see essential oils being mentioned or recommended. People are using essential oils for health ailments, aromatherapy, spiritual practices, skin care, and even pest repellent. In fact, I get dozens of request every day to write an article all about using essential oils for insect repellent. Today, we’re going to address essential oils for pest repellent.

So, how do you use essential oils as insect repellents? Buy the purest grade oils you can find, meaning they are without any artificial fillers. Essential oils can be mixed oils with other ingredients to make a homemade spray. You can also make an insecticide spray using the dried herbs that essential oils are made from. Essential oils can be used as relief for existing bug bites, too.

If you are still not sure about how to use essential oils as insect repellents, that’s okay! Today, I am going to show you everything that I know about using essential oils to keep insects away. Keep reading to learn more about essential oils as insecticides, including some product recommendations I’ve listed for you.

Are Essential Oils Safe?

When choosing an insecticide, people usually want to know first how safe it is. You want to make sure that insecticide deters insects, but that it isn’t toxic to you, your family, your pets, or other people or animals. So naturally, you may be wondering how safe essential oils are for use as insect repellents.

Most essential oils are actually completely safe, which is part of why their use is so popular. However, research each individual oil before buying it. Some are not safe for pets, and some should not be kept within reach of children. And most essential oils should not be consumed orally. As with any insecticide, take all safety precautions when using essential oils. Do not get any oils in your eyes, nose, or mouth.

Think twice about using tea tree oil if you have pets. This is because tea tree oil is very unsafe for most pets, such as cats and dogs. And if you have small pets such as hamsters, mice, or other rodents, you should not spray or use any essential oils around them. You should also be cautious around babies since some oils cannot be used around children under the age of 6 months. 

11 Best Essential Oils That Repel Insects Naturally?

There are a variety of essential oils that you can find for sale. However, that doesn’t mean that every single essential oil out there can be effectively used as an insecticide. And you don’t want to spend money on something that isn’t going to do what you want it to do, right?

Here are some essential oils that are commonly used as insecticides:

Citronella oil

Citronella is very popular for repelling insects, and it can be found in a lot of natural insecticides. Some of the insects repelled by citronella include mosquitoes, flies, and other insects. (see this oil here)

Peppermint oil

Peppermint is a very pleasing smell to humans, but incredibly repulsive to a variety of insects including mosquitoes, spiders, flies, ants, fleas, and even mice if you have a rodent problem. (this oil here is really good)

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is perfect for repelling pests if you are infested with ants, spiders, mosquitoes, fleas, lice, and ticks. Do not use tea tree oil around your pets such as cats or dogs. (see this oil here)

Lavender oil

Lavender is well known for its’ presence in many soaps and skin care products. But it is also an excellent way to deter pests such as fleas, flies, and black beetles. (see this oil here)

Lemongrass oil

If fruit flies are your problem, you should consider trying some Lemongrass oil. Lemongrass has many uses, and it will also easily repel other varieties of flies, fleas, mosquitoes, and even some forms of bacteria. (we can recommend this one here)

Basil oil

Basil is delicious in a lot of recipes, but it is incredibly offensive to insects such as stink bugs and many varieties of stinging bugs. Basil oil is very effective if mixed in a spray bottle with apple cider vinegar. (take a look at this effective basil oil here)

Catnip oil

Catnip has been made popular by the effect that it has on felines, but did you know that essential oil made from catnip can be effectively used to repel cockroaches and mosquitoes?

Thyme oil

Thyme can be wonderful for use in cooking, and also for effectively repelling insects such as mosquitoes and whiteflies. (here is one affordable and effective thyme oil)

Mint oil

Mint is incredibly effective for repelling a variety of pests, including mosquitoes, flies, ants, and more. You can also try adding mint plants to your garden in order to keep bugs at bay from the outside of your home.

