DIY Bug Repellent with Lavender Essential Oil

Posted by Tina Tuminella on

Repelled by the thought of a Do It Yourself bug spray? (See what I did there?) Does the idea belong in the category of “things you thought you’d never make at home?” Perhaps, but lavender essential oil is the perfect key ingredient in making your own bug spray. The recipe is quite simple, plus it’s economical and adaptable: you can choose between rubbing on or spraying on.

Many bug sprays are chock-full of chemicals and smell bad. Making your own spray with essential oils eliminates those two concerns and gives you added aromatic benefits. Homemade bug spray is also a safe choice for young kids and pregnant people.


Walking [in the woods] One Day….in the Merry Merry Month of May!

During this past year of quarantining, taking walks and hiking became an act of salvation. Walking outdoors provided a place to clear the mind and exercise without anxiety, and in the early, pre-vaccine days, hiking outside was one of the only truly safe activities to partake in. Even though we are in a better place than last year this springtime, we now have other kinds of bugs to avoid: actual, real bugs. The creepy crawly or buzzy kind.

Lavender oil is thought to be effective in repelling adult mosquitos (as found in an NIH animal study), but it’s not the only one. Other essential oils traditionally recommended for bug-repellent properties are citronella, lemongrass, rosemary, geranium, spearmint, thyme, and clove. We are (ahem) biased perhaps, but want to recommend two recipes using lavender oil.


Rub On Insect Repellent (recipe courtesy of Don’t Waste the Crumbs)

Ingredients and supplies:

  • Carrier oil, such as almond, jojoba, argan, or avocado oil
  • 10-20 drops of lavender essential oil
  • Small bottle or jar


  1. Add 2 tablespoons of carrier oil in your bottle or jar. Add in 10-20 drops of lavender essential oil.
  2. Shake your container well and rub in a small amount of oil on the skin. Tah-dah! Easy Peasy.
    Caution: Avoid eyes and mouth when applying repellent. In case of a reaction, wash skin immediately with soap and water.


Spray On Insect Repellent (recipe courtesy of Don’t Waste the Crumbs)

Ingredients and supplies:

  • 1 tsp carrier oil, such as almond, jojoba, argan, or avocado oil
  • 15-25 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 1 tsp witch hazel or vodka
  • 1 ½ Tbsp distilled water
  • Small spray bottle


  1. In a 2 ounce bottle, add the 1 1/2 tablespoons of distilled water, 1 teaspoon of carrier oil, 1 teaspoon of vodka or witch hazel, and 15-25 drops of lavender essential oil.
  2. Shake well and spray on skin. (Double or triple these amounts if you want to have more for a weekend camping trip or if you want to douse the whole fam.)
    Caution: Avoid spraying repellent near your eyes and mouth. In case of a reaction, wash skin immediately with soap and water.


Wild and Wonderful Trails to Explore


Now that you’re ready to go, the next question becomes “Where?” Luckily, here in Southern West Virginia, there are a plethora of choices of where to go walking in the woods. Our entire state is filled with natural beauty, and we are gifted with the choice of so many beautiful and well-maintained parks. West Virginia offers three national parks, twelve state parks, not to mention a host of local parks.

All Trails is a favorite app of ours, since it’s a) user friendly b) free and c) offers detailed maps. You can search by city, park, or trail name, plus there’s a filter option to tailor results to your preferences. Trail options are categorized by difficulty level as well as user ratings. Over 10 million outdoor enthusiasts use this app and 60,000 trails are listed in their database. Once you’re on your chosen trail, the app can be used as a GPS navigation device. Maps can be downloaded for offline navigation as well, which is a nice option in case your internet connection is lost. Lastly, we like it because it keeps track of your activity and records you how much you hiked each month. You can easily share it with other users and friends upon completion.

West Virginia wasn’t given the name “Almost Heaven” for nothin’, so get outside and explore our wild and wonderful state, and don’t forget your fresh batch of lavender bug repellent!

N.B. Never rely solely on your smartphone since its functionality is limited by battery life and availability of GPS signal. When you are hiking in unfamiliar terrain, it is recommended that you bring a compass and an appropriate map.


MEET THE AUTHOR / Tina Tuminella


MEET THE AUTHOR / TINA TUMINELLA is a writer from Pittsburgh, PA who thinks of herself as an eater, talker, music-lover, mommy, francophile, and obsessive recycler. She bakes sweet things regularly, rides bikes and hikes with her family, and is a sucker for a pun. Her favorite product: Organic Lavender Cream

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