Sarah Biren
Sarah Biren
May 14, 2024 ·  5 min read

6 Essential Oils You Need to Repel Bugs All Summer Long

Essential oils go back centuries and they have dozens of uses. One of the most common uses in modern times is as a natural mosquito repellent. These flying pests can cause itchy bites and they can also transmit disease. When you are spending time outdoors, it is important to prevent bites as much as possible. Proper use of essential oils keep mosquitoes away so that you and your family can enjoy your time outdoors without being bothered.

There are several different essential oils that keep mosquitoes at bay. Keeping the mosquitoes away reduces the risk of mosquito-borne disease and it prevents those itchy bites that can make you uncomfortable throughout the summer.

Read More: Are Essential Oils Risky? What to Be Aware Of, And Use Best Practices

Using the Best Essential Oils for Natural Mosquito Repellent

Woman scratches her leg, which is itchy from a mosquito bite. Close up of legs. Summer garden on the background. Allergies and insect bites concept.
Source: Shutterstock

Not all essential oils are created equal and you must choose the right ones and mix them properly. Never apply an essential oil directly to the skin. Use a carrier oil to dilute it to ensure safety. The best carrier oils for the mosquito-repelling essential oils include:

Follow the directions on the essential oil bottle to ensure proper dilution. All oils are different when it comes to how much dilution is necessary to ensure safety when applied to the skin. You can also use these oils in a warmer outdoors to further keeps mosquitoes away, such as when you are having an outdoor party.

Lemon Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus essential oil and fresh eucalyptus leaves on the wooden board
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Lemon eucalyptus oil is one of the most common essential oils for repelling mosquitoes and its use dates back to the 1940s. In fact, this essential oil has been approved as an effective mosquito repellent by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A study published in the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association showed that using a 32 percent lemon eucalyptus essential oil provides up to three hours of mosquito protection and stops approximately 95 percent of mosquitoes from biting.

Take 10 parts of a carrier oil, preferably witch hazel or sunflower oil, and ix it with one part of lemon eucalyptus essential oil. Just avoid using this essential oil on kids who are three years of age and younger.

Cinnamon Oil

Close up bottle of cinnamon oil with cinnamon sticks and cinnamon powder on wooden background, healthy spice concept Cinnamomum verum
Source: Shutterstock

Most people think of cinnamon as a great addition to toast, but cinnamon essential oil is something that mosquitoes hate. Another benefit of this oil is that it has the ability to kill mosquito eggs to reduce the number of mosquitoes that are in your outdoor space.

Create a spray that uses four ounces of water and 24 drops of this oil. Do not spray directly on your skin because even diluted, it can be irritating. Instead, spray it on upholstery or your clothing. Just let it dry before putting the clothing on. You can also spray it around plants and patio furniture to keep the mosquitoes away at night.


Lavender flowers isolated on white background
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Lavender essential oil is very fragrant and mosquitoes do not like the smell so they will avoid it at all costs. Another benefit to keeping this oil around is that not only does it repel mosquitoes, but it can also soothe mosquito bites if they do occurs. Just make sure to properly dilute it per the instructions on the bottle before you apply it to your skin to reduce the risk of irritation. After you make a diluted preparation, dab some of the oil into ankles and wrists so that you smell like lavender to keep mosquitoes away.

In addition to using liberal amounts of this essential oil around your outdoor space, consider adding some lavender plants. The plants work almost as well as the oil to prevent mosquitoes from buzzing around.

Read More: Are Essential Oils the Secret Weapon to Survive Allergy Season?

Thyme Oil

Thyme extract essential oil with fresh thyme herbs isolated on white background. Top view. Flat lay.
Source: Shutterstock

Thyme essential oil is most effective at repelling mosquitoes that are known to carry malaria. Research published in the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association looked at how this essential oil works to protect hairless mice against mosquitoes and the conclusion is that it offers 91 percent protection.

Create a mixture that you can use when you are outdoors to repel mosquitoes. Mix a teaspoon of either jojoba oil or olive oil with four drops of thyme oil. You can also create a spray using two ounces of water and five drops of thyme oil. Simply multiply to create larger batches of each of these mixtures.

Organic Soybean Oil

Soy bean and soy oil on wooden table
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This is not an essential oil that any people talk about, but a two percent soybean oil can be a lifesaver against mosquitoes. In fact, there are some commercial mosquito repellent products that use this oil as a primary ingredient. Compared to products that use citronella as the primary ingredient, organic soybean oil products offer longer-lasting protection.

If you want to get some additional protection from organic soybean oil and make your essential oil mosquito repellent more fragrant, add some lemongrass oil. This is a mixture that works well to protect you against a number of mosquito species.

Greek Catnip Oil

Catnip (Nepeta Cataria var. citriodora) essence oil. Droppers with oil next to nepetas braches over an old wood table
Source: Shutterstock

This is an essential oil that comes from the mint family and it has a good reputation to repelling mosquitoes. The oil comes from leaves that are bruised and they can repel a number of different pests that can bother you when you are outside at night.

Research published in Parasitology Research looked at this essential oil and its ability to repel mosquitoes. The conclusion is that with a single application, you can expect to be protected from mosquitoes for approximately two to three hours. Another research study was conducted at Iowa State University. This study compared this essential oil to DEET. The conclusion was that compared to DEET, Greek catnip oil is approximately 10 times more effective at repelling mosquitoes.

Make the Ultimate Essential Oils Natural Mosquito Repellent

Selection of essential oils, with herbs and flowers in the background
Source: Shutterstock

Try combining some of these powerful essential oils into one convenient mixture.


  • 30 drops of lemon-eucalyptus essential oil blend
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces witch hazel, rubbing alcohol, or vodka

What to Do

Combine all ingredients together in a small bowl, then transfer into a small spray bottle. Apply before heading outdoors during mosquito hours (when the sun starts to set, and especially around water).

You can use a variety of these essential oils when you are outdoors to prevent mosquitoes from buzzing around and biting you. Just make sure that you use each oil correctly to prevent issues like skin irritation. This means that you want to use the proper carrier oils to dilute the essential oils so that you can use them safely and effectively and always do a small patch test to make sure you’re not allergic or sensitive to the oils.

Read More: 21 of the Best Natural Oils for Your Skin and Hair (Benefits and How to Use)