An effective, non-toxic, DIY bug spray recipe...that really works? Yup. Here you go. Thank me later. :)

Bye, Bye Bugs (especially mosquitoes). Effective DIY Bug Spray Recipe!

This post may contain affiliate links which won’t change your price, but will share some commission.

Looking for a natural DIY bug spray recipe that will not leave you soaked in horrific chemicals? Who needs that!??

Here is where I would usually go into my spiel about individual ingredients in products that make them bad for us. I think that I can skip that with bug spray. We know it’s pretty darn nasty stuff, right? Okay…good.

Now that we have that out of the way, when it comes to bug spray for your body there are two ingredients that the big chemical corporations do not want you to know about. They just so happen to be essential oils (if you need a quick review about essential oils, check out this post). So, let’s learn a bit more about these two specific essential oils.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree Oil (also known as Melaleuca Oil) is a wonderful essential oil and has been studied quite a bit throughout history. Among other uses for humans, it has antimicrobial, antibiotic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Not only is it healthy and healing (in appropriate doses) for humans, it is toxic to many insects. Woo Who!123 Not to mention, I think that it smells quite lovely. I use it in many things around my home, even in my handcrafted body spray and lotions.

Geranium Oil

This essential oil has been shown over hundreds of years to be a strong wound healer. It also holds many of the same properties as Tea Tree Oil, but is also hailed for its ability to keep insects (especially mosquitoes) away.45

How Do You Make It?

Easy! First, you’ll want to get your hands on a spray bottle (I used a small 3oz travel spray bottle for the following recipe).

Second, you’ll need to locate the following ingredients. Don’t be worried by prices. Essential oils go a loooooong way, so you’ll have plenty of batches you can make from this purchase.

I prefer to purchase the vast majority of my supplies from Mountain Rose Herbs, BUT I am NOT one who thinks ‘only this company ALWAYS’.

Vegetable glycerine!?? Huh? Non-GMO & ethically-sourced vegetable glycerine plays a part in many of my DIY projects! Having a bottle of this on hand is not only a great idea since you can use it a lot, but it’s also cheap. You can get a wonderful organic, non-GMO sourced vegetable glycerin here.

Just as I explained in my recent post Non-Toxic Spray For Pests, vegetable glycerine is a great vessel to help essential oils bind to whatever you spray them on (in this case, you). If you type vegetable glycerine/glycerin into the search bar at the top of my blog you’ll see quite a few other posts using this great ingredient.

Learn how to make your own healthy, non-toxic bug spray. Follow Pronounce Skincare's DIY bug spray recipe and stay bug free while avoiding those awful chemicals found in conventional bug spray.
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Combine the ingredients in a 3oz bottle (glass is best, like these)…

Now, you will smell great, keep the mosquitoes and other buggers at bay, and all while being healthy. Isn’t it great learning new health conscious ways to treat problems?

Oh, and before you ask…YES! There are other essential oils you can use to help stop bugs from biting you when you are outside. This just happens to be the recipe that I like to use (again…it smells great and I know that this formula works).

***Oh, you can also add a little Neem Oil…I am in love with it.

June 22nd, 2014–> I am now suggesting that you also add a bit of homemade or organic (non-GMO, sustainably-sourced store bought) vanilla extract. It has been an amazing addition to our spray at home. Those crazy little flies (that seem to have been running rampant this year) can’t stand it.

***I encourage you to do essential oil research here…they have a plethora of excellent information about essential oils on their website and I think that they are a great company.

If you would prefer to purchase this bug spray already made up and shipped right to you, no problem!

Check out my Pronounce Skincare Shop to purchase this bug spray, SkinShade, Body Butters, Body Lotions, Lip Lotions, and many other handcrafted Pronounce Skincare products.

Head on over and take a look!

Until next time…

Jess, aka Scratch Mommy

This post was shared atThank Goodness It’s Monday, The HomeAcre Hop, Unprocessed Fridays.

Comments 72

  1. Does this work with ticks (in other words, does it prevent ticks)? Mosquitos are a nuisance, and I know that they can carry disease. But it just seems like ticks have become the bigger problem.

    1. I made this recipe @ 9:21 7/17. Sprayed on screens, self, countertop and garbage area. The gnats DIDNT LIKE IT. Woke up this morning, No gnats on countertops, fewer ones near screens and garbage. Sprayed again @ 12p.m., Less critters, then at 4p.m. and 6 and 11p.m. Very few to be found. Looks like this is a winning solution!

    2. I too would like to know if this works on ticks. I have a hay farm in Missouri and have to use lots of spray. I would like to use something natural. Maybe now we have two asking about ticks, scratchmommy will answer us.

      1. Lol. I wasn’t purposefully not answering. I’ve been a bit busy getting my son in preschool for the first time and opening a retail shop in town. Bittersweet and exciting things going on all at once!

        Yes. Rose Geranium Essential Oil and Tea Tree Essential Oil have both been shown to be effective for repelling ticks. Hope this helps. 🙂


        1. Thanks so much. Ticks are so bad on our property. We have only had it a short time and are in the process of reclaiming it. Therefore, we are fighting the tick population too. I will try your product so t will have less fear of the little critters. Thanks.

          1. No problem. 🙂 I’m not sure what would grow happily in your area, but you could look into planting lavender and lemongrass (just a couple of examples) to naturally repel them, too.

            Congrats and good luck with your new property!

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  3. Hi! I’ve been reading your web site for some time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out
    from New Caney Texas! Just wanted to mention keep up the fantastic job!