Geranium oil

Geranium oil makes a good repellent if you are dealing with mosquitoes, and a variety of other insects. You can also try adding some geraniums to your garden to help repel pests outside from coming inside. (this one here is well recommended)

Cedarwood oil

Cedarwood oil is a good way to repel ants, beetles, and moths. It also works well in a mixture with many other types of essential oils. (this cedarwood oil here is excellent)

While the above are certain essential oils that I have decided to highlight, they are only a few of the many that you can use in an insecticide mixture. You can also consider oils such as Eucalyptus, sage, orange, rosemary, oregano, and others. There is an unlimited amount of essential oils in the market place for you to choose from, and each of them has different practical uses.

How to Use Essential Oils as Insect Repellents?

When people choose insecticides, many are choosing to not deal with foul chemical smells, synthetic products, and complicated application procedures. More and more people also want to make homemade solutions instead of hiring a pricey exterminator. This is part of why essential oils have become popular as insect repellents.

And fortunately, essential oils have a reputation for being effective, easy-to-use, and relatively easy to afford, as well. Since they are growing in popularity, more grocery stores and specialty shops are starting to offer them. This means that you will have a better chance of finding whatever oils you want with ease.

One important thing I have to tell you about homemade and DIY insecticides is that you should strongly consider hiring a professional exterminator if your infestation is severe. In the case of severe insect infestations, essential oils may not be at all effective. You should consider using them mostly for mild infestations, or to prevent insects from coming in your home before an infestation even begins.

Effective Methods for Using Essential Oils

Since you know more about them, are you interested in using essential oils as insect repellents? Now, I’m going to show you a few methods to use them effectively. You can also use more than one of these methods at once for maximum pest repellent results.

Buy Pure, Organic Essential Oils

You don’t want to get any essential oils that have added synthetic chemicals. This may make your oils both dangerous and ineffective.

  • Check the label on the essential oil bottle before purchasing.
  • You should also look up the reputation and manufacturing process of the individual brand that you are considering purchasing.

If you are purchasing essential oils with the intent to use them as a body spray or apply them to your skin, you must realize that added synthetic ingredients may cause significant skin irritation. They also may cause allergy symptoms in some people. This is why you must only buy essential oils that are completely pure.

You also want to make sure that the essential oils you’re buying are completely authentic. You actually want oils made from the plant product they are based on and not a general oil that simply smells like Citronella, Lavender, or Basil. You want essential oils that are made out of Citronella, Lavender, Basil, or other herbs.

Use Essential Oils to Make a Homemade Spray

One of the easiest ways to apply essential oils as an insecticide is by mixing a little bit of oil with other ingredients, diluting them in water, and pouring them into a spray bottle. You can also use sprays like this outside of your home, as well.

Here are some spray ideas you can make with essential oils:

  • Fill a spray bottle with water, and then place a few drops of the essential oil of your choice. Shake the bottle thoroughly before each application
  • Instead of water, you can try mixing a few different types of essential oils in a spray bottle with witch hazel. Make sure the witch hazel you are purchasing does not contain any alcohol, parabens, or other potentially toxic chemicals.
  • Mix a variety of essential oils with neem oil and distilled water to make a good insect spray. After all, neem oil is very good at repelling a variety of insects, and it has been used as an insect repellent for years.

Generally, it is best to mix essential oils with water or something else to dilute them when you are making a spray. This is because oil by itself can be very thick, and this can make it hard for you to spray it directly on any area.

Some oils are also less strong and pungent if they are effectively diluted. This is important because some undiluted essential oils in large quantities may produce an overwhelming smell to some people.

Remember when you are spraying anything with essential oils to keep your eyes, nose, and mouth protected during application!

Whole Leaves and Herbs are Effective, too!

What if instead of using basil oil, you want to make a spray from whole basil leaves? Or you want to grind up your own lavender flowers instead of buying an oil already made from them? I know that a lot of my readers enjoy making natural products completely from scratch.

  • Identify what insect you want to repel, and purchase the dry plant product that has a good reputation for repelling that type of insect.
  • Then, crush up the dry plant product, soak it in water or vodka for a few days
  • After that strain the plant material from the liquid.
  • You can then put the liquid in a spray bottle and spray it around your home.

