Heather Wheeler | 

13 Best Homemade Mosquito Repellents

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1. Plant catnip in the yard.

Catnip, also known as Nepeta cateria, is known to release an odor that drives cats crazy for it. The odor also repels pesky mosquitos—up to ten times more effective than DEET!


2. Throw rosemary on the barbecue grill.

Mosquitos always seem to show up during a barbecue. By adding rosemary, you’ll not only ward them off but add delicious flavor to your food. Rosemary also works on campfires.


3. Hang Bounce dryer sheets along windows or stick them in pockets.

According to a study conducted by Hort Science, Bounce dryer sheets effectively get rid of mosquitos due to the substances that make up the material—substances like citronella and linalool, which can be found in lavender and basil.



4. Grow basil, lavender, marigolds, and lemongrass.

  • Basil is great for pesto, but mosquitos hate it.
  • Marigolds repel mosquitoes as well as aphids and even rabbits.
  • Lavender might be a favorite for relaxation but mosquitos detest it.
  • Lemongrass has natural citronella oil in it which repels mosquitos.


5. Make insect repellant lotion bars.

A variety of essential oils (including coconut and olive oils), catnip, and beeswax pellets are pretty much all you need to make this solid lotion bar. Take a look at these directions.


6. Get up to 8 hours of protection with Neem oil and coconut oil.


Studies have shown Neem oil is more effective than DEET. It’s a potent antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral, and anti-protozoal agent that people in India have used for ages. Plus, its smell on your skin—with the help of coconut oil—helps ward off mosquitos. You can buy Neem oil at garden centers or on Amazon. Combine oils in equal parts and apply to skin.


RELATED: 16 Surprising Things You Can Cook on the Grill


7. Put whole cloves in lemons and limes.

The smell (and look) of citrus and clove may be appealing to us, but mosquitos despise it and stay away. Place lemon and lime halves with cloves anywhere you don’t want mosquitos.


8. Spray lavender, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and distilled water on your skin and clothes.

Mix 15 drops of lavender essential oil, 3 tablespoons of vanilla extract, and a 1/4 cup of lemon juice into a spray bottle and fill the bottle with 2 to 3 cups of distilled water. Give it a good shake and spray this effective repellent (that also happens to smell good) onto skin and clothes.


9. Make cheap, decorative repellents with wine bottles and citronella torch oil.

Fill an empty wine bottle with citronella torch oil and attach coupling (or a connector) and a wick to the top. After inserting the coupling and wick, twist it snugly in place and allow it to absorb the oil for a few minutes before lighting. Get full directions here.



10. Mix pure vanilla extract and water in equal parts.

Pure vanilla extract works to keep mosquitos and gnats away. Mix a tablespoon of vanilla extract with a tablespoon of water and apply to your skin with a cotton ball. This non-toxic, great-smelling repellent will work for about 30 minutes, so reapply if needed.


11. Create repellent candles with soy wax flakes and citronella essential oil.

Mosquito repellent candles are wonderful additions to porches and decks in the summer. Follow these instructions for ingredients and how to make your own effective candles.


12. Use apple cider vinegar and lavender or citronella oil together.

For a really nice-smelling insect repellent, add 25 drops of lavender oil or citronella oil to 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar and shake the jar well. Since this is an all-natural repellent, you’ll need to apply a dab on your skin and clothes throughout the day.


13. Dab a mixture of rubbing alcohol, cloves, and baby oil onto your skin.

Soak cloves overnight or up to four days in the rubbing alcohol. Stir in baby oil and apply to skin. The oil will help the repellent stick to your skin (because straight alcohol will dry it up). Stir the mixture well each time you apply.


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