Homemade Mosquito Repellent Recipe

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Summer is here, and it’s a great time to make some homemade mosquito repellent to keep your family itch-free.

With mosquitoes out of control this year in many parts of the country, many of us are rightly concerned about protecting our families from the West Nile virus.

Add a spray bottle of this homemade mosquito repellent to your summer supplies and follow the steps below to keep your yard and home free from mosquitoes.

Homemade Mosquito Repellent

Even the most powerful of mosquito repellents won’t stand a chance if your home and lawn have turned into a mosquito breeding ground.


How to Keep Mosquitoes Out of Your Yard

The best natural mosquito repellent is prevention. Like dealing with spiders and cockroaches, taking steps to keep mosquitoes from getting comfortable in your environment makes getting rid of them much easier. (Related: How to Repel Wasps Naturally.)

Get Rid of Standing Water

Mosquitoes can breed in as few as five days. They can also reproduce in something as shallow as a bottle cap full of water. Make a habit of checking the locations below every few days, and immediately after any rain.

  • Gutters (don’t let yours get clogged)
  • Kiddie pools
  • Saucers under container plants
  • Bags of potting soil or mulch left sitting out
  • Improperly chlorinated swimming pools
  • Ornamental fish ponds
  • Puddles and muddy areas
  • Bird baths
  • Holes in trees or stumps
  • Uncovered rain barrels and other open containers
  • Old tires
  • Tarps
  • Children’s outdoor toys

Don’t Give Mosquitoes a Place to Rest

Adult mosquitoes need places to rest during the day, or when a breeze picks up. Keep your lawn trimmed and pull any weeds growing near your patio and deck.

Also, cut back any tree branches that grow close to your house since these provide a windbreak for mosquitoes as well as a way for ants and other pests to enter your home.

Use Yellow Bug Lights

White light attracts insects, including mosquitoes. Replace your porch and deck lights with yellow bug lights, and you’ll repel the clouds of mosquitoes swarming nearby.

Since mosquitoes tend to come looking for food in the hour before sunset, it’s a good idea to turn on your bug lights while the sky is still a little light. If you have a hard time remembering to do this, you can always install a solar or timer switch to make it an automatic thing.

Grow Mosquito-Repelling Plants

The best homemade mosquito repellent involves citronella. Mosquitoes hate the smell of citrus, which is why citronella candles, oils, and spray can keep them away.

Citronella comes from the oils of the lemongrass plant, a tropical plant easily grown in containers. Stash pots of it near your deck or patio tables to help keep mosquitoes away naturally.

Catnip, lavender, and rosemary also repel mosquitoes and make lovely additions to the garden, too.

High-Frequency Mosquito Gadgets or Apps Don’t Work

I know from personal experience those electronic gadgets that claim to emit a mosquito-repelling high frequency don’t work.

I bought several when we were having chemically-sensitive guests over for a barbecue. By the end of the night, every one of us was covered in bites. I was scratching for days thanks to that failed experiment.

Homemade Mosquito Repellent Recipe

To substitute fresh herbs in the homemade mosquito repellent: Crush 3 tbsp. lavender, rosemary or rose geranium leaves. Add them to the liquids and wait 1 hour while they steep. Strain, then pour the mixture into a spray bottle.


Homemade Mosquito Repellent

Katie Berry
Keep a spray bottle of this easy-to-make homemade mosquito repellent on hand to protect your family from itchy bites this summer.
Servings 2 cups


  • Spray bottle


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol – any strength can substitute 1 cup 80% vodka
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil
  • 5 drops citronella or rosemary essential oil


  • Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle. Apply liberally to skin, reapplying every 2 hours as needed.
  • Keep away from open flames. Store unused homemade mosquito repellent in a cool, dark spot. Use within 2 months.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Whip up a batch of this homemade mosquito repellent spray, and follow the tips on mosquito control, and you’ll save not only money but also your skin.

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  1. Old Married Lady says:

    I am grateful that mosquitoes are not a problem where I live. Our house backs up to a natural wetland garden and in the evening when we let the dogs out we’ll sometimes get a moth in the house and oh, I don’t rest until hubby captures and gets it out. He prides himself on being able to capture the live moth in his hand and set it free outside.