Use Essential Oils for a Body Spray

Are you looking for a simple way to keep mosquitoes and flies off of your skin when you are outside in the summer? You’ll be happy to know that you can safely rub essential oils on yourself to repel insects.

You can also make your own insect spray with essential oils to spray on yourself. You’ll also be pleasantly surprised to find out that many manufacturers make body sprays and soaps made from essential oils, which are also effective at repelling biting and stinging insects.

Remember that certain oils, like citronella, have to be incredibly diluted before you can safely apply them to human skin. You can also dilute lavender oil with olive oil, and then safely apply it to the skin with a 50/50 mixture. There are also a variety of recipes online for making skin lotions from essential oils, which can also help repel bugs.

  • Try mixing up a solution of witch hazel, vodka, and essential oils to make a body spray.
  • This will help keep the insects from biting you while you are sitting outside, hiking, or going for a walk.
  • You should not spray this particular mixture of children.

Try a Candle or Incense Stick

There are many candles and incense sticks made from essential oils, and many of these are manufactured specifically for use as insect repellents. When you burn these products, the scent put off through heat will repel any insects in the area.

These products are suitable for if you are trying to cover a large area with minimal effort. They also make one of the best repellents to keep bugs away if you do not have a current infestation.

We can recommend you these 100% natural and chemicals free incense sticks. 

Instead of a candle or incense stick, you can also use an essential oils diffuser. A diffuser is a natural way to release essential oils into the air without the potential irritants caused by some candles and incense sticks.

For example, this Aromatherapy Top 8 Essential Oil and Diffuser Gift Set is really good.

Whatever you choose, there are a lot of guides online to making candles, incense sticks, and even diffusers out of essential oils, if you’re into DIY.

Use Essential Oils as Treatment if You’re Already Bitten

No matter what precautions you take, you might still get bitten by bugs. Fortunately, you can also use essential oils to help treat the bites and the irritation that arises from those bites. Gently apply diluted lavender or tea tree oil to the area of the bite. You can also combine these with a cold compress to get the maximum amount of relief.

If you are trying to get some relief for a bug bite, you may also try combing essential oils with witch hazel. This is because witch hazel is very effective for skin irritation.

Choose Products That Already Contain Essential Oils

While it is common to make your own products at home with the use of essential oils, it is also okay to buy a product that is already manufactured with essential oils. This may include sprays, bracelets, candles, incense sticks, and much more.

This is an excellent choice for people who are not into making their own products at home, and simply want the convenience of something that is pre-made for insect repellent.

Benefits of Using Essential Oils to Repel Insects

You may be wondering what some of the specific benefits are to using essential oils as insecticides. Now, we’re going to discuss some of the benefits of this insecticide choice:

Going green

If you’re concerned about “going green” and using natural products, essential oils are a good choice. As long as the brand of oil you’re choosing is natural and organic, it will be a good way for you to use natural pest repellent methods without relying on synthetic chemicals.

Your home will smell lovely.

Since essential oils are often used for their pleasing scent, using them around your home as insecticides mean that your home will also smell lovely.

You can use leftover essential oils in other areas

You may be able to use leftover essential oils for things other than insect repellents, such as health ailments, aromatherapy, and other uses.

Essential oils are affordable

Essential oils may be a lot less pricey than other pest repellent methods. This means you will probably be able to spend a lot less money for better and more natural pest repellent.

Essential oils will also repel other pests

You may be surprised to know that essential oils will also repel a variety of other pests, such as rodents, lizards, and even some birds.

Essential oils are less toxic

Even though you should still take precautions when using essential oils as insecticides, they are usually less toxic than synthetic pesticide chemicals. They are generally not known for having side effects. However, you should research them thoroughly if you have allergies.

Another bonus is that if you are already an essential oils lover, you will certainly enjoy using more of them around the home! Now, let’s discuss some helpful essential oil products that you might be able to use.

