DIY Bug Spray

Eco-Friendly Non-Toxic Mosquito & Bug Spray Ideas

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Non-Toxic (non DEET) Mosquito Repellants

At times, I choose a good enough brands that may not be 100% non-toxic but prevents my children from looking like they have hives and suffering the itching, oh the itching is terrible! With camping season in full swing I’m shopping and packing things up so were ready to roll at any given time. I’m always trying new products and replenishing my supply!

Here are a few of the bug repellents I’ve tried over the years and will seek to buy again this year, including making my own homemade repellent (it’s good for light bug days but it is a bit greasy):

Cutter Natural Insect Repellent

Cutter Insect Repellent, 6 oz

It is affordable but as SafeMama points out it has toxic ingredients like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and runs the risk of 1,4 dioxane so it is far from perfect and not so “natural” as the marketing claims. Our family, however, likes that it is DEET free, easy to find at our local grocery store and is affordable. Best of all it doesn’t smell bad and we’ve found it to be effective. Our Michigan bugs bite badly so we need effective!

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All Terrain Herbal Armor DEET-Free Natural Insect Repellent

Herbal Armor DEET-Free Pump Spray 8oz. Insect Repellent - Value Size, Plant-Based and All-Natural Bug Repellent for Outdoor Protection, Safe for Family and Pets

Another DEET and GMO-free option that was developed by outdoor lovers. Most users of this spray swear by it, but like all bug sprays, there are some people who still get bitten.

If you have run out of options with the above two, then give this a shot. It works well for most people.

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Badger Anti-Bug Sunscreen

Badger - SPF 34 Anti-Bug Sunscreen Cream - DEET-Free Sunscreen Bug Repellent - Broad Spectrum Water Resistant Reef Safe Sunscreen, Natural Mineral Sunscreen with Organic Ingredients 2.9 fl oz
I like how this kills two birds with one stone but I also like how it is effective. The key to using this anti-bug spray and sunscreen is rubbing it in good. I’ve found it to be thick and very white…which means we have to rub well and make sure the ears, backs of knees and elbows are covered because the blood suckers like those areas.

This is a great all-in-one product for camping or overnight summer camp. It is not, however, a product that is cheap but Badger has a commitment to safety and that makes me feel better about spending the extra cash. I just have to make sure I stock up on it because I can’t find it locally very easily. Their bug balm is also very easy to carry in my purse or backpack and we use that too!

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DEET Free Bug Band

Mosquito Guard 20 Individually Wrapped Mosquito Repellent Bracelets for Kids - Plant Based DEET Free Mosquito Bands - Mosquito Repellent Outdoor Patio

I dig these because my kids don’t come to bed smelling like greasy bug spray! They are DEET free and the sent repels the bugs and I actually do not mind the scent the kids haven’t complained. They work for up to 120 hours and I have my kids wear one on the wrist and one on their ankle. I find that the knees and legs get bit up if I don’t do this. A great product if I can keep them stocked but I often forget or run out and don’t reorder! Bad mom!

So these are my three favorite bug repellent options for kids. I like to keep my options open and I’m always experimenting and trying new ones but of course I’d like to go as natural and kid friendly as possible. Even making my own when I remember or prepare in advance but it is a little messy and greasy.

See on Amazon

Natural DIY Mosquito Spray

And when you are looking for non-toxic and more eco-friendly options, it is not always easy. To avoid the chemicals and big red bumps I’ve taken to making my own homemade bug spray and it’s easy to make, works and smells good! I read about this in some natural living magazine or book a few years back and finally decided to give it a try and have adapted the recipe to work for my family.

What you need:

  • Clean spray bottle
  • Essential oil(s) of our choice, from your local health store made for skin: lavender, lemongrass or citronella
  • Olive Oil or Witch Hazel


  • Mix 12 tablespoons of either olive oil or witch hazel with 1 ½ tablespoons of essential oil or 12 drops. The more you use the stronger the scent so adapt for your liking.  Feel free to mix the essential oils together or just use one. You can also add water if the solution is too strong or thick.
  • Shake well and apply.

Note: Olive oil is a little greasy and will need to be rubbed in and the witch hazel can sting the eyes so be cautious when spraying.

This takes only a few minutes and with ingredients that together cost less than $10 you can make multiple spray bottles that will last you throughout the summer. Just mix as needed.  For another great recipe check out Wellness Mama’s DIY bug repellent.

DIY Mosquito Repellent Lotion Bars

If you are looking for an alternative and do not mind making your own, try this recipe for bug repellent lotion bars. They are great for camping and they smell good (just not to the bugs)!

Easy to Make DIY Bug Repellent Lotion Bars

Here is what you need:

  • 3/4 C. coconut oil
  • 1/4 C. shea butter
  • 3 tbsp. beeswax pellets
  • 1 tbsp. carrier oil (any carrier oil will suffice)
  • 15 drops of NowFoods Citronella oil
  • 10 drops of NowFoods Tea Tree oil
  • 10 drops of NowFoods Clove oil
  • 10 drops of NowFoods Rosemary oil
  • Silicone mold of your choice


  1. Place the coconut oil, shea butter and beeswax in a microwave safe dish.
  2. Heat in the microwave for 30-second increments stirring until melted (if you prefer to heat on the stove top, place the dish over a pot with water. Bring the water to a boil to heat and melt the ingredients).
  3. Once the mixture is melted, add in the essential oils.
  4. Pour the mixture into a silicone mold and let set. To speed up the setting time I placed my mold in the fridge.
  5. Once set, gently rub the bars on your skin as a bug repellent.

Easy to Make DIY Bug Repellent Lotion Bars

Caution: Essential Oils are highly concentrated and can be irritating to the skin. Avoid direct contact with skin and always dilute essential oils before topical use. Discontinue if rash appears after skin contact. Not for internal use. Avoid contact with eyes. Consult healthcare practitioner before using if pregnant/nursing

There you have it. Four great over the counter options and one DIY for you to try instead of using those horrible pesticides to keep those bugs away. Personally, I will never go back to DEET formulations again, what about you?

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