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Easy DIY Mosquito Repellent With Vinegar & Essential Oils

homemade mosquito repellent with vinegar

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Can you make an easy homemade mosquito repellent with vinegar & essential oils?

You bet! You can keep away those irritating bloodsuckers with a simple natural mix of a couple of essential oils and white (distilled) vinegar, and avoid buying toxic sprays that aren’t good for you (or the environment, for that matter).

Let’s take a quick look at the ingredients you will need, and then a super quick, simple guide on how to make the DIY mosquito repellent. In the end, you can find some additional tips and a FAQ section.

Now, let’s begin!


Ingredients For The Homemade Mosquito Repellent:


Essential oils

essential oils for diy mosquito spray

Peppermint essential oil: High concentrations of peppermint oil repels mosquitoes, and prevent bites when used at the 5 or 10% concentration. You can get peppermint essential oil here.

Clove oil: Very effective mosquito repellent and provide 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 h of protection, depending on oil concentration. In another study, clove oil displayed the longest duration of 100% repellency, lasting between 2 to 4 hours, against three different mosquito species. Get clove essential oil here.

Lemon eucalyptus oil: Provides more than 95% protection against mosquitoes for 3 hours. Get the essential oil here.

Citronella: Another fantastic option that successfully keeps mosquitoes at a distance. It is recommended to be reapplied every 20-30 minutes to provide efficient long-lasting protection. Get a therapeutic & safe for your skin citronella essential oil here.

Lemongrass: In a 2011 study, it was found that the strong scent of lemongrass oil had a significant impact on a particular range of mosquito species. Get your lemongrass essential oil here.

(You can find essential oil combinations that are good mosquito repellents below!)

White vinegar 

homemade mosquito repellent with vinegar

Vinegar, whether apple cider vinegar or white vinegar, contains acetic acid that exhibits potential repellent properties. 

Mosquitoes are sensitive to specific scents, and the strong, pungent odor of vinegar can mask the attractant scents emitted by humans.

Therefore, it can reduce the likelihood of mosquitoes detecting and biting you. Moreover, vinegar can alter the pH of your skin, making it less attractive to mosquitoes.

For this DIY recipe, I prefer to use white vinegar, since it has a milder scent, compared to apple cider vinegar. But you can also use apple cider vinegar – it will work just as well. 

Rose water

homemade mosquito repellent with vinegar

Rose water is optional, but I prefer to use it since it helps reduce the essence of acidity in the overall smell. You can also use witch hazel if it’s easier to find. 


DIY Mosquito Repellent With Vinegar (Recipe)


How to make it: 

  1. In a bowl, add 2 tbsp of rose water, 2 tbsp of filtered water, 2 tbsp of white vinegar.
  2. Then, add 15 drops of lemongrass and 15 drops of eucalyptus essential oil (or a blend of other two essential oils of your choice).
  3. Transfer the mixture in a small spray bottle (you can reuse one; I used my old rose water bottle).

How to use it & how often: 

Since the mosquito repellent with vinegar is natural, it lasts for a shorter time once you apply it to your skin. Reapply the spray every 30 or so minutes when you are outside, or as often as needed. Shake well before using the mosquito repellent. 

Putting it to the test: 

I’m super lucky because mosquitoes don’t like me, so I rarely get bites. But since I wanted to test the homemade mosquito repellent with vinegar, I used it and also gave it to some of my family members who usually get destroyed by bites.

After a few days of using it, they were super happy with the DIY mosquito repellent. They didn’t get bites when they were reapplying it every ~30 minutes. 

Best essential oil combinations for your homemade mosquito repellent spray:

DIY Mosquito Repellent With Vinegar & Essential Oils

DIY Mosquito Repellent With Vinegar & Essential Oils

Yield: 1 bottle of 100 ml (~3 oz)
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

A simple, natural way to make a DIY mosquito repellent!

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp rose water (30ml)
  • 2 tbsp filtered water (30ml)
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar (30ml)
  • 30 drops of essential oil of your choice: I used lemongrass & eucalyptus.
  • A small spray bottle (100ml or ~3 oz)

Instructions

    1. In a bowl, add 2 tbsp of rose water, 2 tbsp of filtered water, 2 tbsp of white vinegar.
    2. Then, add 15 drops of lemongrass and 15 drops of eucalyptus essential oil (or a blend of other two essential oils.
    3. Transfer the mixture in a small spray bottle (you can reuse one; I used my old rose water bottle) .
    4. Shake well before using the mosquito repellent. 

Notes

How to use it & how often: 

Since the mosquito repellent with vinegar is natural, it lasts for a shorter time once you apply it to your skin. Reapply the spray every 30 or so minutes when you are outside, or as often as needed. Shake well before using the mosquito repellent. 

Putting it to the test: 

I’m super lucky because mosquitoes don’t like me, so I rarely get bites. But since I wanted to test the homemade mosquito repellent with vinegar, I used it and also gave it to some of my family members who usually get destroyed by bites.

After a few days of using it, they were super happy with the DIY mosquito repellent. They didn’t get bites when they were reapplying it every ~30 minutes.

Notes:

You can add more or less essential oil, depending on what works best for you.


Pros and cons of homemade mosquito repellent:


Using a DIY mosquito repellent with vinegar and essential oils can have both pros and cons. Here are some advantages and disadvantages to consider: 

Pros: 

  • Natural & safe: To make the DIY mosquito repellent, you will need only natural ingredients, which are a much better chemical-free alternative.
  • Easy & cost-effective: Making your mosquito repellent with vinegar and essential oils is super easy and also cheap, compared to purchasing commercial repellents. The ingredients you will need are readily available and affordable. 
  • Customization: You can make the DIY repellents allow you to customize the scent and potency according to your preferences.  
  • Versatility: The ingredients for the DIY mosquito repellent provide broader protection and help repel not only mosquitoes but also other insects like flies and gnats. 

