Do It Yourself—Bug Spray

0 Posted by - April 11, 2013 - Archive

April showers bring May flowers! Spring is also the time when insects and bugs begin to multiply at astounding levels and pester any early evening plans in the fresh air. If you’re anything like me, then you are also certain that mosquitoes and other biting insects are out to get you and may keep you indoors instead of enjoying the pleasant weather outside.

Bugs should not keep us from a walk around the park or neighborhood, a relaxing getaway at your favorite fishing hole, or enjoying a barbeque with family and friends. Before you get to the point of banishing yourself indoors, try this all-natural approach to a safe and hazard-free bug spray with 100% pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils from the World Leader in Essential Oils®.

Items needed:

• Spray bottle, 8 oz.
• Distilled water, 4 oz.
• Unscented witch hazel, 4 oz.
• Thieves® essential oil blend
• Purification® essential oil blend
• Melaleuca alternifolia essential oil
• Citronella essential oil
• Lavender essential oil
• Lemon essential oil
• Peppermint essential oil
• Idaho tansy essential oil


• Fill an 8-oz. spray bottle with 4 oz. of distilled water
• Add 4 oz. of witch hazel
• Add 10 drops of Thieves, Purification, and Melaleuca alternifolia essential oils
• Add 5 drops of lemon, lavender, peppermint, Idaho tansy, and citronella essential oils
• Shake well before each use and spray a light layer on skin and clothing

This natural alternative to store-bought bug sprays will keep you free from chemicals and other unnatural ingredients—not to mention the pleasant aroma that will be with you as you enjoy the nature around you.

However, if by chance you find yourself outside without bug spray, Purification is an amazing after-bite reliever that minimizes itching and redness, so be sure to keep some handy wherever you go.

Please share your experience below. I would love to hear from you and get suggestions for other Young Living essential oils that you would use in your own bug spray.

—Marco Colindres III, YL Product Marketing Manager


  • Tonya January 22, 2015 - 3:02 pm Reply

    Do you have to use every single oil listed for the spray and are they all dog safe? I don’t have them all on hand and it would be $$ to buy them all for bug spray…

  • […] For more recipes using essential oils, also check out this blog from Young Living! […]

  • marcie April 14, 2014 - 3:21 am Reply

    I haven’t seen any mention of what might work to keep deer ticks away. Would love to know!

  • konzaprairie April 5, 2014 - 8:57 pm Reply

    Why are so many oils needed? I have had good success with just Purification, Peppermint and Lavender OR Palo Santo and Purification. Also it concerns me that Lemon is included. I know you said to spray on clothing but what if people were to spray it on their skin instead–photosynthesis! Is that the word? I mean the sensitivity to sunburn when you use citrus oils on the skin prior to going out in the sun. Thanks for these blogs though. Very informative.

    • Tanya May 22, 2014 - 2:55 pm Reply

      I was wondering the same thing but it smells amazing!

      • Suzanne Goulet July 2, 2014 - 12:01 pm Reply

        Tanya, the recipe and how to put it together is above.

    • Tessa May 24, 2014 - 5:36 pm Reply

      Photosynthesis is the process by which the sun turns light into energy. I believe you mean photosensitivity.

    • Carolyn Beaulieu July 2, 2014 - 6:10 am Reply

      How much do you use? Do you use just water, or do you use a carrier, like veg glycerin, and do you need witch hazel?

      • Suzanne Goulet July 2, 2014 - 12:00 pm Reply

        Carolyn the recipe is right above, including all the instructions.

  • Linda September 23, 2013 - 2:29 pm Reply

    I will be traveling to India and I need the best repellent for malaria and dengue fever mosquitoes. Thank you.

    • pepps July 15, 2014 - 11:44 am Reply

      It may be too late for your trip but look into Chlorine Dioxide Solution (also known as MMS). It has been used to cure malaria, amongst many other diseases.

  • Alisha August 13, 2013 - 1:27 pm Reply

    Is it safe then to use lemon or citrus fresh in this recipe when sprayed on the skin and in the sun?

