Homemade Bug Repellent Lotion Recipe

Make your own homemade insect repellent for natural, lasting protection

These homemade bug repellent recipes are non-toxic and smell fabulous. The spray is dead easy to make, the lotion takes a little more time. The body lotion formula makes a light, lasting moisturizer that repels mosquitoes and black flies while soothing your skin.

Think about this: the reason plants produce essential oils is to protect them from insects and other predators. So when you use essential oils to protect your skin from bugs, you're using a completely natural, effective approach. Without harmful chemicals!

This homemade insect repellent has a fresh, light citrus scent that keeps you smiling while also keeping the bugs away.

Homemade Bug Spray


1/2 cup distilled water, warmed up a bit

1/8 teaspoon epsom salt

1/2 cup witch hazel

10 drops Citronella essential oil

10 drops Lemon Eucalyptus essential oil

10 drops Lemongrass essential oil

5 drops Tea Tree essential oil

5 drops Cedarwood essential oil


Pour the water into an 8oz (250ml) dark glass or PET plastic spray bottle. Add the Epsom salt and shake until the salt is dissolved. (The salt emulsifies the essential oils and the water so it's not as big a deal if you forget to shake the bottle before using your bug repellent.)

Pour in the witch hazel.

Add the essential oils. That's it! Simple!

To use, just spritz onto the bits you want the bugs to avoid. Don't spray it into your eyes or mouth because it will sting and also taste bad. 

Homemade Bug Repellent Body Lotion Recipe


2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons (8 to 10g) Emulsifying wax (depending on how thick you want it)

1/2 teaspoon (2g) Stearic Acid (plant based stabilizer)

1/3 cup (75ml) Grapeseed oil

1/2 cup (125ml) distilled Water or Lavender Hydrosol (lavender floral water)

1 teaspoon (5ml) Vitamin E

10 drops Grapefruit Seed extract (natural preservative)

10 drops Citronella essential oil

10 drops Lemon Eucalyptus essential oil

10 drops Lemongrass essential oil


  1. Stir together the oil, emulsifying wax and stearic acid in the top part of a double boiler, warming slowly over a low heat until the wax is completely melted. Remove from heat and pour in the Vitamin E.
  2. In a separate pot on the stove, gently warm the water/hydrosol just until lukewarm.
  3. Slowly pour the water/hydrosol into the oil, stirring constantly with a wire whisk until the mixture is thick, cream-colored and smooth. Let cool slightly.
  4. Stir in the essential oils and the grapefruit seed extract. Pour the homemade bug repellent lotion into a clean, sterilized 8oz (250ml) dark glass or PET plastic bottle and allow it to cool before putting the lid on.
  5. Shake the bottle occasionally as the lotion cools to prevent the ingredients from separating. Store in a cool, dark place.

This homemade insect repellent recipe makes approximately 8oz (250ml) bug repellent lotion.

What Next?

Try making some other yummy lotions and potions using the recipes below. For summer fun, the sunscreen is great.

Lavender Lotion

Peppermint Lotion

Sandalwood Spice Lotion

Homemade Sunscreen

Lotion Recipes Main Page

Aromatherapy Recipes Homepage from Homemade Bug Repellent