Homemade Natural Mosquito Repellent, plus an Organic Bug Spray Review

Homemade Mosquito Repellent Lotion | A bowl of Shea butter | SustainableSuburbia.net

Now you know, I am all about biodiversity and respecting nature, but I really don’t see the value in mosquitoes! I seem to be a bit of a magnet for them, and am only spared when my two daughters are around – especially the elder – who are even stronger magnets than I am!

So one day last December, when we had an evening BBQ to attend and I just knew the mozzies were going to be out in abundance, I made myself up an awesome bug repellent lotion. This lotion has since been tested at the coast on not only me and my kids, but on my cousin and her kids too. It worked a charm.

There are only two problems with it. One, while it’s a lovely moisturising lotion, it is quite oily – so when I hear a mozzie buzzing around my head in the middle of the night, and therefore lather the bug lotion on my face and arms and hair – well, I do need to wash that hair early the next day! And I end up with a pretty oily face too.

On the upside, as a general body lotion it is divine, if pretty strongly scented.

The other problem is a more serious one. I was in such a hurry to go out the day I made it, that I didn’t measure or write down the ingredients! So, I can only give you estimates of how much of each oil I used. If you try it, do let me know what works for you!

Luckily I have another bug spray that solves both these problems, which I will review below. But first–

How to Make  an Awesome Natural Mosquito Repellent Body Lotion

You will need

½ cup shea butter (pictured above)
½ cup coconut oil
Essential oils of

  • Lavender
  • Tea tree
  • Orange or lemon (or both)
  • Rosemary
  • Peppermint (optional)


  1. Liquefy the shea butter and coconut oil over a very low heat. The way I do this is to put them in a glass jar, and put that jar in a bowl of boiling water, and stir until dissolved. Renew the boiling water as required. In this case, for ease and speed I mixed them in the jar I was going to keep them in, but that is certainly not essential.
  2. Add 150 drops of essential oils. My blend was roughly 80-100 drops lavender oil, 30-40 drops tea tree oil, and perhaps 10 drops each of orange, rosemary and peppermint.
  3. Blend thoroughly and pour into jar/s (if necessary) and leave to set.

To use

Apply liberally, especially over lower legs and feet where mosquitoes love to bite. Reapply when the scent fades.

Now, if making your own mosquito repellent is not your thing, or you want a spray instead, you could try this:

Bug Another from Biologika – A Bug Spray Review

Biologika Bug Another Insect Repellent | SustainableSuburbia.netNow let me say up front that I was sent this spray as a gift for the purposes of review. It’s not something I normally do, but I’d just made my own bug lotion, so I was interested to try it. I was quite clear that I would review it honestly, which I will always do on this blog!

Bug Another also uses essential oils to repel insects. Their formula includes: citronella oil, lavender, oil, lemon myrtle oil, peppermint  oil and sage oil. All the essential oils are certified organic. (See below for the full ingredients list).

Now, before I agreed to try Bug Another I asked for the full ingredients list, and checked it against Safe Cosmetics Australia’s nasties list – when it came out A-Okay, I said yes to trying it, and I was glad I did.

The pros

1. Mostly importantly, it seems to work. When you don’t get bitten, it’s sometimes hard to know if you would have been otherwise, but I tried it at evening BBQs, as did the kids and a few friends, and all reported a lack of bites. I didn’t try it in a setting with clouds of mosquitoes, but I did see a few around, and dusk is generally the worst time for them (or the best time perhaps, if you are trying out a new bug spray!).

2. It’s a spray not a lotion. This means it’s quicker to apply, can be applied to clothes as well, and doesn’t make your hair greasy in the middle of the night!

The cons

It does have ethanol in it, which some people prefer to avoid (even if, as in this case, it is organic).

Also, I personally really dislike the smell of citronella, which is its main active ingredient.  I think I overused that stuff in my 20s. So to me, it does smell like bug spray, whereas my bug lotion is a strong smell, but not overly medicinal. However, all the other people I tried it on (child and adult alike) said it smelled just fine to them, and the smell wasn’t strong enough for me to avoid using it.

Full ingredients list

Purified Water, Organic Aloe Vera Juice, Organic Ethanol, Coco Glucoside, Organic Citronella Essential Oil, Organic Lavender Essential Oil, Organic Lemon Myrtle Essential Oil, Organic Peppermint Essential Oil, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate, Organic Glycerin, Organic Sage Essential Oil, Organic Rosehip Extract

Final word

I will continue using Bug Another, and will likely buy another bottle of it next summer. I’ll keep using my homemade lotion too though. You can buy it online here (and no doubt elsewhere). (Not an affiliate link).

{By the way, were you expecting an announcement of the winner of the last giveaway today, and maybe another giveaway too? I don’t mean to disappoint you – Go Here Now.}


This post was shared at Essentially Jess’s I Blog On Tuesdays Linkup.

  30 comments for “Homemade Natural Mosquito Repellent, plus an Organic Bug Spray Review

  1. March 18, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    I have two very mozzie attracting daughters so the homemade mozzie repellent looks like a great option for us – thanks so much for sharing!

    • Kirsten
      March 19, 2014 at 9:44 am

      You’re welcome Kirsty!

  2. March 18, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    I always found lavender was a natural deterrent for mozzies. I don’t like the citronella smell of some natural repellants but they do the job.