  • Natasha Lee July 25, 2013 - 11:23 pm Reply

    Marco Colindres! I really need an answer to my comment. Please contact me directly if possible:

  • Natasha Lee July 25, 2013 - 11:21 pm Reply

    FYI Purification oil ( which contains citronella) is ALL you need to repel mosquitoes, flies, horseflies, and fleas and even ants. I happen to know this because it is the active ingredient in all horse products for Fly Spray. I have not idea why all these other oils are included in this blend when all you need is purification to handle the entire situation.

    The other oils listed may also have use against bugs – but not as strong and powerful as Purification. Purification also works on ants – it’s amazing!

  • nativetexangirl July 4, 2013 - 9:04 pm Reply

    I mixed this up today before we went to an Independence Day get together at a friend’s house. I only had a 4 oz. spray bottle so I cut the recipe in half and I do not have Idaho Tansy yet so I had to leave that one out. Several friends asked me to spray them also. We all loved the spray and no one got any mosquito bites even though we were outdoors 5 hours and there was not much of a breeze even. Loved it! Thanks for the recipe.

  • Myra July 1, 2013 - 6:45 pm Reply

    I am using Purification and believe it or not, Thieves cleaner, diluted with water for my horse! She loves the smell and the mosquito’s and flies are staying away!

  • Bonnie Johnson July 1, 2013 - 5:57 pm Reply


  • Andrea June 7, 2013 - 4:51 pm Reply

    You can use different oils. Someone I know only uses rosemary oil in water for herself and pure rosemary oil on her dogs for fleas. I’m going to try a mix of citronella, lemongrass, lavender, and rosemary. Other options include eucalyptus and tea tree.

  • Brenda Jasper Quandt June 3, 2013 - 6:32 pm Reply

    Will Citrus Fresh work in place of Citronella? Also what if I leave Idaho Tansy out? I dont have either on of those at the moment. I also don;t have any witch hazel… I am so close lol

    • Suzanne Goulet June 5, 2013 - 11:28 pm Reply

      Hi Brenda – no it won’t! Citronella is another name for Marigolds (the flowers) and this is completely different from the citrus oils! Marigolds have some of the strongest components that mosquitoes and other pests hate. I remember growing up and when working in the vegetable garden, we planted marigolds as a border. The dear don’t like it either! email me privately if you need someone to connect with and order:
      Thank you!

      • Bonnie Jackson March 25, 2014 - 9:02 pm Reply

        Calendula is the other name for Marigold, not Citronella. And the “deer” don’t like it either.

  • Susan Reeves May 15, 2013 - 7:47 pm Reply

    Does this need to be in a glass container or is a plastic spray bottle fine? I am wondering because I can not find bottles that are made of glass and don’t they all have plastic straws in the middle attached to the spray head? Confused

    • Shirley R June 28, 2013 - 1:15 am Reply

      Abundanthealth4u has the glass bottles, not sure about the plastic straws. I would imagine they are BPA free.

  • Cyfan May 8, 2013 - 11:05 am Reply

    I thought you had to be careful about sun exposure with lemon essential oil. If so, then does typical sunscreen take care of that issue or not?

    • Tanya May 22, 2014 - 2:57 pm Reply

      I have seen this question asked a couple of times and got on here to ask the same question. Hopefully they answer.

  • Devon Tl April 25, 2013 - 4:32 pm Reply

    Why isn’t citronella oil available on the express order list?

  • wonder April 23, 2013 - 12:06 am Reply

    I can’t find Wtich Hazel in Hong Kong’s drug stores. Any replacement for Witch Hazel can be used?

    • Mary May 29, 2014 - 8:23 am Reply

      Wal Mart

  • ponytails April 19, 2013 - 6:33 pm Reply

    where do you get witch Hazel?

    • Sue April 20, 2013 - 8:40 am Reply

      any drug store carries witch hazel – it’s typically in with the astringents like alcohol and hydrogen peroxide. :)

    • Mary May 29, 2014 - 8:24 am Reply

      @ ponytails. Wal Mart

  • Wintergreen April 16, 2013 - 12:01 pm Reply

    I am looking for a good mosquito repellent. West Nile is a threat in areas where people would not imagine it is. And the insects seem to be worse with milder winters, and more people and products coming from everywhere in the world. I appreciate the recipe and will post it in various places for other to see. Thank you for reminding me to get my spray bottles ready!