Cons: 

  • Limited scientific evidence: While vinegar is commonly used in homemade mosquito repellents, studies on the effectiveness of vinegar are limited.  
  • Shorter duration: DIY repellents made with vinegar and essential oils may have a shorter duration of effectiveness.
  • Skin sensitivity: Some individuals may be sensitive to essential oils, and direct application on the skin can cause irritation or allergic reactions.  
  • Variable effectiveness: The effectiveness of DIY vinegar and essential oil repellents can vary depending on factors such as individual body chemistry, environmental conditions, and mosquito species. 
homemade mosquito repellent with vinegar
lemongrass essential oil

Tips, Troubleshoot & Precautions:


High-quality essential oils:

It is crucial to use high-quality essential oils from reputable sources to ensure potency and effectiveness!

Experiment:

If your DIY spray is not effectively repelling mosquitoes, try adjusting the concentration of essential oils and experimenting with the oil combination to find the best match for your skin. You may need to increase the amount for stronger repellency.  

Shake it before using:

Some essential oils may separate from the vinegar base over time. Remember to shake the spray bottle well before each use to ensure the oils are evenly distributed. 

Effectiveness:

Herbal mosquito repellents are effective in general, but of course, less effective than DEET and other synthetic and more toxic options. (1,2). That’s why it is important to remember to reapply the spray whenever you see it’s necessary.  

Patch test: 

Essential oils are highly concentrated substances, and they can be potent. For some folks, these oils can cause skin irritation, redness, itching, or even trigger an allergic reaction. Performing a patch test allows you to assess your tolerance and helps prevent any potential negative skin reactions.

To perform a patch test: Pick a small area of your body, like the inside of your forearm. Gently apply a small amount of the mixture. Allow it to sit on your skin for 12-24 hours. After that, see if you experience any redness, itching, swelling, or irritation. If you experience any adverse reactions, it’s best to avoid using homemade mosquito repellent. 

Store it safely:

Keep the DIY mosquito repellent spray in a dark, cool place to help maintain its potency. Avoid spraying the repellent directly onto the face, eyes, or open wounds. Lastly, keep the DIY spray out of reach of children and pets to prevent accidental ingestion or misuse.

homemade mosquito repellent with vinegar

Other natural mosquito repellents:


  • Mosquito repellent incense sticks – Made a mix of essential oils including citronella, peppermint, lemongrass, and rosemary. It is a DEET-free and safe option for kids and pets. Each stick will give you 40-50 minutes of protection from mosquitoes and bug bites.
  • Mosquito repellent cotton balls – Made from natural, plant-based ingredients such as citronella, lemongrass, and lavender. Just place them in the area you sit and watch how they successfully repel the little blood suckers! Each ball is effective for up to 60 days.
  • Fabulous Frannie bug away blend – It contains a 100% pure, undiluted therapeutic-grade blend with mosquito-repelling essential oils. It comes with a ready-to-use roll-on applicator.
  • doTERRA Outdoor blend – Made with a powerful blend that effectively keeps mosquitoes away
  • Fan – Having a fan in your outdoor area will blow away the mosquitos and will prevent getting bites. 

FAQ 


Does essential oil REALLY work as mosquito repellent? 

Essential oils DO work as an effective mosquito repellent. The only difference is that they just last a shorter time than DEET and other toxic options. So, you will have to reapply the spray more often.

Otherwise, essential oils and extracts are great options for developing eco-friendly repellents against mosquitoes. 

Other essential oils you can try that offer long-lasting repellency against different mosquito species include:

Those plant oils can serve as suitable alternatives to synthetic repellents. They are relatively safe, inexpensive, and readily available worldwide.  

homemade mosquito repellent with vinegar

Does vinegar keep mosquitoes away? 

Yes, but for now, it is based on anecdotal evidence. I couldn’t find any scientific research that proves the efficiency of vinegar as a mosquito repellent. 

Is homemade mosquito repellent safe for the skin?

While vinegar is generally safe for skin application, it may cause skin dryness or irritation. If you experience any discomfort, dilute the vinegar further or stop using it on your skin.

Similarly to vinegar, essential oils can be potent and may cause skin irritation to people with very gentle or sensitive skin. If that’s the case with you, consider using lower concentrations, and don’t skip a patch test before using the spray.

But DEET can also cause adverse effects, such as skin irritation, redness, a rash, or some more serious ones, like seizures, agitation, or low blood pressure.

What smell do mosquitoes hate the most?

It’s not the scent of a repellent that keeps the mosquitoes away, but the chemicals of certain natural repellents. 

They mess up the receptors and neurons of the mosquitoes so that they can’t smell and perceive your scent.

Some of the smells that mosquitoes hate include basil, lime basil, thyme, lemon eucalyptus, coriander, lavender, lemongrass, eucalyptus, catnip, and more.

homemade mosquito repellent with vinegar
eucalyptus essential oil

Summary


Creating your DIY mosquito repellent with vinegar is a simple and cost-effective solution for keeping those pesky mosquitoes at bay. 

By combining vinegar with the essential oils of your choice, you can create a natural repellent that suits your preferences. 

But remember that what works for one person may not work as effectively for another, and if needed, you have to try to adjust the concentration and combination of essential oils.

Will you try this DIY mosquito repellent? If yes, what essential oil combinations will you try? Share in the comments below!

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