Homemade Lemon Balm Bug Spray


When those pesky mosquitoes and sneaky no-see-ums come out, you can’t swat them away fast enough! While traditional bug spray or citronella candles help, they can be loaded with harmful and even toxic ingredients! 

Although DEET has been approved by the EPA, it has been known to disrupt endocrine functions, reduce performance on strength related-tasks, inhibit coordination, and even kill brain cells related to concentration and movement. No Mama wants to see those side-effects in her kids!

Instead of buying a product off the shelf, here’s a quick and easy recipe for homemade bug spray.

The Ingredients

The ingredients are simple, and can be personalized based on the bugs in your area or the scents that you prefer. For this recipe, we mainly focus on lemon balm.

  • Lemon balm. Lemon balm is a member of the mint family. It grows very easily and rapidly, so even a Mama without a green thumb can make lemon balm grow in her garden. As you can imagine, it puts off a lemony aroma yet there is a level of earthiness to the scent as well. This is also edible and makes a great addition to a salad, herbed chicken, or smoothie.
  • Witch hazel. This is a medicinal plant that is well-known for its ability to soothe inflammation and even out skin tone. It’s also one of the best agents to mix with essential oils so that the oils will fully mix with water. If you follow MomFabulous, then you’ve noticed that most of our homemade cleaners and beauty products use witch hazel. Many brands include lemon or lavender-scented witch hazel, both of which are excellent options for this lemon balm insect repellent.
  • Optional: citronella essential oil. Citronella candles are one of the most popular backyard methods to deter unwanted mosquitoes. This ingredient is also plant-based and could be added to this lemon balm bug spray.
  • Optional: basil. Fresh basil herbs or basil oil smell amazing to the human nose, but actually are unpleasant to bugs and gnats. Adding this to your homemade bug spray will keep those pesky bugs away!

Lemon Balm Bug Spray Recipe

  1. Using a small glass jar, stuff fresh lemon balm leaves into the jar. If desired, you can use ¾ lemon balm and ¼ fresh basil leaves (or add basil essential oil later in the process).
  2. Fill the remainder of the jar with witch hazel. Screw on the lid and let sit in a cool, dark place for 1-2 weeks.
  3. After 1-2 weeks, strain out the leaves. Pour the liquid into a spray bottle, filling it halfway. 
  4. Add the optional 1 drop of basil essential oil and 1-3 drops of citronella essential oils. Lavender, lemon, peppermint, eucalyptus, or rosemary are also good additions that smell pleasant and repel bugs. Shake well to combine.
  5. Fill the remaining half of the bottle with filtered water. Shake again to combine.
  6. Shake well before each use. Apply to people (not pets) before going outdoors. Reapply as necessary. *As always, test a spot on your skin to see if you have a negative reaction to this homemade bug spray.

Bye-bye bugs and bye-bye bug bites!

Kick those toxic chemicals, like DEET, out of your home. And replace those items with a homemade bug spray made with all-natural ingredients. If a busy Mama has time to scan the aisle of the store to select which bug spray is the best option, then she also has time to create this homemade lemon balm bug spray. 

Only a few ingredients are required, and only a few minutes of your time. But your body will thank you – for using healthy ingredients and for keeping the pesky mosquitoes and sneaky gnats away!

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