Proven DIY Bug Repellents to Keep Mosquitoes and Ticks Away While Outdoors

Each year more that 14 million children and adults go camping outdoors. The number of campers also continues to grow each year. As a result, outdoor hiking and camping is more trendy than ever before. Its necessary for us to gather together the best homemade DIY bug repellents to keep mosquitoes and ticks away while camping outdoors this summer.

My husband and I work from home allowing us to live life while on the road full-time in our traveling RV. Furthermore, summer is our favorite season of the year! At least for me, my husband and also our professional pup. 

The three of us are BIG TIME backpackers and adventurer seekers. We spend most of our summertime hiking outdoors, backpack camping and also getting lost in the pure beauty of the wilderness.

My least favorite part about enjoying nature and tent camping, is the mosquito bites and also the creep crawly ticks.

You have no idea how many bug bites we have gotten when we tent camp near a natural hot spring or backcountry lake. And as a result, our dog attracts unwanted ticks all the time.


Why do mosquitoes, ticks or any other kind of bug bite humans and dogs?

Let’s first talk about mosquitoes, shall we?

These 5 human scents really attract mosquitoes, which you simply cannot avoid:

  • In the outdoors there is plenty of CO2, but mosquitoes are much more attracted to the CO2 that we exhale.
  • Any sweat, fragrant perfumes and body odors draw mosquitoes closer.
  • Humans are natural secretors that elements such as saccharides and antigens through skin pours. These natural secretions can also give the scent of blood type.
  • Mosquitoes are attracted to Type O blood rather than Type A.
  • If you are emitting more lactic acid through your skin by eating certain food, you are attracting more mosquitoes.

How about ticks?

According to research, ticks are attracted to light colors. That is why its best for hikers and campers to wear dark colored clothes when going into the forest.

Same as mosquitoes, all most any bugs such as ticks and fleas are always looking for carbon dioxide.

Animals and humans breath in and out constantly during the day and also while sleeping. That’s the main reason bugs can find us easily at nighttime.

Well, incase you found a tick on your dog or on yourself, all you need is a pair of fine-tipped tweezers. Grab the tick a close to the surface of the skin as possible and pull upward.

Do not twist or crush the tick!


How can we be bug-free and enjoy outdoor camping?

In 2017, Americans spent $206 millions on personal insect repellents. Furthermore, a total of $126 million was spent on DEET based products.

You will hear and read about DEET being safe for human, environment, animal, pregnant women and children, and that it doesn’t cause any harm or cause cancer.

Being full-time traveler and adventure enthusiast, I’ve tried so many different bug repellent products out there.

But I quit buying any mainstream commercial products because of DEET. Now I consciously use money saving tips to shop at Amazon for natural alternatives.

I always find the best natural products available. And if you are using any 100% DEET bug repellent products, that might be a bad idea.

Here is why.

We need to consider the concentration of a bug repellent and how long the protection will last. NOT how effective it is for keeping bugs off of you.

DEET is already a very strong chemical, and you do not want to ever overexpose it onto your skin. I choose to stay away and find any natural DIY bug repellents to keep mosquitoes and ticks away.


Exposure to frequent usage of DEET causes 6 troubling side effects:

  • Memory Loss
  • Headache
  • Muscle Weakness and Fatigue
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Muscle and Joint Pain
  • Tremors

Natural insect repellents work better than DEET. Make your own homemade DIY bug repellents to keep mosquitoes and ticks away.

As you might have seen, there are so many ways to make your own natural bug repellents at home using essential oils. Pinterest will give you some ideas. Here are my favorite natural homemade DIY bug repellents to keep mosquitoes and ticks away.

Good news is we don’t need to use DEET anymore to enjoy outdoor camping during the summertime!


Proven DIY Bug Repellents to Keep Mosquitoes and Ticks Away

A study found that some essential oils are more effective at killing mosquitoes than DEET.

As a result, Cinnamon Leaf Oil and Catnip Oil are 10 times more effective than DEET.

This kit comes with a combination of citronella oil, lemongrass oil, and peppermint oil. You will find it work better and is safer for you, your children and your pets than some other chemical alternatives.

With these in mind, let’s start making our own DIY bug repellent at home, shall we?


Homemade Mosquito Repellent Mason Jar Candle

Best DIY bug repellents to keep mosquitoes and ticks away recipe EVER! Love this mason jar candle DIY with citronella. So simple and natural diffuser that is safe for kids and dogs. Genius outdoor life hacks! Pinning this! #campinghacks #mosquito #diy #outdoors #camping #lifehack

I’m a hobby candle maker. Any homemade mason jar candle makes outdoor camping much more memorable. Lemon and eucalyptus essential oils give better protection compared to DEET. Also, use these essential oils to make bug repellent with!

