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How to Keep Mosquitoes Away Without Bug Spray: The Best 3 Methods

The summer months are progressing, which means the temperatures are getting hotter and the humidity is increasing. If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you already know these are the perfect conditions for those pesky mosquitoes to come out and chew up your arms, legs, and any other exposed skin.

Although there are tons of bug sprays on the market to help fight this summer problem, they’re not always effective and sometimes even contain chemicals that can be harmful to our health if they’re ingested or rubbed on the skin.

It may seem impossible to get rid of mosquitoes while simultaneously avoiding harsh chemicals and ingredients. Lucky for you, we’ve outlined a few of our favorite tips and DIY concoctions so you can learn how to keep mosquitoes away without bug spray.

How to Keep Mosquitoes Away Without Bug Spray

1. Oils

Certain oils contain specific properties that naturally deter mosquitoes and keep them from nibbling at your skin. Below we’ve listed a few of the best oils that you can use to keep mosquitoes away without bug spray.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil, also known as melaleuca oil, is a great natural remedy and replacement for bug spray. It’s generally known for its antiseptic, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory characteristics, which help fight infection.

However, in recent studies, it’s been suggested that tea tree oil may also be a simple way to repel mosquitoes without bug spray.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree extracts have been proven to contain insecticide and repellant-like properties. Additionally, although it’s safe for humans to use on the skin, tea tree oil has toxic effects on certain types of insects.

Although more research needs to be done on its true effectiveness, if you’re looking for a natural remedy that keeps mosquitoes away without bug spray, tea tree oil is a perfect place to start.

Cinnamon Oil

Cinnamon oil, extracted from cinnamon bark, is a common ingredient used in natural replacements for bug sprays. It makes a great bug spray replacement because cinnamon oil contains powerful ingredients that can not only fight against mosquitoes but also works to kill mosquito eggs. This means that cinnamon oil helps eradicate the problem before it’s even created.

Cinnamon oil contains ingredients like eugenol, cinnamyl acetate, anethole, and more, which mosquitoes instinctually stay away from. So, if cinnamon oils are around (on the skin, in a diffuser, etc.) it’s likely that you’ll be keeping mosquitoes away without the need for chemical bug sprays.

Eucalyptus and Lemon Oil

Another simple method of keeping mosquitoes away without bug spray is with the use of eucalyptus and lemon oil. Not only is this natural repellant useful, but it also smells incredible, which is something that can’t be said about most bug sprays.

Eucalyptus and lemon oil is different from the other oils listed above because its not actually essential oil. It’s extracted from an Australian plant known as lemon-scented gum and has certain components that make them a natural mosquito repellant.

Eucalyptus and lemon oil’s effectiveness has been tested in many different scenarios and it has been concluded that it gives about five to seven hours of mosquito protection.


The oils from the lavender plant are known to be one of the most powerful natural mosquito repellants. It contains a compound, called linalool, that creates that relaxing smell we all know and love. However, for mosquitos, the smell of lavender is anything but pleasant.

It works similarly to DEET (an active chemical used in most bug sprays) and overloads the sensitive smelling senses of a mosquito to help keep them away.


Some studies have shown that lavender oil has a 93% repellant rate against mosquitoes and is a key ingredient in many homeopathic bug sprays.

2. Garden Plants to Help Keep Mosquitoes Away

Sometimes, keeping mosquitoes away is as simple as growing certain plants in your garden. If you’re someone who has a green thumb and is constantly plagued by mosquitoes, keep reading to learn about what your next garden addition should be.


In recent studies, catnip has proven to be up to ten times more effective in repelling mosquitoes than DEET. It contains its own repellant compound that triggers a pain response in most mosquitoes.

It’s likely that catnip has natural properties that keep insects from eating it, which in turn helps keep insects away from anyone who’s around it.

There are a few ways to use catnip as a replacement for bug spray. First, you can take the leaves of the plant and rub them between your hands and on any exposed skin. Another great way to make sure you get the full effects of this plant is by turning it into an essential oil, which helps prolong it’s repellant capabilities.


