How to Make Natural Bug Repellent that is Safe for Kids

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Enjoy summer activities without bug bites, and free from toxic chemicals. This natural bug repellent works great and is safe for kids.

Natural bug repellent for skin

How to make natural bug repellent that is safe for kids

Summer is so much fun! It is actually my favorite season of all. I love the warm weather, being outdoors, and all the activities that go along with vacations.

But summer does bring a lot of bugs. Mosquitoes and other bugs that like to bite and annoy definitely take some of the fun out of summer activities. And some bugs, like ticks, can carry serious diseases.

A lot of commercial bug repellents contain some pretty dangerous chemicals. Those definitely are not an option for us who like to avoid toxins as much as possible. What are we to do? Thankfully, there is an all natural alternative that works great. If you have a safe, nontoxic, and very effective bug spray like this one, you can enjoy your summer outdoors, free from bug bites.

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It works!

We’ve been using this natural bug repellent for several years now. It really does work so well! If I forget to put some on, the mosquitoes around here really eat me alive. The same goes for my kids!

But if we have this spray on, they totally leave us alone. Keep reading to learn how I make it…

Natural bug spray recipe

There are actually two different versions of this natural bug repellent spray: one for adults and one for kids and pregnant women. The adult one contains some essentials oils that aren’t recommended for young children and for during pregnancy.

Both formulas work great. Since I have young kids and am pregnant right now, the kid version has been our go-to repellent this summer.

The kid version can safely be used on the skin of children two years and up. For very young babies, I tend to not use essential oils very much in general, and rely more on physical barriers to keep bugs away. I might go so far as to spray natural bug repellent on the outside of a blanket that is draped over a carseat or stroller and not touching them, but that’s as close as I’d get.

For kids that are one year old, the kid version of this natural bug repellent can be safely sprayed on their clothing, avoiding their skin.

How long does it take to make an essential oil bug spray?

This natural bug repellent is also really easy to put together. I use the Nature Shield or Shield Me essential oil blends from Plant Therapy. Nature Shield is for adults, and Shield Me is the formula for kids and during pregnancy.

I love how Plant Therapy is so careful about distinguishing which essential oils are safe for kids and pregnancy. It takes the guess work away. I can make and use products with peace of mind.

To make this natural bug repellent, you only need to have two ingredients on hand: whichever essential oil blend you’re using, and witch hazel. For a container, I like to use a 4 oz. glass spray bottle. Glass is best for use with essential oils, to avoid chemicals from plastics leaching into the spray.

Natural bug repellent

How to make essential oil bug spray

Whether we are playing in the backyard, going on a trip, or simply running errands, I love this essential oil bug spray recipe. I keep some in my home, my car, and my purse so that we can deter any bugs looking for a snack.



  1. Put essential oils into spray bottle.
  2. Add witch hazel to fill bottle.
  3. Shake well.

Peppermint essential oil bug spray recipe

You can also make a bug repellent with peppermint essential oil. To do that, just use peppermint essential oil in addition to or as a replacement to the essential oils in the above recipe. 

When it comes to bugs, the scent of peppermint is one of the best ones to use. For most bugs, they hate the smell and will avoid the area no matter what. 

This is true for a variety of bugs: mosquitos, ants, and even spiders. I like to spray this essential oil bug spray over door frames and windows too just to keep the creepy crawlers away.

What essential oil is the best for repelling bugs?

For this recipe, I recommend using either Nature Shield essential oil blend or Shield Me essential oil blend,  but here are a few others that work very well at repelling bugs: 

  • Peppermint Essential Oil
  • Lemongrass Essential Oil
  • Tea Tree Essential Oils

How long does a homemade essential oil bug spray last?

The insect repelling essential oils like citronella, lemongrass, and peppermint typically last for around 2-4 hours in a homemade bug spray recipe.

After the two hour mark, I just watch to see if bugs are starting to hang around again. Whenever they do, I reapply this DIY bug spray recipe. 

Homemade bug spray recipe without essential oil

It is true that you can make your own bug spray without essential oils, but I will warn you that it is much more labor intensive. In order to make your own homemade bug spray without essential oils, you have to boil leaves and distill the oil yourself. 

As a busy mom, I simply don’t have the time for all of that. Why add extra work when companies like Plant Therapy provide the best products to make going toxin-free easier?

Safety tips in using essential oils

When using essential oils, it is important to remember how powerful they can be. Whenever you are creating something for your family with essential oils, make sure you act as safe as possible. 

Here are a few safety tips in using essential oils: 

  1. Avoid touching your eyes – a lot of essential oils can burn
  2. Keep your essential oils away from your children. Some of the oils smell so good that kids will want to taste – you don’t want that! 
  3. Always use pure essential oils. Do your research and find a brand that will provide an organic, non-toxic option for your family.

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are derived from plants and are one of the safest ways to keep toxins out of your home. There are countless ways that you can use essential oils: from emotional regulation, to immunity boosting, to something as simple as making a non-toxic bug spray! 

Of course, I recommend using essential oils that are pure and organic for your family. For us, that means we only buy oils from Plant Therapy.

Natural bug repellent safe for kids

Tips and tricks to avoid bug bites

Avoiding bug bites is top priority for my family. Not only can they carry diseases, but the bite can be so itchy it’s unbearable. 

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you stay bug bite free all year long:

  • When it comes to essential oils, the more often you use them, the more they work! Get in the habit of using your bug spray every time you go outside for best results. 
  • Wear long sleeves and pants, when possible. The less skin that is exposed, the better. 
  • Avoid hanging out near yummy smelling places. That could be your family picnic, a berry bush, or walking around with a sugary coffee. Bugs can smell those things from far away and they might confuse the smell for you!

What to do when bitten and itches persist

When you are bitten by a bug, the itching can get unbearable. Even worse? Your kid getting bit by a bug! Here’s what I do whenever my family gets bitten and the itching persists:

  1. Apply 1 drop of lavender oil to the bug bite to reduce swelling. 
  2. Apply 1 drop of vinegar to reduce stinging.
  3. For a lot of bug bites, I like to use a bentonite clay bath. 

The main goal for itchy bug bites is to reduce the swelling as quickly as possible. It can be tricky, which is why I always take measures to reduce the chances of being bit in the first place with this bug spray recipe.

Natural Bug Repellent Video

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What summer activities do you enjoy most?

What kinds of bugs are bothersome around you? Tell me about it in the comments!

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Witch hazel

Nature Shield essential oil blend

Shield Me essential oil blend

Spray bottles

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Yield: 4 fl. oz.

Bug Repellent

Natural bug repellent for skin

Enjoy summer activities without bug bites, and free from toxic chemicals. This natural bug repellent works great and is safe for kids.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 4 oz. witch hazel
  • 120 drops essential oil, 84 drops for kid version


  1. Put essential oils into spray bottle.
  2. Add witch hazel to fill bottle.
  3. Shake well.
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