Insects and bugs are irritating and potentially disease-carrying, so we usually try to keep them from invading our space. Most chemical-based insect repellents are filled with harmful toxins that not only cause damage to the environment, but are harmful for humans as well. Essential oils as a natural insect repellent provide a clean and healthy way to keep those pesky insects at bay!

Here at Range Products, we offer over 500 essential oils in Perth (along with more great raw and natural ingredients) to help you repel insects. So, if you’re looking for an eco-friendly, natural, and effective solution to send those bugs a message, have a look at the list below!

top 5 essential oils as natural insect repellents
5 effective essential oils as natural insect repellents

Top 5 Essential Oils as Natural Insect Repellents

Citronella Oil

Origin and Composition

Citronella oil is a natural ingredient that originates from Sri Lanka. It’s extracted from the hardy grass found in the South Asiatic region of the world. This grass usually grows around 1 metre in length and is a popular ingredient in wax candles, soaps, lotions, and of course insect repellents.

The main chemical components in citronella include: citronellic acid, citronellol, citronellal, borneol, camphene, dipentene, limonene, geraniol, nerol, citral.

Efficacy of Citronella Oil as a Mosquito Repellent

Citronella oil is a potent natural mosquito repellent, with research indicating its ability to offer complete protection from mosquito bites for durations extending up to 11.5 hours, underscoring its efficacy. Its extended effectiveness, combined with its natural derivation, makes citronella oil an environmentally sustainable and preferred option in the fight against mosquito-borne diseases ("Effectiveness of plant-based repellents against different Anopheles species: a systematic review," 2020).

According to the National Pesticide Information Centre, citronella does not harm or kill insects, but rather distracts them with appealing scents. This makes it difficult for the insects to stay focused on their targets.

Citronella oil is also effective against insects like fleas, moths, and bed bugs. If you’re allergic to cats, citronella oil is also good at keeping our feline friends at bay.

Application and Safety Tips

Citronella oil is generally a safe-to-use natural insect repellent. As with all essential oils for the skin, citronella oil should only be applied directly when diluted. There are various ways to apply citronella oil:

  • Spray: Add a few drops of citronella oil into a spray bottle filled with water and apply to the skin.
  • Diffusers: Add a few drops of citronella oil to an air purifier or diffuser to maintain a mosquito-free room.
  • Massage oil: Combine your massage oil with a few drops of citronella before applying to your skin.

Lavender Oil

Origin and Composition

Lavender oil is extracted from the most beautiful woody shrubs with purple-hued leaves. Lavender grows worldwide, but originates from the Mediterranean regions. Lavender is well known for its pleasant and sweet aroma.

The main chemical components of lavender oil include: a-pinene, linalyl acetate, caryophyllene, limonene, 1,8-cineole, cis-ocimene, trans-ocimene, 3-octanone, camphor, linalool, terpinen-4-ol and lavandulyl acetate.

Efficacy as an Insect Repellent

Lavender oil has been used throughout human history as an insect repellent. It has proven to be one of the most versatile and effective plants to naturally keep insects and bugs at bay.

Lavender oil is especially effective against spiders, cockroaches, mosquitoes, fleas, flies, and head lice. When children get head lice at school, one of the first things the school nurse will suggest is some lavender oil.

According to studies published in the Journal of the South African Veterinary Association, lavender oil has a high repellency rate (70–100) against lice and similar bugs.

Application and Safety Tips

Lavender oil is safe for direct skin application, but it must be diluted in a bottle of water before being applied.

Lemon Eucalyptus Oil

Origin and Composition

Lemon eucalyptus oil, as the name suggests, is extracted from the lemon eucalyptus tree, which is originally from Australia but is now also grown in India. This evergreen tree can grow to around 35 metres in length and is highly aromatic and perfumed.

The main chemical components of lemon eucalyptus oil are a-pinene, camphene, b-pinene, sabinene, myrcene, a-terpinene, linalool, b-bisabolene, limonene, trans-a-bergamotene, nerol, and neral.

Efficacy as an Insect Repellent

While most of the other essential oils on this list are used for various purposes, lemon eucalyptus oil is mainly used as an insect repellent, due to its high efficacy in keeping insects away. Essential oil experts even suggest that eucalyptus oil is as effective as DEET when it comes to repelling bugs.

WebMD states that lemon eucalyptus oil is especially effective against mosquitoes.

Application and Safety Tips

According to Healthline, lemon eucalyptus oil can cause allergic skin reactions, and must be used sparingly. Instead of direct skin application, it may be better to place this essential oil in a diffuser to prevent harmful and irritating skin conditions from arising.

