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7 min read / 29 April 2022 / Laura Garvin Gomez

The best essential oils for repelling pests

Essential oils can protect our homes from mosquitos, spiders, and even rats.

One of the most common uses of essential oils is in repelling insects and household pests.

Diffusing pest-repellent oils, using them on candles or even spraying them about the home are all great ways to protect your household from pests, and you can take that protection to the next level by understanding exactly which oils are best for different kinds of infestations.

Whilst many essential oils have pest-repellent properties due to their potent natural scents, some are particularly powerful.

From mosquitos and ticks to ants and rats, here are some of our favourite repellent essential oils and the pests they keep at bay.

Why is it important to rid your home of pests?

Pest control is incredibly important for maintaining the health of you and your family members.

Rodents and insects can carry in all kinds of diseases that can infest your home, not to mention dangerous bacteria like E. coli and salmonella that can affect the cleanliness of your surfaces and food.

There is also the risk of pests biting you, your pets, or your family, as well as leaving unwanted droppings around several areas of your living environment.

When out and about, it is also important to keep pest-repelling scents on you to prevent potentially disease-ridden bites, as well as the more common raised, itchy bumps that can come from insects like mosquitos.

What are the best essential oils for repelling pests?

We've narrowed down a list of all our favourite pest-repelling oils to keep you and your home safe during the summer seasons and beyond.

Feel free to try out as many as you feel will suit you, and keep in mind that certain oils may work best for certain types of pests only.

Mouse climbing down a path.
Three flies on a stick.

How to use essential oils to repel pests

Essential oils are incredibly versatile, and can be incorporated in numerous ways to help keep your spaces and your body away from unwanted pests.

1. Diffusion

A sure-fire way to keep pests out of your home is to diffuse your chosen essential oils into the air using an electric diffuser or oil burner. This is particularly effective for airborne insects like mosquitos, as the scent of the room will automatically detract them and keep them outside for good.

2. Making a bug spray

For certain pests that like to hide in corners or around tricky locations, a homemade bug spray is a good method for targeting infested areas. Alongside your chosen oils, you'll need a few handy ingredients to make your bug spray as effective as possible. You will need:
  • 1 cup of white vinegar OR 3 to 5 drops of liquid dish soap
  • 1-2 cups of water
  • 10 drops of essential oil
  • A spray bottle (preferably made of glass)
Mix your ingredients before transferring to the spray bottle and shake well to ensure all the elements are combined together. Use as needed on surfaces, crevices, and in the air.

3. Topical application

To repel pests on your body, or to help calm the symptoms of any existing (medically benign) bug bites, you can choose to apply your essential oils topically using a skin-safe carrier oil. It's extremely important to always dilute your essential oils before applying them anywhere on your body, as failure to do so can lead to irritation and even allergic reactions depending on your sensitivities. If you're unsure on how to do this, our essential oil dilution guide can help point you in the right direction.
Even when you have identified which essential oils are right for your purposes, it may take some experimenting to find your favourite blend. Not sure where to start? Our Bug Repellent Essential Oil Blend should cover most bases.

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Medical Disclaimer

The content in this article is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to take the place of medical advice. Please consult your personal physician for any advice or treatment regarding specific health questions. Neither the article editor, writer, nor the organisation of Nikura takes any responsibility for possible health consequences following the information given in any article. All readers should consult their physician before taking any advice given within these articles.

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