Many DIY bug repellents to keep mosquitoes and ticks away use essential oils as a base. Sometimes using a whole citrus works well in your DIY bug repellents to keep mosquitoes and ticks away too. Candles are also a great way to combine essential oils with the fragrant power of a whole lemon and lime.


16 ounce Mason Jar


1 Lemon

1 Lime

A few sprigs of Rosemary

7 drops of Lemon Eucalyptus Essential Oil

3 drops of Geranium Essential Oil

Tea Light Candles without metal casing


1. Slice lemon and lime into 1/4 inch slices.

2. Add essential oil mixture into water.

3. Place one or two rosemary in the jar

4. Layer two slices of lemon and two slices of lime and you make other standing vertical.

5. Fill jar with water and leaving about 1 inch at the top.

6. Place a tea light candle in jar.

Ready to light and keep mosquitoes away!


Homemade Bug Spray

Before heading into a dense mountain forest, I always make myself a fresh batch of bug spray. The spray contains witch hazel with is also a great natural remedy to treat bug bites as well.

Conclude your search for DIY bug repellents to keep mosquitoes and ticks away. This could be a winner! It contains few ingredients and is also easy to assemble.


1/2 cup Witch Hazel

1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

40 drops Tea Tree Essential Oils

8 ounce Glass Spray Bottle


1. Mix witch hazel, apple cider vinegar and also the tea tree essential oil in an 8 ounce glass spray bottle

2. Shake well before spraying all over your body, except of course your eyes and mouth.


DEET-Free Bug Repellent Coconut Oil Lotion

Nowadays every household has coconut oil in their kitchen cabinet. Coconut oil is great base to make bug repellent. It not only keeps away insects but also makes your skin feel smooth and silky!

I have tried many combinations of DIY bug repellents to keep mosquitoes and ticks away. I enjoy a coconut oil base because it is natural and also keeps my skin soft and shiny. It also works really well for my natural homemade DIY sunscreen recipes.


1/2 cup Coconut Oil

1/2 cup Shea Butter

2 Tablespoons Beeswax

12 drops Lemongrass Essential Oil

8 drops Peppermint Essential Oil

12 drops Cedar Wood Essential Oil

8 drops Patchouli Essential Oil

12 drops Geranium Essential Oil


1. Melt the beeswax, shea butter and also the coconut oil in a double boiler.

2. Once the mixture is melted, place it in your clean container and add the essential oils one by one.

3. Stir the essential oils thoroughly using a disposable spoon and pour the mixture into an amber jar.

4. Place your container in the refrigerator overnight before using.


Mosquito Repellent Lotion Bar

Make lotion bar this summer! Simple DIY bug repellents to keep mosquitoes and ticks away easily. Best camping hacks! #campinghacks #mosquito #diy #outdoors #camping #lifehack

A lotion bar is easy to use and makes a great gift for any holiday. If you have loved ones who are outdoor adventurers like me, I’m sure he/she will love this.

This lotion bar recipe helps to keep my skin soft. I have tried multiple DIY bug repellents to keep mosquitoes and ticks away. This is my go to outdoors lotion bar.


1 oz Unrefined Coconut Oil

1 oz Beeswax

1oz Shea Butter

30 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil

10 drops Geranium Essential Oil

10 drops Citronella Essential Oil

Lotion Bar Molds


1. Melt coconut oil, shea butter and also the beeswax in a double boiler.

2. Stir with a metal spoon well until it is melted.

3. Remove the boiler from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes.

4. Add the essential oils and stir thoroughly so it combines.

5. Pour the mixture into your mold and let set.

Pro tips: These lotion bars will melt if they get too hot. As a result, just put them into the fridge until firm again!


DIY Chemical-Free Bug Repellent Bracelet

Festival season is coming! Wear these cute bracelets with your matching festival outfit this summer.

It smells great and also keeps you safe from any creepy bugs. Sorry, I can’t help you with the weirdos you may encounter along the way.


Stretchy Elastic Band for a Bracelet

Clay Beads or Lava Beads (you can customize by adding gemstones to your porous beads, so be creative!)

Citronella Essential Oil

Tea Tree Essential Oil


1. String your beads and tie off your bracelet so that it’s long enough for your wrist.

2. Place one or two lava beads in the middle of your bracelet so that it will also hold the essential oils.

3. Add 2-3 drops of tea tree oil and citronella essential oil on your lava beads.


Natural Herbal Mosquito Repellent Sage Bundle

DIY bug repellents to keep mosquitoes and ticks away with homemade sage! Love this natural herbs and fire so that bugs flies away and it works! Super easy outdoor camping life hacks. #campinghacks #mosquito #diy #outdoors #camping #lifehack

I have begun to smudge my homes with sage, that includes our traveling RV home! This simple recipe will maintain the atmosphere of ritual within your house, but also you can burn in a bonfire outdoors to keep the bugs far away.



