Peppermint Essential Oil: How to Create a DIY Bug Repellent

Bugs and unexpected rainstorms are the two biggest threats to every perfect summer evening.

But while the latter situation is out of your control, the former may be preventable.

Instead of swatting your face, legs, and arms to make sure those pesky bugs don’t stay long enough to bite, you might consider reaching for commercial bug sprays and lighting a few citronella candles.

But as you’ll see today, these aren’t your only options for combatting unwanted bugs!

And they can’t keep your plants protected or help you find relief if you’re unlucky enough to get a bug bite.

Now for the good news: You can tackle all three of these issues using essential oils. (In particular, peppermint essential oil!)

Read on to learn about the natural alternatives to harsh insect repellents, and how to make your own using just four ingredients.

Why Should You Make Your Own Bug Repellant?

Most popular bug sprays on the market are made using chemical ingredients like DEET, IR3535 or Picaridin.

The problem is that since your skin is your largest organ, it can absorb as much as 6% of these toxins and pass them straight through to your bloodstream.

This may not sound like much, but over time and with continued use it can add up.

In the case of DEET, while the CDC has concluded it’s safe to use in small amounts, it’s still known to cause negative side effects, including:

  • Seizures
  • Disorientation
  • Dizziness
  • and even death…

That same research also found inhaling the cloud that comes with using “fogger” bug sprays may cause respiratory issues.

Fortunately, there’s a better option available:

How to Make a DIY Insect Repellent Spray Using Peppermint

Peppermint is one of the most versatile essential oils around; we can count 24 different ways to use it — including as a bug repellent.

peppermint essential oil

And making your own DIY bug spray is a piece of cake since it only requires four ingredients.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • 1 empty spray bottle that’s been thoroughly cleaned
  • 10 drops of high-quality peppermint essential oil
  • ½ cup of witch hazel
  • 1 ½ cups of fresh, filtered water


  1. Mix the witch hazel and water together in the spray bottle.
  2. Add 10 drops of peppermint essential oil.
  3. Shake the mixture and spray on any exposed areas on your body before heading outside.

It’s always a good idea to bring the spray bottle with you on your adventure just in case you need to re-apply after sweating.

Not that crazy about the smell of peppermint following you on the trail?

You can also use this same formula with a different essential oil:

Tea Tree Oil Also Works Well Here as a DIY Repellent

As we talked about in this guide, tea tree oil is another great option for keeping bugs off your skin, which makes it perfect to use in a DIY bug spray.

Here’s What You’ll Need:


Follow the same directions as in the peppermint essential oil spray, adding both essential oils (lavender and tea tree) at the same time.

You can also go one step further to keep your yard protected from pests, so your backyard barbeques don’t attract the wrong kind of guests.

Create a Homemade Mosquito Repellent for Your Yard

Thanks to this organic pest control spray by The Prairie Homestead, you can finally ditch the chemicals in favor of a more natural option for your plants and yard.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  1. 1 medium onion
  2. 4 cloves of garlic
  3. 20 drops of high quality peppermint essential oil
  4. 2 tablespoons of cayenne pepper
  5. 2 tablespoons biodegradable liquid dish soap
  6. Filtered water


  1. Chop the onions and garlic and add them to a blender, along with your 20 drops of peppermint oil and cayenne pepper.
  2. Pulse this a few times before moving on to the next step.
  3. Let this mixture soak for a few hours and then strain it.
  4. Add that mix (just the liquid) plus the soap to a one-gallon refillable jug container and fill the rest with water.
  5. Pour this into a smaller spray bottle so you can easily use it throughout your garden.

You should use this repellent one or two times per week and after heavy periods of rain.

Essential Oils Can Also Help If You Already Have Bug Bites

If you’re already covered in mosquito bites, soak a cotton ball in tea tree oil mixed with a carrier oil and apply it directly to the affected areas.

The sooner you dab this mixture on, the quicker you’ll be able to reduce or eliminate itchiness.

Be sure to dilute the mixture further by adding lavender oil in addition to tea tree.

And always use a betonite clay base instead of just a carrier oil anytime you’re applying this on a child, since their skin is so sensitive.

Essential Oils for Bug Bites

Keep Summertime Bugs Away Naturally

Now that you know how to make your own bug repellent using essential oils instead of resorting to toxic chemicals, you can keep pesky bugs away from you and your family this summer.

And if a few happen to sneak by your peppermint barrier, you can use tea tree oil and lavender to help lessen the itchiness.

By re-applying every so often and keeping your yard protected, your active days and late nights outside this summer should be mostly bug-free.

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