Essential oils to repel mosquitos – 8 recipes & blends

by Alison Angold CIDESCO ITEC

Essential oils to repel mosquitos

The warm balmy evenings of summer, outdoor dining and spending more time in the garden – all sound so lovely, and something we look forward to all year, but, pesky mosquitos, or other bugs and insects dive bombing our table and our skin, can put a real damper on this time!

Shop bought mosquito repellents or mosquito bite creams, might work, but can often contain alcohols, additives and synthetic fragrances, often causing more irritation to the skin, plus they often have unpleasant aromas. However, they do often contain essential oils – so why not avoid all the synthetics and additives and use pure essential oil blends for mosquitos?

The most well known essential oil to repel mosquitos and other insects is citronella, but did you know that there are other effective oils that repel them too?  And when combined and blended together can give even better protection against bites and stings?  All at the same time as making your skin and your space smell wonderful!

The best essential oils to repel mosquitos

  • Lavender
  • Lemongrass
  • Citronella
  • Eucalyptus

The chemical make-up of these essential oils all mask the aromas that mosquitos are attracted to.

The best essential oils for mosquito bites

  • Cedarwood
  • Melissa
  • Thyme
  • Tea-Tree
  • Lime
  • White Camphor

These essential oils all have cooling and soothing properties to reduce the itching of a mosquito or insect bite or sting.

Other useful oils for mosquitos

  • Benzoin
  • Bergamot
  • Chamomile
  • Clary Sage

These essential oils all have anti-inflammatory and soothing properties.

The best essential oils for mosquitos

Lavender

Lavender is such a good all-round essential oil for the skin.  It calms and soothes irritated skin conditions as well as having antiseptic qualities, so useful for healing the skin, after a mosquito or insect bite.  Due to its chemical constituents, it acts a good repellent to mosquitos and makes a useful floral scented addition to the other more medicinal fragrances.

Lemongrass

Lemongrass is classed as a citrus oil, and citrus oils typically make good insect repellents. The light, top note oil, has a chemical make-up and fragrance that will mask the odours that mosquitos are attracted to, so makes an effective addition to mosquito repellent recipes.

Citronella

Another citrus note oil that is commonly and widely used to repel mosquitos and other bugs.  Citronella essential oil is extracted from the grass, and due its light lemony aroma it blends well with other mosquito repellent essential oils to make a great insect repellent aroma!

(Avoid topical application during pregnancy)

Eucalyptus

Just the aroma of this oil, tells you that its going to be good at repelling mosquitos and other insects!  Eucalyptus is a ‘parasiticide’ essential oil, which means that is has the ability to kill parasites (living organisms).  This, along with its chemical make-up, makes it an effective insect repellent.  Furthermore, its medicinal aroma blends well with the other citrus based oils in this group.

(Eucalyptus is incompatible with homeopathic treatments)

Cedarwood

Cedarwood is an antiseptic essential oil that is good at calming itching so very useful for treating bites and stings.  The antiseptic properties means that any bites and stings will be soothed and heal more effectively.  Blend this woody scent with a lighter citrus or floral fragrance.

(Avoid during pregnancy)

Melissa

Melissa, also known as lemon balm, is cooling, and soothing on the stings and bites.  It has anti-inflammatory properties so calms the inflammation of a mosquito bite and reduce the itching.

(Avoid during pregnancy and only use in small amounts)

Thyme

The antiseptic properties of thyme will help heal a mosquito bite or other insect stings while reducing and soothing the itching.

(Avoid during pregnancy, and for those with high blood pressure)

Tea-tree

Tea-tree has very similar properties to Thyme, in that it is antiseptic and has good healing properties for itchy or inflamed skin conditions.  It will also be cooling on an itchy mosquito bite.

Lime

A lovely citrus scented essential oil that has anti-inflammatory qualities, so is good for reducing itching, cooling and healing a mosquito bite or other insect bites and stings.

White Camphor

Camphor essential oil is often found in shop bought mosquito repellent sprays as it acts as insect repellent as well as reducing itching on the skin after a mosquito bite.

(Avoid topical use during pregnancy)

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Essential oil mosquito repellent spray

This is an ideal light spray to use on the skin to repel mosquitos.  Use a fine spray bottle and spray onto exposed skin from about 10 inches away, so that you don’t get soaked but still benefit from the mosquito repellent properties of the essential oils.  The use of witch-hazel allows the more effective dispersal of the essential oils, rather than just using water.

