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Bug Spray – Oil-Free Formula

Bug Spray – Oil-Free Formula

Mosquitoes are not my favorite part of summer. I know they serve as food for wildlife I prize but I resent the fact that mosquitoes consider my skin as a their prime picnicking grounds. This recipe does a fine job of keeping the critters at bay without the overpowering scent other mixes offer. This formula also works to repel other biting insects like gnats and fleas.

Most mosquito repellents have oil or chemicals that keep the repellent around for a long time. These oils and chemicals either stain clothes or have unnerving health hazards. I devised this formula for a wedding that took place in a lovely wooded setting at the beginning of mosquito season. The bride was getting bitten to distraction during the rehearsal and asked if I had some mosquito repellent she could safely use while wearing her lacy wedding gown. That night, Bug Spray’s oil-free formula was born.

For longer lasting bug spray for less formal occasions try The Practical Herbalist’s Bug Spray – Regular Formula.


  • 4 tablespoons (1 oz) calendula tincture
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil
  • 10 drops citronella essential oil
  • 15 drops cedar (thuja) essential oil


  • 1 oz spritzer bottle with spray top
  • funnel
  • label


  1. Gather the ingredients along with the equipment in a clean, well lit, work space.
  2. Using a funnel, pour the calendula tincture into the bottle.
  3. Add essential oil directly into the bottle.
  4. Screw spray top on securely and mix the ingredients carefully.
  5. Label the bottle.

Storage and Use

Store the Bug Spray in a cool place away from direct sunlight.

Shake the bottle before using to distribute the essential oils. This blend will need to be reapplied every few hours, since it does not have an oil base to encourage it to linger on the skin, yet only one spritz will do the job per application during a regular mosquito attack.

This is for external use only. Do not spray into eyes, mouth or other body openings.

Sue Sierralupe

Sue Sierralupé is a Certified Master Herbalist, Master Gardener and Sustainable Landscape Specialist. She is the clinic manager and lead herbalist at Occupy Medical clinic. Sue is author of The Pocket Herbal: Medicinal Plants that Changed the World and co-author of The Practical Herbalist Herbal Folios series. Follow her blog at Herbalism Manifesto for commentary on herbs, parenting, nutrition and a whole lot more.

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