  • Ali April 13, 2013 - 8:52 am Reply

    Can I use these oils on my little dog, just spray him and his bed? Will this keep fleas away too?

    • Sue April 20, 2013 - 8:41 am Reply

      We use straight Purification on our dog – about 5 drops between his shoulder blades and he’s good for days. We see it as a natural (and healthier!) alternative to the toxic goo that is out there for flea control. :)

      • Audra May 4, 2013 - 9:33 am Reply

        I assume the dosage of drops would depend on the size of the dog? I have two under 15 pounds and one that weighs 89. Is Purification safe on cats?

        • Sue May 4, 2013 - 9:40 am Reply

          I don’t honestly know the answer to that, Audra. : It’s my impression that pharamceuticals designed for dogs put weight on the packaging/dosing b/c of concern for overdosing/toxicity. There is no such thing with YLEOs. You can always dot the Purification along the dog’s back (getting in between the layers of coat, of course) if you believe your 90lb fur-baby needs more. :)

          Our dog is a little over 30lbs, and 5 drops is sufficient. We live in a very low-to-no mosquito area (desert!); if we still lived in the Midwest, I’d likely use the same dosing, just daily. :)

        • Bethany Schwartz May 20, 2013 - 8:31 am Reply

          as i understand cats are more sensitive to oils and should be diluted with something such as the V6, a couple of my friends have done that, as well as using it in a diffuser. but nothing straight on the cats. This is what I have found in research and testing,

  • Cynthia Ann Axline Zerr April 13, 2013 - 5:43 am Reply

    what about termites. Anyone have advise on them?

  • Annette April 12, 2013 - 6:04 pm Reply

    what would you suggest for bed bugs and other creepy crawlies??

    • Catherine V April 13, 2013 - 3:38 am Reply

      I would suggest spraying with Purification for bedbugs and peppermint for creepy crawlies..

      • Kim April 14, 2013 - 1:47 pm Reply

        I would also suggest Eucalyptus Radiata.

  • kathy April 12, 2013 - 1:59 pm Reply

    In “Holistic Aroma Therapy for Animals” a comprensive Guide to the use of essential oils & hydrosols with animals, (available from Life Science Publishing ) ;a chapter warns of toxic effects on cats. as in
    melaleuca,citronella,undiluted peppermint,

    • kim April 14, 2013 - 1:48 pm Reply

      yes, be careful about cats – they cannot metabolize the essential oils the way humans, dogs, and most other animals can. I would not apply them directly to the cat. Aromatically, they should be fine, just do not apply directly to them like you would a dog.

      • Jamie April 6, 2014 - 7:57 pm Reply

        I have been trying to get a definitive answer on a preventative flea and tick program for cats….everyone comments on how important it is to not apply oils directly on cats, but not on what you should do? Can you address this? Can I dilute lavender and cedar wood? If so, by how much? Thanks so much!

  • Cheryl April 12, 2013 - 11:02 am Reply

    My horses are used to the oils, topically and the aroma in the barn. Would you recommend this mixture for horses?

  • Alexia April 12, 2013 - 10:40 am Reply

    Some of these oils aren’t on the “safe” list for children. Can some of these oils be left out or substituted with safer oils?

    • Catherine V April 13, 2013 - 3:39 am Reply

      I have used all of these oils with my children, ages 9 & 11.. as long as they are diluted, which they are in the spray bottle, they are safe.

  • Elaine April 11, 2013 - 4:46 pm Reply

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this recipe and have used for two summers now and will do it again this year…. do I need to add something else to keep ticks away? we are in deer tick country.

    • Talena May 5, 2013 - 8:12 am Reply

      I saw another blog entry on ticks that said Palo Santo is great for repelling and killing ticks. I’m not sure if you can just add Palo Santo to this recipe or if you need a separate spray. Suggestions?

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