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homemade bug spray with essential oils

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**While I am no longer an Active Distributor for Young Living Essential Oils, we do still use them daily in our home.  I hope you can find a local distributor in your community who can help you with your own essential oils journey.

I am so excited to share with you a homemade bug spray that actually works!!  I have been loving essential oils lately, but a little hesitant to try a bug repellent because I tried one years back (with store bought oils) and it did not work at all.  But I am here to say that our homemade bug repellent works and I feel great about using it on the kids!!


Why not use store-bought bug spray?

Because the stuff they put in it is real scary.  Have you read the warning labels?!  They are there for a reason.  Especially if you have young children, use extreme caution!  Check out the warning from the FDA.  Seriously.

Now, it also explains that oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three.  That is not a party of my recipe, but I wanted to put that out there that plant (essential) oils are potent and strong too.  Always practice common sense and only use Young Living oils, which are the only ones we can attest to working and using.

WARNING: See additional precautions below.

WARNING: Causes substantial but temporary eye injury. Do not get in eyes. Harmful if swallowed. Use of this product may cause skin reactions in rare cases. Wash treated clothing before wearing it again. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling and before eating, drinking, chewing gum, using tobacco or using the toilet.

Have the product container or label with you when calling a poison control center or doctor, or going for treatment.

  • If in eyes: Hold eye open and rinse slowly and gently with water for 15- 20 minutes. Remove contact lenses, if present, after the first 5 minutes, then continue rinsing eye. Call a poison control center or doctor for treatment advice.
  • If swallowed: Call a poison control center or doctor immediately for treatment advice. Have person sip a glass of water if able to swallow. Do not induce vomiting unless told to do so by a poison control center or doctor. Do not give anything by mouth to an unconscious person.If you suspect a reaction to this product, discontinue use, wash treated skin, and call your local poison control center.

So I don’t want that on me OR my children.  Enough said.  Scary stuff.


How to make homemade bug spray:

To start, you need a 20 ml glass spray bottle.  Pour in a teaspoon of epsom salts.  This will absorb the essential oils and allow them to mix easier once you add water as your base.

This bug spray will last for a season — since it contains citrus oils, I recommend making a fresh batch at the beginning of each spring/summer, as citrus oils will break down sooner than any of the rest of the essential oils.

We only use Young Living essential oils.  I cannot attest for this recipe using other (sometimes synthetic) brands.  Young Living is the only essential oils company that has its own farms and distills its own liquids from the plants.  They are trusted, tried and true.  And they are amazing.

We added the following therapeutic grade essential oils:

You can add any of the combination below.  Lavender is considered safe for children, so use discretion of you put more than that on your children.  Use what you have.  I have also heard that Rose Geranium and Tea Trea also work wonders.  Isn’t God amazing to create all of these little oils from his creation?!

15 drops Lemongrass: repels flies and mosquitoes

10 drops Cedarwood: repels flies

10 drops Geranium: repels flies and especially mosquitoes

10 drops Eucalyptus Globulus: repels gnats, flies and mosquitoes

10 drops Lavender: repels flies and mosquitoes

10 drops Thyme: repels fly larvae and adult flies

5 drops Lemon: repels flies and mosquitoes

5 drops Peppermint: repels gnats, flies, mosquitoes and larvae

{Optional: 5 drops Palo Santo: If you have ticks, this is the essential oil for you!!  It repels ticks, as well as will remove a tick from skin with one drop!}

How to apply homemade bug spray that works:

Spray liberally on hair, neck, clothes, hands, ankles and feet.  Always close eyes during application and wash hands.  Since this contains peppermint, which is an irritant, be diligent not to spray around the eye.


Our lovely, beautiful, amazing oils.  Wow, doesn’t it feel wonderful that we are using plants to protect our children, instead of chemicals?!  We always spritz with eyes closed, careful in the eye area, usually not on the face, and on the hair and neck instead.  While wearing this on our bodies and clothes, we have not been attacked — even in our rainy summer and on our fireworks evenings!!


Enjoy the rest of your summer!!

You may also be interested in:

How to make elderberry syrup

How to make echinacea tincture

How to make herbal salve

Making a postpartum herbal bath

How to make your own toothpaste

Making your own homemade deodorant

Make your own oregano lotion

Make frankincense skin cream

Essential oils for my broken arm

Essential oils for kids calm down


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