Homemade Insect Repellent

Olivia Miller | Sunday, September 17, 2023

Insects are an essential part of our ecosystem, but they can also be a nuisance and a health hazard. Traditional insect repellents often contain harmful chemicals that not only harm the environment but also pose a risk to our health. Fortunately, there is a greener and safer alternative – homemade insect repellent.

In this article, we will discuss why traditional insect repellents are bad for the environment, the benefits of making your own repellent, the ingredients and materials needed, and step-by-step instructions on how to make your own homemade insect repellent.

Why Traditional Insect Repellents are Bad for the Environment

Traditional insect repellents contain chemicals such as DEET, picaridin, and permethrin, which are harmful to the environment. These chemicals can contaminate water sources, harm aquatic life, and disrupt the delicate balance of our ecosystem.

Moreover, the production and disposal of these chemical-based repellents contribute to air and water pollution, further damaging the environment. The packaging of these products also adds to the growing problem of plastic waste, which takes hundreds of years to decompose.

Why Making Your Own is Better for the Environment

Making your own insect repellent is a more environmentally friendly option for several reasons. Firstly, you have control over the ingredients used, ensuring that no harmful chemicals are present. Secondly, you can reduce plastic waste by using reusable containers for your homemade repellent. Lastly, making your own repellent reduces the demand for commercially produced products, which in turn reduces the carbon footprint of the manufacturing process.

What You Will Need

Making your own insect repellent is easy and requires only a few ingredients and materials. Here's a list of what you will need:

  • Essential oils (citronella, eucalyptus, peppermint, lemongrass, lavender, or a combination of these)
  • Witch hazel or rubbing alcohol
  • Distilled water
  • A spray bottle
  • A small funnel
  • A mixing bowl
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • A spoon for mixing
  • Optional: a carrier oil (such as coconut or jojoba oil) for added moisturizing benefits


Now that you have all the necessary ingredients and materials, let's get started on making your own homemade insect repellent.

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine 1/4 cup of witch hazel or rubbing alcohol with 1/4 cup of distilled water. If you are using a carrier oil, add 1/4 cup of it to the mixture as well.

  2. Add 30-40 drops of your chosen essential oils to the mixture. You can use a single oil or a combination of oils, depending on your preference. Some essential oils, such as citronella and eucalyptus, are known for their insect-repelling properties.

  3. Mix all the ingredients together using a spoon.

  4. Using a small funnel, transfer the mixture into a spray bottle.

  5. Shake the bottle well before each use to ensure that the ingredients are well combined.

  6. To use, spray the repellent on your skin, clothes, and any other areas where you want to repel insects. Reapply every few hours or as needed.

Tips for Effective Use

  • Store your homemade insect repellent in a cool, dark place to prolong its shelf life.
  • Avoid spraying the repellent on your face or near your eyes.
  • If you have sensitive skin, do a patch test before using the repellent on a larger area.
  • If you are pregnant or have any medical conditions, consult with your doctor before using any essential oils.
  • Remember to always shake the bottle before each use to ensure that the ingredients are well mixed.

Responsible Disposal

When your homemade insect repellent is no longer needed, it is essential to dispose of it responsibly. Do not pour it down the drain or throw it in the trash. Instead, you can use it as a natural air freshener or add it to your compost pile. If you have leftover essential oils, you can also use them for other DIY projects or donate them to someone who can use them.


Making your own insect repellent is not only better for the environment, but it is also a safer and more natural option for you and your family. By using simple, natural ingredients, you can protect yourself from insects without harming the environment. So the next time you need an insect repellent, skip the store-bought options and try making your own. Your wallet, your health, and the planet will thank you.

© 2020 EthicalShift, Inc