The mosquitos are coming! But how can keep mosquitoes away naturally without all the harmful chemicals in bug sprays? Did you know you can make a simple homemade mosquito repellent with vinegar?

Vinegar is a great starting point for homemade mosquito repellent because it has a strong odor that mosquitos dislike. In fact, apple cider vinegar is especially effective against mosquitoes by itself.

According to almanac.com “If you take in enough apple cider vinegar by putting it on foods you eat, you’ll develop a body odor that will repel insects, including black flies.”

If you don’t want to drink  a lot of apple cider vinegar you can simply spray apple cider vinegar onto your skin to ward off mosquitoes when you’re in a pinch and don’t have a lot of ingredients on hand.

However, a more effective homemade mosquito repellent can be made using vinegar in combination with other mosquito repelling ingredients.

Below are some options for making your own mosquito repellent with vinegar.

Note: While it’s preferred to use a glass bottle for your spray if you’re using a recipe with essential oils, but really any empty spray bottle will work.

Homemade Mosquito Repellent with Vinegar Recipes

Basic Apple Cider Vinegar Mosquito Spray

Ingredients:

Simply add apple cider vinegar to a bottle and apply to skin. If you find it irritating, you can dilute a little with water. Keep in mind that it’s the odor that keeps the mosquitos away so diluting too much will reduce how effective this method is.

Vinegar and essential oils mosquito spray

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 20 drops Essential oil(s) of your choice: lemon, lemongrass, catnip, citronella, eucalyptus

Mosquito Repellent Recipes Without Vinegar

Don’t love the small of vinegar and prefer not to smell it all day? Check out the recipes below.

Essential Oil Mosquito Spray

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup water vinegar
  • ½ cup witch hazel (can substitute vodka, but it will smell… like vodka)
  • 20 drops Essential oil(s) of your choice: lemon, lemongrass, catnip, citronella, eucalyptus

Keep in mind that you will have to reapply any of these sprays as they wear off. It doesn’t have the sticking power that some sticky, commercially available sprays have, but it’s worth it to be able to repel mosquitoes without harsh chemicals.

Mosquito repellent oil and lotion

If you want something that will last longer because they won’t evaporate as quickly, here are some additional recipes:

Essential Oil + Coconut Oil Mosquito Repellant

  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 10 drops Essential oil(s) of your choice: lemon, lemongrass, catnip, citronella, eucalyptus

Mix the essential oils into the lotion and keep in an air tight container.

Simply rub this on exposed areas.

Lotion + Essential Oil Mosquito Repellant

  • ½ cup of lotion of your choice (fragrance free)
  • 10 drops of Essential oil(s) of your choice: lemon, lemongrass, catnip, citronella, eucalyptus

Mix the essential oils into the lotion and keep in an air tight container.

Alternative methods for repelling or preventing mosquitos

Using a barrier on your skin like a mosquito repellent is an effective way to avoid mosquito bites, but they work even better when combined with other mosquito prevention methods.

Bug bands

These are nontoxic, natural bands that you can simply wear on your wrist. They are DEET free and nontoxic.

Essential oil diffuser jewelry

If you want to go the essential oil route you can try wearing essential oil jewelry and use oils that repel mosquitoes like lemon, lemongrass, catnip, citronella and eucalyptus.

Non-toxic store bought repellant

If you do decide to go the store bought route, I recommend finding a nontoxic, DEET free spray. Badger’s Anti-Bug spray and California Baby’s Natual Bug Repellent are good options to try out.

Eliminate standing water

Mosquitos love standing water. Think untreated pools, pet bowls, puddles, pots filled with rainwater, bird baths, etc. Eliminate as many sources of standing water as you can and frequently change the rest.

Cover up

It can be hard to cover up when it’s warm out, but keeping your skin covered can help prevent mosquito bites. You can even combine the above sprays with long sleeves and pants to double protect yourself since mosquitos can get into or through clothing. But it’s still more effective to be covered than to have bare skin.

Mosquito repellant plants 

If you have space to plant around your property, especially near doors and windows, try planting some mosquito repellent plants. Some of the most effective mosquito deterring plants include: citronella, eucalyptus, basil, cat mint and calendula. You can even plan these in pots so that you can move them where needed. For example if you’re enjoying dinner on the patio, you can move a few plants around the table.

You can find even more tips for preventing mosquitos over at the EPA’s website.

While all of the ingredients listed in this article are natural and nontoxic, always spot test any ingredients that you’re not accustomed to in order to ensure you won’t have an allergic reaction. None of the information on this page is medical advice.

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