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  6. I will have to try this recipe. The last one I tried actually had catnip oil in it… Our housecats went crazy for it, they would come over and nip at you when you were wearing it… made me wonder if it would attract cougars in the woods??? LOL Not going to find out! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Sandra,

      I’m not sure where you received your information. If you can send me a peer-reviewed research study to read I’d be happy to do so.

      All of the research I have read supports the use of neem oil topically, and supports the many great health benefits. That said, I would not ingest neem oil, as that can be toxic, but I am not promoting that.


      1. How much Neem Oil should I add? I too did some research and didn’t find anything negative about applying Neem Oil, in spray, on skin.

  7. Wow, this is a must try for me. They love me so much I could sit with citronella candles under me and still get bit by these little good for nothing bugs!. Thank you for this period. I’ll have to buy and maybe I could finally enjoy being outside. Xoxoxo

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      1. You should always use glass when using essential oils.The oils can break down the plastic. I sell doTERRA and that is one of the first things they teach us.

        Thank you for sharing this. It is a great recipe and I am definitely going to start following your blog. You rock.

  12. I live in Southeast Texas where mosquitoes are large and in charge! Last night I went out to make sure all of my chickens were in bed and I noticed that the mosquitoes were swarming them. Do you know if this spray would be safe for them? I have the shea butter bug be gone and I took that and rubbed some on their back and their combs. I watched the mosquitoes disappear! I felt relieved because mosquitoes can be very detrimental to a chickens health . I have been using it on my family as well but I was so thrilled for my chickens! We can all go inside but I don’t think my husband would be very happy with me if I let the chickens sleep inside 🙂

  13. Do you think I could use Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera Alcohol-Free Toner as the base and just add essential oils to that? It already has water, veg. glycerin, and witch hazel (which some people use instead of veg. glycerin in their diy bug sprays). I don’t think it has anything that would have a negative impact on the bug spray, and it can be used to soothe bug bites, so two-in-one?

  14. Can anyone please let me know if the T in the recipe is for teaspoon or tablespoon? I hope this works because my daughter is allergic to Mosquitos!

  15. I always respect that you share your recipe how-tos even when people can purchase direct from you. I have two of the three ingredients. I will look to getting the third soon. Thankfully we don’t contend with mosquitoes in the high desert (not enough precipitation) but we do have lots of other bugs!

  16. What a great idea. We have some mosquitoes around here (Malaga, Spain) and I hate those mosquitoes sprays as they smell awful and make me cough for hours. I will definately try your spray next time 🙂

  17. ooo! I’m gonna try this! we use a garlic based spray on our yard at home that keeps the mosquitos away completely, but there is a park the girls like to play at that is just swarming! I would love to try this!

  18. Hi there! Could you use liquid coconut oil instead of the vegetable glycerin? And is this safe for kids? Thanks, can’t wait to try it out!

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  19. Its’s always a good idea to check for sensitivity to essential oils even though they are totally natural. During my early career as a massage therapist, I had a couple of people have an uncomfortable reaction to tea tree oil.
    Now I go with other essential oils (citronella, cedarwood, eucalyptus citridora, and more) to repel the buggy critters.
    I also use organic products whenever possible.

    Warmest regards,

    1. Post

      Great point. People have all sorts of sensitivities…tea tree, lavender, cedarwood, etc etc etc. Testing first is important. And yes, I always advocate for organic goods! Thanks for sharing.

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  21. Can I use this recipe on my 20 month old, I live close to many park lakes and have a bad problem with my little girl being eaten by these pests?. Please let know.

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  22. Is this bug spray safe for women who are pregnant? Any anecdotal reports?

    I’ve read that tea tree oil should be used cautiously during pregnancy, but the advice seems more related to use during labor than during the second or third trimester?

    1. Great question, Hugo. It’s hard to answer, since everyone is so different. Personally, I would be comfortable using this while pregnant – especially when I compare it to products that contain DEET. It’s always good to check with a naturopathic doctor if you are worried about any issues.

    1. Post

      Good question. Just a drizzle will do. I use about a tablespoon for my larger bottles (8oz or so). This part isn’t really ‘rocket science’ and doesn’t need to be totally precise. Just a little bit will do ya. If anything, I’d add less neem and more vanilla…because vanilla is just yummy! 😉

  23. Have you ever heard of using Diatomaceous as a flea/tick repellent for animals? I think I read in a previous post that you don’t have any pets. Anyway, let me know if you can! I’m going to continue to do my research on it. Thanks, Alex

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    2. If using diatomaceous earth, only use food grade. The kind used for swimming pools is not good for anything but pools.

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      Nope, not at all. This is a water-based spray with essential oils that help ‘preserve’ it. Keep the lid on tightly and spray away. I can’t fathom that this would ever go bad (although it could lose efficacy, depending on how long you have had it). Happy DIYing!

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  25. Definitely want to try this out. Sounds like a much better option than using horrible sprays that have loads of chemicals in them. Thanks for sharing.

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  28. What else would u recommend using instead of the geranium essential oil. I’ve just found it to be a tad expensive.
    And this is probably a silly question but is it fine to spray on your self , just noticed a lot of comments is about spraying it around the room.

    1. Post

      Great question! Citronella and eucalyptus are both great for mosquitoes and fleas. For ticks, geranium is best, but you could also add juniper or oregano. And yes, this is fine to spray on your body (avoid your eyes). Happy DIYing!

  29. Hi there! Thank you for this recipe! If I wanted to make an 8 oz version would I just quadruple each amount? So it would be 4 tbsp glycerin, instead of 1 tbsp, etc…?


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