Illustration: Lianne Middeldorp

Our New York-based contributor Rachel has the ultimate tip how to create a natural bug repellent at home. No need for harsh ingredients to keep annoying mosquitos away. Read further to get Rachels natural bug repellent recipe and prepare for cozy summer nights outdoor.

As the summer heat is rising here in New York the pesky mosquitos are coming out. Since beginning down the path to living with less waste I try and find ways to make my own of everything before replacing or purchasing an item. I headed to Costa Rica earlier this year and knew bug repellent was a must bring, with none left from before living plastic free I made it a mission to make my own. With my first batch made but never tested (it was winter in New York) I headed to Costa Rica and tested it out, and it worked! I did not get a single bite and I have to tell you I am the person always covered in mosquito bites.

I have found bug repellent to be one of the simplest products to make your own and it actually smells good. Every time I have pulled it out at a bbq or party everyone is wondering what it is and how they can also make it. It takes just a few short minutes and you have one powerful packed, beautifully scented zero waste bug repellent to carry around with you as you travel or just right at home!

natural bug repellent_1
Photos: Rachal Bare

What you will need:

Glass spray bottle
1part Apple Cider Vinegar ( I purchased mine in glass and refill it at my local co-op)
1part Boiled Water
20-40 drops Lemon Essential Oil
20-40 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil
20-40 drops Lavender Essential Oil
20-40 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil


1. Depending on the size of your spray bottle boil half the amount of water
2. Fill the glass bottle with half ACV and half boiled water
3. Drop in all the essential oils
4. Shake and let sit overnight!
5. Spray all over to fight the pesky mosquitos away!!

Important note: I use 40 drops of essential oils but please test the spray on the back of your arm at around 20 drops before adding more as depending on your skin sensitivity it can cause an irritation.

Let us know how this bug repellent works for you. Or leave a comment below if you have any helpful zero waste tips for repelling bugs naturally during the summer months!