Mama Z's Natural Living

Compared to conventional products that contain DEET, there's no question that essential oil mosquito repellants are safer. In fact, they are infinitely safer! The primary ingredients – malathion, DEET and permethrin – are commonly used pesticides and have been linked to a variety of health concerns, which is why my family and I avoid the stuff like the plague.

Alternatively, finding the right essential oil mosquito repellant blend for your body chemistry can be tricky and I want to help you find the right solution for you!

Problem with Synthetic Mosquito Repellants

Hundreds of millions of people use DEET and other synthetic bug repellants every year, and I caution you to fall into that trap for these s7 reasons straight from the medical literature:

  1. “Workers at a national park who used insect repellents or lotions containing DEET repeatedly during the summer season complained more often of chest pain or wheezing, muscle cramping, skin rashes and blisters, dizziness, disorientation, and difficulty concentrating than workers who used the products less often or did not use them at all.” (source)
  2. “Observations demonstrate that a pesticide mixture (permethrin and DEET) can promote epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of adult onset disease and potential sperm epigenetic biomarkers for ancestral environmental exposures.” (source)
  3. “DEET and permethrin have been implicated as potential neurotoxic agents that may have played an important role in the development of illnesses in some veterans of the Persian Gulf War.” (source)
  4. “Subchronic dermal application of DEET and permethrin to adult rats, alone or in combination, leads to a diffuse neuronal cell death in the cerebral cortex, the hippocampal formation, and the cerebellum. Collectively, the above alterations can lead to many physiological, pharmacological, and behavioral abnormalities, particularly motor deficits and learning and memory dysfunction.” (source)
  5. DEET alone caused a decrease in blood brain barrier permeability in brainstem and significant decline in sensorimotor performance. (source)
  6. “Exposure to real-life doses of malathion, DEET, and permethrin, alone or in combination, produce no overt signs of neurotoxicity but induce significant neurobehavioral deficits and neuronal degeneration in brain.” (source)
  7. “A combination of DEET and permethrin led to significant decrease in AChE – an enzyme necessary for neuromuscular function – activity in brainstem and midbrain and brainstem.” (source)

Still hotly debated, I am not convinced that DEET is safe and I caution people from spraying their families with pesticides!

The Perfect Essential Oil Mosquito Repellant Doesn't Exist

Even though making your own is safer, it’s not as easy as I’d like to admit.

There are two main limitations to creating essential oil mosquito repellant.

First, I wish there were one recipe that we all could use, but our individual biochemistries interact with each blend differently. Depending how our body chemistries respond to the phytochemicals in the chemicals in the essential oils, this can change based off of the time of month (hormone levels), environmental factors and largely depends on what body care products we're using. Not to mention that it's impossible to get the same result from the same blend all the time because our skin microbiome is in constant flux.

Long-Lasting Essential Oil Mosquito Repellant Doesn’t Exist

The other complication to making to your own non-toxic, essential oil mosquito repellant is that it doesn’t last nearly as long as the toxic DEET varieties. Remember, essential oils are volatile organic compounds (meaning that they easily evaporate), not to mention that they absorb into your blood stream with minutes.

The reason why harmful non-essential oil mosquito repellants work is because they help create a coating on your skin, which acts as scent barrier. Your natural aroma is one of the first things that attract mosquitos to your body and blocking that smell is key to warding off insects.

So, what's the solution to these two natural limitations in making your own essential oil mosquito repellant?

  1. Make a few different blends
  2. Be sure to use the right carrier oils
  3. Keep them on hand and apply every 60-90 minutes.

I know this may sound like a hassle and I understand that (sometimes) avoiding chemicals isn’t as quick and easy as easy-to-use synthetic alternative, but trust me it’s worth it!

How to DIY Your Own Essential Oil Mosquito Repellant

​The essential oils that that stand out in the literature are: (source, sourcesource)

  • Cedar wood
  • Clove (reported as being the most effective)
  • Citronella
  • Lemon eucalyptus
  • Patchouli
  • Peppermint
  • Thyme

To help prevent premature evaporation, good carrier oils to use are coconut oil, neem oil and soybean oil. Be sure to buy the organic, unscented and unrefined varieties.

Research suggests that using at least a 2% essential oil dilution with these carrier oils can provide similar repellency to low-concentration DEET for up to 1.5 hours at a time (source).

Remember, there are no magic formulas for finding the right essential oil mosquito repellant. You need to find that right blend for your body chemistry and I recommend trying creating a couple different blends using the scientifically proven oils above.

Essential Oil Mosquito Repellent
  • 1 ounce carrier oil (mixture of neem and soybean)
  • 15 drops essential oils *
  • Glass spray bottle
  1. Drop essential oils* into glass spray bottle.
  2. Add in carrier oil and shake vigorously.
  3. Spray over and rub onto exposed skin right before going outside.
  4. Reapply every 60-90 minutes.
  5. * Remember, there are no magic formulas for finding the right essential oil mosquito repellant. You need to find that right blend for your body chemistry and I recommend trying creating a couple different blends using these scientifically proven oils.
  6. Cedar wood
  7. Clove (reported as being the most effective)
  8. Citronella
  9. Lemon eucalyptus
  10. Patchouli
  11. Peppermint
  12. Thyme


Safety & Drug Interactions

Are you sure you're using essential oils safely and effectively? Are you confused by dilutions and conversions? 

Let me help you by taking out the guesswork. Download my FREE dilution chart guide HERE!

When it comes to drug interactions and contraindications, there are literally textbooks devoted to the study of essential oil safety and, as a trained researcher and doctor, I think it’s important to note that there is virtually no research out there discussing how essential oils interact with drugs in long-term human clinical trials. This means that essential oil safety is still a wild frontier in the science community and no one really knows (for certain) how essential oils will interact with drugs or your body.

Nonetheless, properly diluting your essential oils is fundamental to safety and effectiveness because they are highly concentrated plant compounds. To help you along your journey, I have a created an easy-to-use dilution guide that you can download for FREE to make sure that all of your topical applications are safe and effective for the entire family. 

CLICK HERE to download my free Essential Oils Dilution Chart! 

As with as medicine and natural therapies, this is only a guide and be sure to discontinue use if any adverse reactions occur and consult your physician immediately.

Essential Oil Dilution Chart