  • 25ml Witch-hazel (or vodka)
  • 75ml Water
  • 15 drops Citronella
  • 15 drops Lavender
  • 10 drops Eucalyptus

Essential oil mosquito repellent body oil

A lovely alternative to use to not only nourish your skin and give it a glow but keep those pesky mosquitos at bay.  Apply a light layer to your skin before venturing outdoors.  You can use it on its own or mix some with your normal body lotion, for a less oily version.

  • 50ml Sweet almond oil
  • 7 drops Lavender
  • 7 drops Lemongrass
  • 6 drops Bergamot

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Essential oil mosquito repellent tea light candle

Unscented soy wax tea lights can be transformed into mosquito repellent tea lights. Simply light them to allow a little wax to melt.  Once there is some melted wax, add some drops of mosquito repellent essential oils.  Either continue burning them or allow them to set and you have your own tailor made, fragrant mosquito repellent tea lights!

You can then use these tea lights to make these pretty candle jars.  

This looks so pretty when entertaining outside, as well as getting the benefits of the essential oils  – create a few to dot around your outdoor space.

  • Mason jar or similar
  • Fill with warm water
  • Add in a few springs of rosemary, thyme and some lemon and lime slices – or whatever fruit and herbs you have around.
  • Add some drops of the mosquito repellent essential oils to the water, herbs and fruit – Lemongrass, eucalyptus, thyme lime work well.
  • Top with the homemade tea light

essential oil Mosquito bite lotion #1

This essential oil lotion is an ideal alternative to relieve the itching of mosquito bites.  This one is ideal to use on the first few days of receiving mosquito bites as the oils specifically target intense itching and can start the healing process of the bite.

  • 50ml A plain body or hand lotion – the plainer the better, so the complex chemicals of the essential oils are not altered.
  • 7 drops Thyme
  • 7 drops Lavender
  • 6 drops Tea Tree

Essential oil Mosquito bite lotion #2

Calming and soothing lotion for mosquito bites.  This is a good alternative with a ‘woodier’ more calming and soothing blend.

  • 50ml Plain hand or body lotion
  • 7 drops Benzoin
  • 7 drops Chamomile
  • 6 drops Cedarwood

Diffuser blends for repelling mosquitos

A diffuser or particularly an essential oil burner is ideal to use to repel mosquitos and other bugs when in an outdoor space.  A diffuser can give a constant stream of fragrance, while a burner uses a tea light which looks very pretty and compliments outdoor spaces at night, and will release just enough of the fragrance not to over power any guests you may have!  Any of the essential oils mentioned in this article can be used, however these blends work particularly well together.

Lavender & Lemongrass

Citronella, Eucalyptus & Orange

Thyme, Tea Tree & Citronella

How do mosquito repellent essential oils work

Each essential oil is made up of different complex chemicals. The particular chemicals and molecules that these essential oils contain, simply mask the smells that the mosquitos are attracted to.   To repel mosquitos and other bugs it is the essential oil that is needed rather then just the plant.  Using the lemongrass essential oil, will be far more effective than simply using the lemongrass stalks.

It is also worth noting that while warming the oils, either by way of a burner or candle, or applying to our skin, which in itself will warm the oils, will release the fragrances of the essential oils, thus bringing them into the air to repel the mosquito, as the aromas evaporate, which they will do after about 2 hours, the effects wear off.  It is important to replenish whatever method you are using after this time, to ensure continued protection.

Precautions of essential oils for mosquitos

Most essential oils are safe to use on the skin in small amounts as long as they are blended with a carrier substance.

Do not use essential oils neat on the skin – apart from a dab of tea tree, that can be applied directly to a mosquito bite.  

Some essential oils cannot be used topically during pregnancy; Citronella, Cedarwood, Thyme, Melissa, White Camphor.

About the Author
Alison Angold is a fully qualified (certified) beauty therapist, massage therapist and aromatherapist from the UK. She has over 25 years experience in this industry and has worked in a variety of beauty salons, spa’s as well as running her own successful beauty and massage business. Her career has allowed her to treat many, many clients, with skincare concerns, medical conditions, and a whole variety of other ailments and issues, that has enabled her to work closely with essential oils, prescribing specific blends for these clients to help with these conditions. Her qualifications in the use of essential oils and aromatherapy, allow her to share this knowledge with others, in a safe, reliable way.