    • Kirsten
      March 19, 2014 at 9:45 am

      Me too Bec. I have tried growing Lavender around my deck in the hopes of it working as a deterrent though, and it hasn’t worked, so I was pleased this lavender oil heavy recipe did. Probably you need to have a LOT of the plants growing in a small area to have an effect.

  3. March 19, 2014 at 11:06 am

    That sounds great! We recently went to Lombok, Indonesia and although I only put repellent on a few times we were there, everytime I did, I cringed! Both of these look great. Robyn xx

    • Kirsten
      March 19, 2014 at 11:53 am

      Yes, I remember using quite a lot of nasty bug spray back when I was in in Indonesia in my early 20s – mosquitoes are even harder to embrace when they might carry malaria! But even then it made me cringe.

  4. March 19, 2014 at 11:25 am

    My daughter attracts a lot of mozzies and comes up in the most awful welts, so I will give this a go for her. Thanks.

    • Kirsten
      March 19, 2014 at 11:53 am

      You’re welcome Sam, I hope it helps.

  5. Bec
    March 19, 2014 at 11:48 am

    Mozzies love my daughter too so these look great. We are overseas in a month and I was looking for something so I will check out the Bug Another.

    • Kirsten
      March 19, 2014 at 11:55 am

      Yes, we are going o/s later this year too, and camping for an extended period – taking a commercial spray seems a bit easier in that context, though I don’t really know why, so that’s what I was planning to do too.

      • Bec
        March 24, 2014 at 9:58 am

        For me I think it was for customs etc – I don’t want them to pull me up over a home made product. Too many horror stories!

        • Kirsten
          March 24, 2014 at 12:55 pm

          Yeah, that’s my thinking too Bec, but really, it’s hard to imagine a jar of lotion packed in my checked baggage would raise any eyebrows. Then again, who knows?

  6. March 19, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    This is a great idea. Thanks. Although we are in very early spring right now (I live in Canada), I am looking forward to getting your home made mosquito repellent ready for summer:)

    • Kirsten
      March 24, 2014 at 12:56 pm

      You’re welcome Tanya – enjoy Spring!! 🙂

  7. March 19, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    I’m a magnet for mozzies too. No one else gets bitten when I am around because they love me too much. I’ve tried organic ones and they just don’t seem to work as well. We use Off! and it smells nice plus works really well.

    • Kirsten
      March 24, 2014 at 12:53 pm

      My husband says that about me too Tegan – as long as I’m around he won’t get bitten (I secretly don’t think he’d get bitten anyway, but who knows?). Glad you found something that works for you. 🙂

  8. Melissa
    March 19, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    We went to Malaysia recently & took Bug Another with us but we actually didn’t end up needing to use any mozzie repellent! Will definitely be using it at home tho! The homemade stuff looks great too 🙂

    • Kirsten
      March 23, 2014 at 3:59 pm

      Wow, that’s so suprising that you didn’t need it Melissa – were you in-land the whole time?

  9. March 19, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    I’m so annoyed at all the mozzies we get here – I’ve always used those citronella bracelets and stickers as I don’t mind the smell. The spray sounds really handy!

    Visiting from #IBOT via Essentially Jess.

    • Kirsten
      March 23, 2014 at 3:58 pm

      Wouldn’t it be nice if they would just all migrate to the North Pole or something?

  10. March 19, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    I’m a huge bug magnet too, and a couple of the kids are as well. I have been using an apricot lotion from nutrimetics for a few years and that stuff is magic. Not only do the bugs not come near you, but you don’t smell like you’re trying to keep them away either!

    • Kirsten
      March 23, 2014 at 3:57 pm

      Oh that sounds amazing Jess. Is it intended to keep the bugs away, or just a happy coincidence?

  11. March 23, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    I am gonna have to give this a try. My 2 year old is a mozzie magnet but I don’t want to use the usual chemical laden stuff on her and there have been nights when she has been eaten alive. This sounds like a great alternative. #teamIBOT

    • Kirsten
      March 23, 2014 at 3:56 pm

      Oh, do give it a try Kylie – my kids love the lotion (they love any kind of cream of lotion they can slather everywhere!), but they liked the spray too.

  12. June 12, 2014 at 6:38 am


    I finally had a chance to test your home made mosquito repellent. I must say that it did an excellent job on mosquitoes and black flies. I didn’t have shea butter on hand, so I just doubled the coconut oil for your recipe. It worked out well. Thank you.

    P.S. I will be including this recipe in my newsletter this week as it is bug season. 🙁

    • Kirsten
      June 17, 2014 at 2:10 pm

      That’s great Tania, glad it worked out for you, and that what you had on hand did the job – I love that 🙂

  13. January 20, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    Looking for repellent that is gentle for my youngest daughter who has sensitive skin and eczema. Most cause her pain to apply and some even cause her to break out. Definitely looking forward to giving this a try!

  14. May
    May 4, 2018 at 9:41 pm

    Thanks for the helpful article! I see many sites like this https://www.pestsurvivalguide.com/organic-natural-roach-killer-repellent/ talking about the natural approach as well. Hope they are as effective as off the shelve chemical based ones. Thanks again for the helpful article!

  15. mae
    September 11, 2018 at 11:27 pm

    can i use cocoa butter instead of shea butter?

    • September 13, 2018 at 10:42 am

      Hi Mae,
      yes, i don’t see why not. Cocoa butter is slightly more solid than Shea butter, from memory, so you may like to balance it with slightly more coconut oil. But it won’t make any difference to the efficacy of it.

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