    We are weird.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Oh, you’re lucky not to have a mosquito problem! We have a creek in our backyard that gets sluggish in the summer when we don’t have much rain. The mosquitoes breed like crazy on the banks and swarm over it in huge, black clouds. Ugh!

  2. Oh my goodness! These are great! We get slaughtered pretty much from March-October. At least 3/5 of us. {The other two must endure allergies, so I’d pick the blood-suckers over that any day} I also found a natural product called Swy Flotter by Kiss my Face. It’s paraben free citronella lotion. Smells great, feels awesome and moisturizes. So great for my kids that hate the other smelly/stinging bug repellents.
    Thanks for the tips HWHT! Loving the new site!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I adore Kiss My Face products, but hadn’t heard of that one. Thanks for letting me know about it so I can look for the stuff!

  3. Mariette's Back to Basics says:

    Dearest Katie,

    Funny, we LOVE the yellow outdoor lights and have them for decades already, in energy saving bulbs. Yellow lights soften and also look so much more romantic, besides attracting less the mosquitoes…
    Enjoy your summer!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I agree, Mariette. We have yellow lights on our deck, and it’s almost like sitting in candlelight at night! (P.S. Happy Birthday, Ravy!)

  4. Lara at TwiceBlessedLife says:

    I didn’t know that about catnip! Thanks for the recipe for a homebrew repellant. The one we use now is by California Baby – it’s got citronella and rosemary and no chemicals. We haven’t really been bothered by mosquitos much this year though, because of the wonky weather earlier I think. One moment it was summerlike, and the next it was flurries of snow. I think it may have killed them off. Or I could be wrong. They may be lying in wait to ambush us 🙂

    Great post as always!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Wow, snow? We barely had any this winter — very unusual for Kansas — and it’s been brutally hot until yesterday when our 100+ heatwave finally broke. I think I’d crawl across broken glass for snow right about now. Well, maybe not across broken glass… but I’d crawl!

  5. I’m totally trying your the homemade recipe. I’ve tried just drinking the vodka and hoping that would work, but alas…it didn’t. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      LOL, Jan. If it worked, I’d never have a mosquito bite!

  6. Hi Katie,

    My sister and her husband swear by Madagascar vanilla. Yes, the kind you cook with. She dabs it behind her ears, on her wrists, behind her knees and ankles. She smells like a cookie and the bugs don’t bother her one bit! I’m going to try it, since up here in Massachusetts we had a pathetic-no-snow winter and have enough mosquitos to pick up my 9 month old daughter and carry her away!

    Just thought it *might* smell better than catnip/geraniums!!

    Thanks for the other ideas!!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      That would certainly smell better than geraniums, although my cats are big fans of when I wear catnip oil. (They remind me of a boy I knew in 3rd grade who’d follow me *everywhere*!)

      I’ll keep my eye open for Madagascar vanilla next time I’m at the store and will give this a try. Thank you so much for sharing!

  7. In 1579, William Langham in his “Garden of Health” book gave a method for perfuming clothes which would also act as an insect repellent.

    “Boyle it (lavender) in water and wett thy shirt in it and dry it again and weare it.”

    We’ve been fighting insects and especially mosquitoes for quite some time, huh?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Rave, I forget how you love the old Books on the Art of Domestick Management, too. 🙂

  8. Nina Nelson says:

    I just went camping and decided to use it as an opportunity to test an insect repellent recipe I thought up. I brought 4 cups water, 1/4 cup yarrow flower and 1/4 cup lavender flowers to a boil and shut it off. I let it steep for an hour while I did some packing. Then I strained it into a spray bottle and added 10 drops lavender essential oil. It worked great! The nights that I remembered to put it on, I had no bites. The kids loved getting sprayed down, too.

  9. Carl Watson says:

    Very nice and informative post Katie. Everyone faces a mosquito problem and following these steps which you have mentioned in this post is really going to help in a big way.

  10. Am a fan from Nigeria and have really gained a lot since I subscribed to your news letters, but most of the ingredients for the mosquito repellant can not be found in our country so pls are there other ingredients that are found everywhere in the world for the same purpose ?thanks so much.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I really don’t know. I’m located in the United States and, short of shopping all over the world, there’s no way for me to know what’s in your store. Other readers have indicated they can find isopropyl alcohol at a pharmacist. The essential oils are also available at druggist’s or online.

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