Some Useful Product Recommendations

Believe it or not, but I have compiled a list of insect repellent products from Amazon’s online market place that contains essential oils! I’m also going to include the Amazon rating for each one of these products so that you can make an informed decision.

Viva Naturals Organic Lavender Essential Oil

This is manufactured by Ortho, and it is made with essential oils. It is USDA CERTIFIED ORGANIC  and therefore is safe to use around kids.

Check for price

Sky Organics Organic Bug Spray

However, this organic bug spray is made by Sky Organics and does not contain DEET, alcohol, or other harmful synthetic chemicals which means you can use this safe product around both adults and kids.  This spray contains a variety of different essential oils, and it is lab-tested with proven results.

Check for price

Amrita Aromatherapy Bugs BeGone

Also, if you have a problem with mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, or chiggers, this Bugs Be Gone spray from Amrita Aromatherapy is a good product to try. This product is a DEET-free natural solution to insect control.

It won’t leave any stains on your clothing, and it is gentle on human skin. This product from Amrita is safe for adults, children, and pets. It is also very useful for aromatherapy purposes.

Check for price

Skedattle All-Natural Insect Repellent Spray – DEET-Free

This all-natural insect repellent spray is made by Skedattle, and it is made from an organic blend of essential oils.

It is specially formulated to repel mosquitoes, fleas, chiggers, ticks, and other biting insects. This Skedattle spray is safe for use around children and pets. Worry less about the environment, since this spray is both biodegradable and eco-friendly.

Check for price

Kids Diffuser Bracelets by Bear Brook

If you are specifically looking for a product to protect your kids from bug bites, consider this essential oil diffuser bracelet manufactured by Bear Brook. This essential oil bracelet has a 4.2 out of 5-star rating on Amazon.

These bracelets come in a variety of fun designs and colors for kids, and you can also refill them with whatever kind of essential oils you want. Size is no problem since this diffuser bracelet is a one-size-fits-all product.

Check for price

Natural Mosquito Repellent Patches by Mosquito Killer

These essential oils insect repellent patches are made by Mosquito Killer. These patches are DEET-free. These sticker patches are long-lasting, safe, and hypoallergenic.

They work for up to 24 hours without having to replace them with another patch. And the manufacturer offers a satisfaction, no-risk guarantee.

Check for price

Murphy’s Naturals Mosquito Repellent Incense Sticks

If you’re interested in some incense sticks to repel mosquitoes, why not try these mosquito repellent incense sticks by Murphy’s Naturals? They are made with essential oils such as citronella, rosemary, lemongrass, peppermint, and cedarwood.

These incense sticks are made with a plant-based formula, and they are proudly DEET-free. When you purchase this product, you will get 12 incense sticks per tube.

Check for price

Final thoughts: How to Use Essential Oils as Insect Repellents?

So, how do you feel now about using essential oils as insect repellents? Today, we’ve discussed some of the varieties of essential oils you can use, how to use them, and even some popular products from Amazon that include essential oils. If you have any other suggestions on how to use essential oils to repel insects, then leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Here at Pest Control FAQ, you can find some of the best answers to all of your pest control questions. Whether you are struggling with insects, birds, rodents, lizards, or other pests, I am confident I will have something in my resource that can help you.

Related Questions

Where can I find essential oils? Fortunately, essential oils have become much easier to find thanks to their popularity boom. You can often find them at any local specialty shop, grocery store, or many retailers online. Before buying any essential oil products, do research the specific type of oil and the specific brand, as well.

What is the best way to repel insects? One of the most effective ways to get rid of insects is by using a licensed, professional exterminator. Essential oils and some other methods repel insects by scent. There are ultrasonic devices that repel insects by a sound that only bugs can hear. And you can buy both natural and synthetic sprays that act as repellents, too.

Are essential oils natural or organic? Yes, most essential oils are considered natural and organic. This is because they are usually made from a plant, leaf, or herb extract. Essential oils are generally not made of synthetic chemicals. When buying essential oils, be sure to inquire about whether or not the product was made through a completely natural process.

Useful reading:

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