Garlic is a unique plant that can be used to keep away a variety of insects (including mosquitoes). Garlic has an amino acid that converts to a smelly substance when crushed or chopped, giving it a sort of “garlic breath,” so to speak.


Because of its odor, garlic is a natural insect repellent that they can’t build a resistance to. The best way to use garlic to keep mosquitoes away without bug spray is by combining a few minced cloves with mineral oil and allowing them to soak for at least 24 hours.

Once it’s done soaking, you can mix the oil with two cups of water and a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice before straining it and adding it to a spray bottle for easy use.

3. DIY Natural Spray Repellant

Now that we’ve gone through some of the ingredients used to keep mosquitoes away without bug spray, it’s time to learn how to combine oils, herbs, and more to make your own natural repellants.


If you don’t have any oils on hand, creating an herbal remedy is an easy and effective way to help keep mosquitoes away. You can use any of the plants listed above as well as basil and mint, if that’s all you have on hand.

Fresh Herbs

One way to make an herbal mosquito repellant is by using fresh herbs and leaves. A great example of a fresh-scented natural bug spray uses mint, basil, and lavender leaves. You can choose to use just one of these ingredients or combine them.

The first step to making a natural bug spray is to choose your herbs and chop them up. Once they’re chopped, they should be placed in a cup of boiling water for a few minutes before allowing the water to cool.

Once cool, strain the now herbal water, add it to one cup of witch hazel, and shake. Lastly, place your new mosquito repellant in a spray bottle for easy access and use.

Dried Herbs

If you don’t have any fresh herbs on hand, don’t worry! Dried ones are just as effective when creating a natural mosquito repellant.

Dried CLoves

All you need to do is boil one cup of water and add a few tablespoons of dried cloves, peppermint, catnip, and/or lavender. Once it’s boiled, let it cool, and strain. Before adding it to your spray bottle, make sure to combine your mixture with witch hazel or isopropyl alcohol to activate.


Any of the oils listed above can be used on their own to help keep mosquitoes away. Simply take the oils and rub them on any exposed skin, making sure to reapply every couple of hours.

If you’re not a fan of lathering up your skin with these fragrant oils, you can also use them in combination with a few other ingredients to make your own natural replacement for bug spray.

First, gather a four-ounce spray bottle that you can use whenever mosquitoes are around. Then, pick your favorite naturally repelling oils, and fill it with two ounces of distilled water (or boiling water that has cooled).

Into the water, add one ounce of witch hazel and a total of 30-50 drops of your oil. (So, if you’re using three types of oils, make sure to only do 10-15 drops of each). Next, give your bottle a good shake, and voila! You have a skin-safe, non-toxic, natural bug spray replacement.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do all the natural bug sprays use witch hazel?

Witch hazel is a common ingredient in natural bug sprays, as it’s used as a lighter replacement for alcohol. It has a mild scent along with anti-inflammatory properties to help calm any bug bites you may already have (and prevent more from occurring).

If you don’t have any witch hazel, you can also use apple cider vinegar, isopropyl alcohol, or vodka (yes, vodka), in its place.

How can I soothe the mosquito bites I already have?

The best way to stop the itching from your mosquito bites is to avoid scratching them. If this feels like an impossible feat, you can apply over-the-counter antihistamine or corticosteroid cream to reduce the swelling and hopefully calm the itching.

For an easy home remedy, you can also make a paste of baking soda and water to rub on your itchy bites. Apply this mixture a few times a day until the itching resolves.

Wrapping up How to Keep Mosquitoes Away Without Bug Spray

The joy of spending time outside in the months with clear skies and warm weather shouldn’t be reduced by a few annoying mosquitoes. And if you’re someone who pays attention to the ingredients they use on their skin, you know that most bug sprays aren’t always the best.

Now that you know more about how to keep mosquitoes away without bug spray, it’s time to get crafting! From herbal concoctions to spa-like essential oils, there are plenty of ways to make sure you’re protecting yourself from both mosquitoes and the harmful chemicals that repel them.

Want to learn about our favorite picks for store-bought natural repellants? Make sure to check out our post on which repellants are the best!