Tea Tree Oil

Origin and Composition

Tea tree oil originates from the swampy southern Australian coast and is extracted from the Melaleuca alternifolia tree. It was originally used by 18th-century sailors to help kill bacteria, fungi, and mites.

The main chemical components of tea tree oil include: a-pinene, b-pinene, sabinene, myrcene, a-phellandrene, a-terpinene, limonene, 1,8-cineole, y-terpinene, p-cymene, terpinolene, linalool, terpinen-4-ol and a-terpineol.

Efficacy as an Insect Repellent

Tea tree oil has mainly been used as an antibacterial medicine throughout history to help treat conditions like athlete's foot and measles. There are a few indications that it could also be an effective insect repellent.

Tea tree oil is mainly used to repel spiders, ants, bed bugs, and cockroaches. This study on insecticidal and repellent effects of tea tree and andiroba oils on flies associated with livestock showcases the high efficacy of tea tree oil specifically against flies.

Application and Safety Tips

Like other essential oils, tea tree oil is generally quite safe to use topically when diluted. This means that you can apply it to your skin when diluted with water or a carrier oil, such as coconut oil. You can also place tea tree oil in a diffuser to help repel the insects noted above.

Geranium Oil

Origin and Composition

Geranium oil is native to the Southern African regions of the world. It is extracted via a process of distillation of the leaves of the Pelargonium graveolens plants.

The main chemical components of geranium oil include: various alcohols, esters, aldehydes, and ketones.

Efficacy as an Insect Repellent

Geranium oil is one of the most widely used essential oils to treat inflammatory skin conditions like acne and oedema. It has also been used as a treatment for anxiety and depression. However, geranium oil also contains citronellol and geraniol compounds, which both help to repel insects effectively.

Geranium oil is mostly effective against ticks, mosquitoes, moths, and head lice.

Application and Safety Tips

Geranium oil can be topically applied, but must first be diluted with a carrier oil like sesame or olive oil. This is a great way to treat your skin and prevent irritation but also repel the insects listed above.

Essential Oils for Specific Pests

We’ve summarised and created a list of essential oils, most effective for repelling arachnids and insects below:

Essential Oils for Arachnids Essential Oils for Insects
Peppermint Peppermint
Spearmint Lemon
Lemon Orange
Orange Cedarwood
Lime Clove
Lavender Oregano
Tea Tree Rosemary
Sweet Marjoram Eucalyptus
Geranium Tea Tree
Palmarosa Lemongrass
Virginian Cedarwood Citronella
Amyris Lemon Eucalyptus
Vetiver Geranium
Alaskan Cypress Lavender
Thyme Neem

Essential Oils for Rodents

These essential oils are best for repelling rodents:

  • Peppermint
  • Eucalyptus

Essential Oils for Other Pests

The following essential oils can be used on a variety of pests:

  • Cedarwood
  • Hyssop
  • Pine
  • Garlic
  • Clove
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Clary Sage
  • Peppermint



1. How Do I Use Essential Oils as Insect Repellents?

There are a few ways to use these essential oils to repel insects:

  • Dilute with water or carrier oils and use topically
  • Add to diffusers to release essential oil aromas into the air
  • Dilute in a spray bottle and apply to your skin
  • Place essential oil drops or sachets at entrances to your house, like doorways and windows
  • Place essential oil drops on bed sheets before sleeping

2. How Can I Make A Homemade Insect Repellent Mixture?

There are multiple recipes that you can use to create a homemade insect-repellent mixture. One of the most popular combinations you can make is to add ⅓ of a cup of witch hazel, ⅓ of a cup of water, and around 40 to 50 drops of your essential oil of choice.

Add this mixture to a spray bottle and fill your air with an effective and completely natural homemade insect repellent!

3. What is DEET?

DEET is one of the most common and popular ingredients in many store-bought, commercially produced insect repellents. It is the repelling chemicals of DEET that many essential oils mimic that help keep those pesky bugs away.

DEET stands for diethyl-meta-toluamide, which is the chemical component that effectively repels insects. Notably, products with high concentrations of DEET have been banned in several regions, including the European Union and Canada. Most health guidelines also advise against using products with DEET on children under the age of 12.

4. Can Vinegar Be Used as an Insect Repellent?

Yes, vinegar can be a very effective repellent against mosquitoes. Vinegar is often added to the homemade insect-repellent mixture mentioned above when essential oils are unavailable.

Get All Your Essential Oils From Range Products

So, you now understand which essential oils are best at naturally repelling certain insects. Range Products offers a wide variety of essential oils, so you’re sure to find just what you’re looking for!

Our store is fully stocked with sustainably sourced essential oils and other natural ingredients. You can even order in bulk if you need to! Contact us now!

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