Ten Natural Insect Repellent Solutions

| Modified: Jun 22, 2020
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Let’s face it, we love to be attractive - that is, until insects find us irresistible! Home remedies can be used to deter insects naturally. Additionally there are plenty of things we can do to reduce our beauty to bugs without compromising it to others. Attention to cleanliness routines, avoiding certain body care products and making your own insect repellents are all great ways to enjoy the outdoors without letting the insects enjoy you!

How to Make Yourself Unattractive to Insects

While people are not fond of sweat, insects often are! Helping your body to regulate its sweating through alkalizing can help. Alkalizing can also reduce your body odor, which is something else the insects can be attracted to.

1. Alkalizing drinks

One tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water each morning can help to alkalize your body. Alternately, squeeze a fresh lemon into a glass of water for a refreshing and alkalizing start to your day. To either you can add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda if you wish. Some find it makes these drinks easier to take while providing the added health benefits of bicarbonates.

2. Chlorophyll Supplements

Chlorophyll can neutralize body odor, which makes you less interesting to insects. Tablets or liquid chlorophyll are usually taken.

3. Start the Day Clean and Scent Free

On days you know you will be dealing with lots of bugs, start with a shower with unscented soap. If you find you find that you deal with deodorant failure during the day, keep a spray bottle of alcohol in your purse or back pack. Spritz your underarms to kill bacteria and reduce odor.

4. Brewer's Yeast

Brewer’s yeast is a nutritional supplement which some claim helps to reduce attractiveness to insects. Pet owners often give it to their dogs to make them less hospitable to insects. Brewer’s yeast is high in B vitamins, so its effect may be similar to that of a B complex supplement.

5. B Complex Supplements

Whether or not supplementing with B1 (thiamine) can reduce your attractiveness to insects is controversial. But taking a B complex supplement is an easy way to find out for yourself. B complex often improves energy  and overall health so it isn’t a bad supplement to consider anyway. It is not recommended to take only B1. The B vitamins work together and taking them in a combination supplement protects against imbalances in the system.

6.  Reduce Sugar Consumption

Reducing your sugar intake can make you less sweet to insects. Whether it is the sugar itself or the acidifying effect on the body that attracts insects is not clear, but cutting back your sugar intake is generally a good step in improving your own overall health, anyway.

7. Natural Insect Repellent Spray

  • 8 ounces witch hazel
  • 2 ounces water
  • 25 drops each – lemongrass, geranium, peppermint, cedar
  • Mix together and pour into a spray bottle.
  • Shake spray well before each use
  • Spray your skin and clothes hourly when you are outside

8. Insect Repellent Lotion Bar

Lotion bars are fun to make and moisturize your skin while deterring pests. If you add the optional zinc oxide (non-nanoparticle) you will have a lotion bar that also doubles are a mild sunscreen bar.

  • 2/3 cup beeswax
  • 2/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup shea butter
  • 1/3 cup cocoa butter
  • (2 T. zinc oxide - optional)
  • 30 drops each – citronella and lemongrass essential oils
  • 15 drops each geranium essential oils
  • 15 peppermint essential oil
  • Melt the wax, coconut oil, shea butter and cocoa butter in a double boiler. When they are melted together, remove from heat and stir in the zinc oxide (avoid breathing the dust!) 
  • Stir in essential oils
  • Pour into silicone molds.
  • Cool. Remove and place into containers.
  • Apple the lotion to your skin before going out and after swimming.

9. Avoid Scented Products

Hair products, body care products and perfumes can be too much of a good thing. Bugs are attracted to the scents of many body care care products and flowery perfumes.

Consider natural body products that are unscented or scented with essential oils that insects do not like. (Lavender, peppermint, tea tree, geranium, and lemongrass to name a few!)

10. Wear Cotton Clothes

Cotton clothes breathe better and are less likely to retain odors, especially body odors that insects enjoy. Ideally you will wash your clothes with unscented laundry soap. A vinegar rinse is a good idea too.

Wearing solid and light colored clothing will make insects that land on your easier to find and eliminate as well.

Do you have a way to keep the bugs away? Please send us some feedback!

Art Solbrig Repellent

Posted by Art (California) on 06/21/2020 727 posts
5 out of 5 stars

Now that Summer has arrived and we may be spending more time outdoors, I make a mix of vodka and clove oil and put it in a small two ounce spray bottle that I can carry in my pocket to act as an insect repellent. It probably isn't as strong as commercial products, but it is probably much safer than some. I don't mind the smell of clove essential oil so this is fine for me. If I want to boost the repellent effect, I might add some peppermint essential oil to the mix. I use about 15 drops of clove oil per ounce of vodka. If I am going to add peppermint oil, I will just add 5 drops per ounce to the clove mix. This mix can also deter ants.

I make a similar mix using cinnamon and/or peppermint essential oil as an ant deterrent that I spray on food prep areas regularly until ants no longer appear.

A 50% saturated solution of borax will kill ants. I make a saturated solution then dilute it further with an equal amount of water and spray ants with this mix, which they then take back to the colony. If you make the solution too strong, the ants may not make it back to the colony.


B Vitamins

Posted by Hercy (Brownwood, Texas, Usa) on 07/19/2013
5 out of 5 stars

B12 Liquid Sublingual formula with B2, B3, B5, B6 works for me. The first few days a renegade mosquito would go ahead & bite... by the forth day, was free of bites. By night, I required another dose, so the B12 formula only lasts about 8 hours on me. Note: A drop of the Liquid B12 formula applied directly to a mosquito bite will give immediate relief.

