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DIY Herbal Insect Repellent

This DIY insect repellant is made by making a strong mint infusion and combining it with essential oils. It’s a gentle option for fighting those bugs this summer!

Who has mint that is growing like crazy this time of year? *Raises both hands*  Our new fixer upper home has a serious mint addiction… it’s everywhere!  I’m not complaining, but, holy mint!

So, in an attempt to come up with some new and creative ways to use it up, I decided to try making a natural insect repellent using it because mosquitos hate mint!  Which is awesome news for all of you who planted mint and now have it taking over your yard… ‘Cause we all know that’s how mint rolls!

About Herbal Insect Repellents:

There’s a couple of things to know about this herbal insect repellent before we get into the nitty gritty of how you make your own:

  • This is a gentle insect repellent.  It isn’t as strong as other recipes that use lots of essential oils, which is great for times when you don’t want to walk around smelling like you have incense burning in your pocket…. that being said, it also makes a great base recipe and you can easily add essential oils to make it stronger.
  • Since this is a great insect repellent base recipe, you can also add additional herbs (fresh or dried).  See below for a complete list of herbs and scents that bugs hate!
  • This recipe is safe for kids, dogs (tea tree oil can be dangerous to cats), and livestock… just be sure they aren’t sitting there licking themselves nonstop since there is soap in it.  I’m more referring to pets… but, hey, you never know about kids either!
  • Obviously, this herbal insect repellent is not a guarantee that you won’t get insect bites.  Be smart by reapplying the repellent often and wearing long sleeves and pants when biting insects are particularly bad.
  • In this recipe, I chose to use Castile soap as an oil carrier because I always have it on hand and I love the extra punch of mint that Dr. Bronner’s Mint Castile Soap adds to the recipe.  You can easily substitute it for another carrier oil of choice like witch hazel, flax seed oil, vegetable glycerin, etc.
  • Storing your herbal insect repellent in a dark colored bottle will help preserve the oils that are released from the mint during the boiling process.  I found these little glass bottles at Natural Grocers for about $3.00.
  • It’s absolutely okay to take liberties with this recipe and make it your own!  Try adding different things and find a mix that works for you and your family!

Herbal Mint Insect Repellent

Essential Oils that Repel Insects:

Essential oils can be a great addition to your DIY insect repellent. They will help make a stronger repellent, which is great if you have some really pesky bugs! Please keep in mind that not all essential oils are safe for children, so the basic herbal recipe is the safest option for little ones.

If you are interested in adding additional herbs or essential oils to this herbal insect repellent, I would highly recommend trying out some of the following:
Lemon balm

How to Make your own DIY Herbal Insect Repellent:


3 Cups Mint Leaves, Stems and Blossoms
1 Cup Water
1 tsp Pure Castile Soap (I like to use Dr. Bronner’s Mint Castile Soap)
10 Drops Tea Tree Oil
Optional: 10-20 drops essential oil of choice or additional fresh herbs of choice

Herbal Mint Insect Repellent


1. Add fresh herbs to saucepan.
2. Gently crush the herbs to release oils (I used a Mason jar to gently smash them against the bottom of the saucepan).
3. Add water.
4. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Boil for 1-2 minutes, covered.
5. Remove from heat and cool completely (Keep the mixture covered the entire time as the essential oils will be released through the heat and steam process).
6. Once the mixture has completely cooled, strain the mixture into a bowl and press the moisture out of the herb leaves before discarding/composting them.
7. Add soap, tea tree oil and any additional essential oils to the mixture. Stir gently (the soap will bubble slightly).
8. Use a kitchen funnel to pour mixture into spray bottle.

Yields: about 1 cup

Love it? Pin it!DIY Herbal Insect Repellent is easy to make and uses fresh mint!



  • Kaylee Vaughn

    Kaylee is the Founder of She has set up and run two homesteads, a one-acre in Idaho, and her current two-acre dream homestead in the Pacific North West. Her qualifications include a Permaculture Design Certification from Oregon State University, and she is a Gardenary Certified Garden Coach. Kaylee currently produces at least 80% of her own food. She contributes to our site through articles, training and coaching to our clients. You can read more about her at

Krystine Crutcher

Monday 8th of January 2018

We are moving up to Northland, New Zealand in about three weeks and it's the height of summer right now. Up there is a sub tropical climate with plenty of mozzies. I'm going to make this recipe ahead of time with our mint, lemon balm and lavender from our current suburban garden. Thanks so much! Perfect timing :)