I love nature and God’s creatures. And I am so thankful for insects and their contribution to nature. However, I am not a hospitable host to bugs living in my house. I am thankful for insects… as long as they live outside.
Follow Grandma’s Advice
This year, the ants seem particularly intent on invading my home. I was whining to my grandmother about the armies of ants climbing into my home through every crack. Don’t ever whine to your grandmother. But, if you do, always expect good advice. Or at least some kind of advice (love you, Gramma!). My dear grandmother’s reminder this time? Peppermint oil. Such wisdom! Peppermint essential oil is one of the best choices when it comes to combating bugs. Here is a short list of some insects that don”t like peppermint: ants, aphids, beetles, caterpillars, fleas, flies, lice, and moths!
Peppermint is not the only good choice for insect repellent. Many essential oils keep the bugs running. Some essential oils to consider having in your bug-battle arsenal: cedarwood, lavender, citronella (great for mosquitoes), and patchouli. I’m sure there are many more that could be useful; these are just a few popular oils. Peppermint and cedarwood are a nice aromatic pair because peppermint is a top note and cedarwood is a base note. Using the two together also simply deters a wider spectrum of bugs — which, as I mentioned, I am not a kind host.
On to the weapon! I mean… repellent….
**Don’t want to make your own? Grab some at our store!**
An Easy DIY Insect Repellent
Here is what you need:
- Peppermint (Mentha piperita*) essential oil
- Cedarwood (Cedrus virginiana**) essential oil (sometimes listed as “cedar” essential oil)
- Witch hazel
- Empty spray bottle
*most aromatherapy sources advise to avoid during pregnancy
**some aromatherapy sources advise to avoid during pregnancy
However, as this is not a topical application, I personally would be comfortable using the cedarwood. I might substitute spearmint for peppermint, as it is generally considered safe during pregnancy and is still an effective insect repellent.
How to Make the Repellent
Fill your spray bottle part way with witch hazel. Don’t fill it too high; you need room later.
Add about 5-10 drops of essential oils per ounce. I focused on peppermint oil in my blend because it deters so many kinds of bugs. I used about 35 drops of peppermint oil and 10 drops of cedar oil.
Screw the cap on and give the bottle a really good shake. That’s it! Since witch hazel contains alcohol, it will blend with the oils and not separate.
Give your bug-prone areas a good spray. Lots of ants come in through my kitchen window, so I am spraying my kitchen curtains. My kitchen smells like peppermint sticks! Mmmm! And it works so well. This is my third year using ant-repelling peppermint spray. Store your spray in the fridge. It will last much longer!
**Don’t want to make your own? Grab some at our store!**
Reducing Your Home’s Insect Appeal
There are so many ways to minimize the big bug problem before it even starts:
- Try to keep any pools of liquid from sitting on your bathroom or kitchen counter. Insects like gnats are drawn to standing water.
- Don’t over-water your houseplants! If your soil is more moist than your plants require…the bugs will come! I just learned this one the hard way.
- Don’t leave food or drinks out on the counter (especially sweets, including fresh fruit)
- Try to snatch up all the crumbs after mealtime (easier said than done with the littles, I know!)
Yes! I am SO glad you wrote about this, the ants have totally breached the house this week and I didn’t want to give in to the chemicals! Excellent timing!
I bought the pre-mixed essential oil called Bug Off. I then mixed it into witch hazel and plain water (why distilled, I wonder???). My friend and I sprayed ourselves (wearing shorts, short sleeves, and sandals). Then we walked around a nature trail next to a creek. Tall grasses. Bugs everywhere. We were so amazed… no bug bites at all!
PS. Hi, Michelle! <3
Love this! Thank you for the advice.
If it’s for a pregnant woman, would you omit the cedar oil? and just use spearmint oil?
My teenage son was getting bitten every night by mosquitoes. We tried everything & I was about to give in & buy him a chemical plug in insect repellent, as he was covered in bites and begging me to do something about it. Last try was this repellent spray – it worked! He hasn’t been bitten since & he likes the smell. Thank you so much for posting this!
I used the 5-10 drops per ounce of water version of this repellent. Would’ve loved to have added more peppermint but I’m running out. So until I’m able to order more I have to make it last. Anywho, this indoor bug repellent in THA BOMB! That’s saying alot considering I live in a housing complex and there are 2 trash dumpsters near my apartment. Before using this repellent, I had creepy critters crawling everywhere! Digusting! Roaches, spiders, centipedes, and ants. Well, I gort rid of the ants with clove oil. I used a cotton ball to smear undiluted clove oil on the front and sides of my fridge. And while it killed the ants, I have dark brown patches on my fridge. Doesn’t look too good and I can’t get rid of ’em. But it did get rid of the ants.
But, I still had those other pesky bugs. Until I used this repellent. I haven’t seen a roach or a spider since Lord knows when. Yay! Thank God, I have a large bottle of cedarwood oil. This is what I think really keeps the roaches and spiders away. Along with a tea tree spray I use especially for centipedes, my apartment is virtually bug free. I may see bugs in the tub or dead on their backs, which I can handle with no problem.
However, the cedarwood/peppermint combo didn’t work to well on the ants at my daughter’s house. Until I added 5 drops of lemongrass oil. It was a bit strong and I think I could’ve used less, but it worked very well. She has no more ants. Thank you so much for posting this excellent repellent. YOU ARE A GODDESS!
This repellent is THE BOMB! I saw GREAT results the same day I “exterminated” my apartment. It’s been bug free all summer! That’s saying alot considering I live in an apartment complex near 2 trash dumpsters. I have nowhere near the nunber of creepy crawlies than when I first moved in my place. Roaches, spiders, centipedes, and ants. It was like a bug zoo! Drove me crazy! Then, I used this homemade repellent and ABRA CADABRA! They all disappeared! Lol. Thanx so much for for this homemade repellent. You are a Goddess!
Is this okay around cats?
I need help deterring house centepedes from wandering into my house. I have become terrified of them. Store brand bug killers aren’t an option, I have a one year old that crawls around the house. And they just don’t work. Please help!
Yarrow tincture in a spray bottle, or as an ointment. Repels flies fleas ticks and mosquitoes. One hundred percent natural. Though I guess the alcohol for the tincture could be disputed.