Brewer's Yeast

Posted by Jholl (Louisville, Kentucky) on 03/28/2012 25 posts
5 out of 5 stars

I went canoeing with a friend on a river. We were attacked by these black flies. They bit her numerous times and completely stayed away from me. I had been taking probably 5-6 tablets of brewer's yeast tablets for about a week prior to the trip. I later learned they are a great source of b vitamins. In any case, I felt very bad for my friend. But, it sure worked for me. I do not know how well it works for other insects. I have been told it puts off an odor that insects detest.


Posted by Jim (Anna, Tx, Usa) on 03/28/2011
5 out of 5 stars

Chlorophyll will keep mosquitos and other bugs away. I have found that by taking a small amount of liquid chlorophyll ( 1/2 tsp ) or a capsule or two that mosquitos are no longer a problem. That applies to most mosquitos. About 3 yrs. ago we had a rare strain in Texas that it would not keep off. By taking the chlorophyll we have no problem when fishing or sitting outside in the evening. It even worked in Minnesota on a fishing trip. It also helps with body odor and that is a plus in the hot summers around here. It takes 2 or 3 days to get built up enough in the system, so use your bug spray until then.


Posted by Judy (Concord, NH) on 06/02/2005
5 out of 5 stars

My husband and I use garlic in just about everything we eat. We have just started juicing (vegetables) and have found that garlic helps to tolerate the taste better. Also my husband works outdoors and he is finding that he is being less bothered by black flies and other nagging insects. Also for you dog lovers.... we crush about 4 or 5 garlic cloves and boil them in approximately 1 gallon of water. You strain and let cool down. Then put in a spray bottle and lightly spray your dog (as often as needed. Helps keep fleas and ticks away. In a more concentrated form, works great as a flea dip. I'm thinking that whereas garlic has antifungal and antiviral properties, it would also be great for animals with ear problems...ie yeast infections etc. If anybody has any input on that, I'd be very interested. I also want to say that my husband has slightly high blood pressure as well as his cholesterol levels are high. At the end of june he gets retested, and if he has been able to lower those, we will owe his success to garlic and of course a healthier diet. Hope my input helps someone out there.

Geranium Oil

Posted by Mama To Many (Middle, Tennessee, Usa) on 04/19/2013
5 out of 5 stars

My four year old reacts badly to insect bites and we are surrounded by tick infested woods! He had a very bad reaction to a tick bite on the inside of his upper thigh. Under the bite there was a hard knot that was jelly bean size. The lymph nodes nearby were swollen and redness extended in a circle around the bit and down his leg for six inches. I alternated organic peppermint essential oil and organic lavender essential oil neat (not diluted) every couple of hours the first day. It was hugely improved by the next day. I continued several times a day for another day. Now it is about gone and the gland swelling is reducing and I am treating it morning and night. I am giving him garlic throughout the day for a natural antibiotic just in case and will continue that for two weeks and maybe all through tick season.

Cedar essential oil and geranium essential oil, mixed with other oil is a good tick repellent. Last summer I put 2 cups of water and 20 drops of geranium in a spray bottle. We would spray children before they went outside. (It won't last all day, unfortunately. ) It really helped. My son sprayed his body and upper legs but not his shoes and socks. He stepped into a deer tick nest and had 100 ticks crawling all over his legs, but none went up past the sock line.

Thyme essential oil will kill a tick that is on you. One drop. (Lavender is safer, but slower for small children since thyme is very strong.)

Last summer my teenage son had a whole bunch (maybe 30?) of tick bites on a leg (he didn't spray! ) They became pimple like with white heads and the leg was red. I used charcoal poultices and chamomile poultices on the leg and it helped very quickly. I would mix either with warm water and wrap in a paper towel or cloth and attach to the leg with plastic wrap and then masking tape. I would use charcoal on the leg overnight. This worked very well to heal the leg.

Posted by Sp (Nashville, Tn) on 06/04/2010
5 out of 5 stars

I read that Geranium essential oil is a good to repel mosquitoes.

I tried this out and it really works! It also smells good. In the summertime, I always get eaten by these blood suckers and hate spraying chemical on myself. I cup my hand and filled it with water and mix in a drop or 2 of the Geranium essential oil. Rub it on my arms/legs/neck. You can buy Geranium oil at a health food store.

Lemon Oil

Posted by Anaïs (Paris, France) on 06/06/2010
5 out of 5 stars

Another essential oil against insects: lemon oil is a great ant repellant. I make a line dropping it in front of our garden door once a month, and they stay away!


Posted by Shirley (Missouri) on 04/02/2008
5 out of 5 stars

A simple mosquito repellant 'Get a large bottle of Listerine, pour into a 4-ounce spray bottle and use around areas outside. It works great and it's safe. It kills them instantly and will last a couple of days. Spray around food tables, play areas, standing water, anywhere you will be working or playing outside. Spray around door & window frames. Don't spray directly onto wood doors but do spray the frame around the door. This would also be a good thing to add to survival kits.

Replied by April
Memphis, Tn
1 out of 5 stars


Oregano Oil

Posted by Myway (Usa) on 06/25/2016
5 out of 5 stars

In an effort to ward off biting insects while gardening, I mixed 1 drop of oil of oregano and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, spread over arms, neck and legs. Not one bite while pulling weeds for a couple hours.