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How to Make Your Own Mosquito Repellent to Safely Repel Mosquitoes

Savannah Clark's picture
Safely repel moquitoes

Summer is here and mosquitoes are out in full force. Have you thought about a way to safely repel mosquitoes? Here's a how to and why you should make your own bug spray to safely repel mosquitoes.


Safely Repelling Mosquitoes is Important

Every summer mosquitoes come out in full force, not only are they annoying but they can be a health hazard. (This summer we have already had the first confirmed case of the West Nile virus in Newton Township, Pennsylvania. The chances of being infected are still low, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t like using repellent and removing any standing water on your property. On the other side of the States, in Long Beach, California mosquitoes containing the Zika virus have been found for the first time. It is just as important now as it has ever been, maybe even more so, to safely repel mosquitoes.

Are bug sprays a way to safely repel mosquitoes?

DEET has been around since the 1940s and 50s, the U.S. Army developed it to help with jungle warfare during World War 2 and is very effective repelling mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and chiggers. It was re-approved with safety testing in 1998 but a study in 2009 showed that DEET can interfere with the activity of enzymes that are critical for the nervous system to function properly. Some people even have cases of bug spray poisoning; this can get serious fast. Some of the effects of Deet on the nervous system include:

  • Insomnia and mood changes
  • Disorientation
  • Clumsiness when walking
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • And in the most severe cases, death

According to the 1998 study, if you use DEET in the proper way you should avoid these side effects. However, that study is over nineteen years old at this point and new information is available. Until a newer study is done into the safeness of DEET, it would probably be best to find another way to safely repel mosquitoes.

Options other than DEET

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There are a few options out there other than making your own. Doterra offers what they call Terrashield. This is a nice, natural way to safely repel mosquitoes using essential oils. You can mix it up into a spray or rub it onto your skin. Burt’s Bees also offers a nice alternative to using DEET.

Make your own way to safely repel mosquitoes

If you’re like me and want to avoid dealing with unknown ingredients and the possibility of incredibly harmful ingredients like DEET, there are ways to make your own mosquito repellent. I prefer to make my own stuff because I like it, it’s fun to be crafty, but I also like having control over what goes into. I can make sure my ingredients and safe and ethically sourced so I don’t have to worry about some awful side effects. This is the recipe that I have found to safely repel mosquitoes most effectively.

Homemade Bug Spray

Total Time: 2 minutes
Serves: 30


  • ½ cup witch hazel
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 40 drops essential oils (eucalyptus, lemongrass, citronella, tea tree or rosemary. I prefer tea tree as it can also help with any cuts or scrape you might have)
  • one 8-ounce glass spray bottle


  1. Mix witch hazel, apple cider vinegar and essential oils in 8-ounce glass spray bottle.
  2. Spray over all portions of the body but avoid repellent in eyes and mouth.

Here’s an effective way to safely repel mosquitoes and enjoy your summer not having to worry about mosquitoes or nasty side effects.