Homemade Outdoor & Camping Spray {Bugs HATE It!}

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Bugs HATE these essential oils, which means you'll love them! Make your own DIY all-natural outdoor and camping spray with this EASY recipe!

Did you know there are some essential oils that bugs HATE? I’ll admit I was skeptical, until my friend Beth whipped up a homemade outdoor spray for us while in Florida and it WORKED. And if it works on those ginormous Florida critters I know it’ll work on just about anything! Which also proves that DIY bloggers can and will try to DIY just about anything, outdoor spray included.

Just chillin’, BUG FREE!

I’ll be honest, I never thought a homemade outdoor spray would work, let alone work WELL, so color me impressed when this stuff performed as well as the chemical laden versions. It’s all I’ve used on myself and the kids this summer, and I fell great knowing it’s natural and I’m not spraying chemicals all over my family.

I’ve posted the basic recipe with some add-ons listed below to tweak it to your needs! The more drops of essential oil you use, the better it will work. I love how you can customize it!


distilled water

Witch Hazel

Purification essential oil

4 oz. glass spray bottle

additional oils such as Citronella, Lavender and Peppermint (optional)


  1. Add 15-20 drops of Purification to the bottle.
  2. Fill the bottle 2/3 of the way with distilled water and the rest of the way with Witch Hazel as a dispersant.

It’s perfect for taking along on hikes, day trips, to playgrounds, amusement parks, and while traveling (spray your luggage, EEEK!) Yup, I’ve even used it on myself in hotels just in case. You can also use it on school bags and backpacks, especially if you add some Rosemary Essential Oil or Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) oil, both of which are hated by critters that hangout in school. ISN’T THIS A LOVELY TOPIC TODAY? Yeesh.  Create a calmer home by spraying the area to be treated and/or leave cottonballs with the oils in areas where unwanted things enter the home.

You can even use some essential oils on your pets, though the dilution is much different than for humans so if you do so please make sure to find a trusted resource for that information. I’ve heard they can work wonders when used correctly.

I also like to diffuse Citronella Oil on the deck. Keeps the bugs away and the glowing diffuser is even slightly romantic. True story.

My favorite essential oils that BUGS HATE (those marked with a * are available in the Young Living Premium Starter Kit):

  • *Purification
  • Citronella
  • Lemongrass
  • *Peppermint (ants really hate this one)!
  • *Lavender
  • Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree Oil)
  • Rosemary
  • Patchouli
  • Geranium

Plus if you forgot to put on your outdoor spray and the buggers got one up on you, add a dab of lavender or purification to that spot. You’ll thank me for this!

Bugs HATE these essential oils, which means you'll love them! Make your own DIY all-natural outdoor and camping spray with this EASY recipe!

These guys are too precious not to protect, and to do so naturally makes my heart sing. Yup, we’re rocking the pajamas in the Pamlico Sound here. And our essential oils. LIFE IS GOOD.

Homemade DIY bug spray using essential oils (and which oils to use to repel various bugs such as mosquitoes, flies, ticks, lice and more!) Only 3 ingredients, and it WORKS! makinglemonadeblog.com #essentialoils

All these oils (and way more) are available through my Young Living page. In fact, Purification, Peppermint, and Lavender oils are all in the Premium Starter Kit so you can make this spray with the oils in just that one kit. Adding in Citronella, Lemongrass, or any of the other essential oils listed above only ups the bug-repelling power! Here’s how to get started with Young Living Oils, and if you have any questions, just ask!

Now go forth outdoors, my friends! Plus, did I tell you that you smell amazing? ‘Cause essential oils smell WAY better than that other brand of chemical-filled bug spray, so there’s that, too. Happy Summer!

Information and statements regarding health claims on this blog have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Bugs HATE these essential oils, which means you'll love them! Make your own DIY all-natural outdoor and camping spray with this EASY recipe!

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  1. I’m so happy you shared this again Carrie! I just bought a spray bottle to make some with my Young Living Purification oil today. Do you think a regular dollar store spray bottle would work too? Can’t wait to try this tomorrow. The bugs ate me alive tonight!

  2. Awesome. I live in mosquito central (better known as Miami). I have all these on hand so I need to make a batch ASAP.

    1. I’m in st Augustine. This recipe doesn’t work for mosquitos or sand gnats. I made 2 variations (just purification and one with the 3 recommended)

  3. Carrie, why do you need the Witch Hazel? I have been using Purification and filtered water alone and also Purification, Lavender, and Peppermint and filtered water alone and it’s been working for us-no chiggers, mosquitoes, or ticks. We always shake it hard first though. But I’m open to the witch hazel if I need it for a reason. Great website! Wish I could write like you–I’m just about to start my own YL website.

    1. Hi Sheila! Great question. I’ve used it with just the water and it seems to work but apparently the witch hazel acts as a dispersant for the oil to “stick” to since EOs don’t mix with water. I now use the witch hazel, but in a pinch wouldn’t hesitate to use just water. If it’s working without it then I wouldn’t change it. 🙂 And YAY on your site, it’s a fantastic way to share YL info and I think you’ll love blogging!

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    1. Kim, you can definitely use most essential oils on animals but there’s a different dilution needed depending on the type of animal, specific oil, and breed. I don’t have animals that go outdoors so I don’t feel confidant in giving the best information on that, but there’s tons of info out there if you search Google for citronella essential oil and your type of animal. Hope that helps, let me know if you find out the answer!

  5. How much water do you use? I’d like to try this, but not knowing how much your “2 parts, 1 part” measurements are, I’m likely to make it too strong or too weak.

    Thanks – I’m looking forward to trying it!


      1. Oh good! I kept it ambiguous to account for different sized bottles. I use a 4oz. bottle so I use 2oz water and 1 oz witch hazel (plus the drops of oil).

        1. I’m getting ready to make me a batch to take on vacation. Your first comment about how to make this says 2/3 water and 1/3 witch hazel. Which i was assuming was 2/3 c of water and 1/3 c of hazel. This one is different? I’m just slightly confused!

          1. I meant to fill it 2/3 with water and 1/3 with witch hazel. 🙂

  6. A few quick questions about using the essential oils to repel mosquitos. What is Purification Oil, and where do you get it? Do I have to send away for it?And what’s the consensus on Witch Hazel- needed, or not? Actually, where do you all get your essential oils, anyway? Does a pharmacy carry them? I’d prefer not to get them through the mail.

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  9. mosquitos hate vanilla essence…proven 2 summers in a room full of them (like 20). I’m looking for the flies represent and saw the coin in water glass one so thank you!

  10. im a young living member too and purification was not in my starter kit i do have the other oils, do i have to add the purification??

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