Cotton String

Sage, Mugwort, Rosemary, Lavender, Juniper


1. Cut off pieces of the plants that are about 6-8 inches long.

2. Cut a length of string about five feet long. Place several branches together and wind the string tightly around the stem of the bundle.

3. Wrap the remaining string around the base of the branches several times and gradually work your way up until the end of the leaf. Return the string back and create a criss-cross pattern.

4. Tie the remainder of the string to the loose string you started at the beginning. And also trim off any excess left over string.

5. Hang the sage bundle outside to dry. Leave until it is completely dried.


DIY Flea and Tick Collar for Pets

DIY bug repellents to keep mosquitoes and ticks away for dogs. This simple and easy essential oils recipe is perfect for yard and outdoor. Great recipe that it works! #campinghacks #mosquito #diy #outdoors #camping #lifehack

When you are headed into the wilderness, having a dog is possibly the best friend you can have. Needless to say, for our dog, I’m against giving any chemical based bug repellants. I decided to also make my own.

Healthy dog, happy dog!


1 Tablespoon Witch Hazel

2 drops of Lavender, Cedarwood, Thyme, Tea Tree Essential Oil

1 Teaspoon Garlic Oil

Any Woven Collar or Bandana


1. Mix witch hazel, essential oils, and also the garlic oil in a shallow bowl.

2. Soak your dog collar or bandana in the mixture until the collar is soaked through for 5 minutes.

3. Remove and let it dry overnight before placing on your dog.


Specific essential oils I recommend to keep bugs away

With these recipes, you can easily switch around ingredients, and also use different essential oils, so be creative!

Make sure you are also using the proper essential oil for each specific bug. Furthermore, this is an important step for DIY bug repellents to keep mosquitoes and ticks away.

  • Mosquitoes: Citronella, peppermint, lemon, eucalyptus, basil, clove, thyme, lemongrass, geranium, and also lavender.
  • Fleas: Cedarwood, citronella, eucalyptus, tea tree, lemongrass, lavender, orange, and also pine.
  • Ticks: Rose geranium, juniper, rosewood, thyme, grapefruit, and also oregano.


Bug Prevention Bonus Pro Tips

Couple of tips before we wrap up this post.

Furthermore, you may have totally forgotten to make any of these DIY bug repellents to keep mosquitoes and ticks away at home. I have a couple of quick fixes for you to also try while camping or enjoying the outdoors.

Burn used coffee grounds keep mosquitos away

Place the used coffee grounds on a piece of aluminum foil and let it completely dry. In addition, add a few drops of barbecue lighter liquid to the coffee grounds. Light the fluid, and as a result the smoke from the coffee grounds will repel the mosquitoes.

So, don’t throw your morning coffee grounds away 😉

Not only mosquitoes, but this method also works on flies and ants as well!


Lemon and cloves keeps flies away

Genius DIY bug repellents to keep mosquitoes and ticks away with this simple recipe! With natural lemon ideas it works! #campinghacks #mosquito #diy #outdoors #camping #lifehack

Cut a lemon in half and press about five to six cloves into each surface, easy.  Mosquitoes really hate the smell of cloves and also citrus.


Bug Bite Bonus Pro Tips

Unfortunately, but in case you have gotten bitten by bugs. Oh well, here are 5 ways you can use camping gear to make bug bites to go away fast without itching like crazy!


Take a very hot bath with water and 2 1/2 cups of vinegar. This works when you have many bites.

For any small bites that start to get really itchy, try to also apply a small amount of vinegar directly on the bump.

Baking Soda and Water

Make a thick paste of baking soda and water. Furthermore, apply this paste to the affected area. As a result, you will feel the itching and swollen part go away instantly.

Raw Honey

Take a small amount of honey and apply directly to the bite. Honey also helps to prevent infection.

Salt Paste

Take finely ground Himalayan salt and mix with a small amount of water to make thick paste. Finally, apply the paste directly on to the bite.


Rub a piece of raw garlic on the wound. The smell of garlic will help repel the bugs from biting you again.

In conclusion, there aren many natural and DEET-free ways to easily make our own bug repellents at home. They work best and are also affordable ways to enjoy outdoor camping.

Do you also love camping and the outdoors?

What are your favorite DIY bug repellents to keep mosquitoes and ticks away?

Share your thoughts and ideas with us!


fashion wanderer

These DIY bug repellents camping hacks to keep mosquitoes and ticks are THE BEST! I’m so glad to find these homemade natural ways to quickly fix and not only they work but also it works on pets, too! From herb sage, essential oil bracelets and candles and lotion bars and many more ways! Definitely pinning! #campinghacks #mosquito #diy #outdoors #camping #lifehack

Soonjoo Uh

I graduated with a bachelors of fine arts degree in fashion design. I worked in the fashion industry as a lead designer for major brand name labels such as Stitch Fix, Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom, and Dillards. Now, I am the founder of the website Fashion Wanderer where I share current fashion trends, style tips and how to build a capsule wardrobe collection.

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