Mortar and pestle with fresh herbs

There is much controversy over whether bug sprays are harmful or not. I’m not here to debate the issue or get into the specifics. I personally don’t use them because I don’t like putting weird chemicals on my skin and I don’t love the idea of “hey, this may or may not be safe”. I live in the United States in a fairly urban area and while mosquitoes may suck (literally) I thankfully don’t have to worry about getting malaria. So, for me, a natural, herbal bug spray is the way to go. I did use some pretty hardcore bug spray when I was in Africa, but this city girl wasn’t about to mess with scary, African mosquitoes. 

The following is my recipe for an herbal bug spray. It’s super easy to make with ingredients that are completely safe for all ages and pretty easy to come by. You will need to reapply the spray fairly often, but I think it’s worth it. I like knowing exactly what I’m putting on my body, cuz if it’s on my body, it’s getting absorbed into my system and I’m not ok with just ingesting any old thing. 


Herbal Bug Spray Recipe

Herbal bug spray photo

Herbal Bug Spray

This bug spray takes about 4 weeks to make so start it way before you're going to need it. Basically, you just put all the ingredients together and then leave it to do its thing so it's super easy.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 oz


  • Fine Mesh Filter
  • Funnel optional
  • 4oz Spray Bottle
  • A canning jar or something with a tight-fitting lid


  • .25 oz dried basil
  • .25 oz dried lavender
  • .25 oz dried lemon balm
  • .25 oz dried peppermint
  • .25 oz dried rosemary
  • 8 oz witch hazel You can also use apple cider vinegar but expect to smell like a salad.


  • Place the herbs in the jar.
  • Pour in the witch hazel.
  • Shake well.
  • Store the jar in a dark, cool room like a pantry or cabinet for about 4ish weeks. It's best to shake the jar every day at least once. Don't worry if you forget though. Just shake it whenever you think about it.
  • After your concoction has infused for about a month, pour the liquid through the fine mesh strainer. You can also use a coffee filter.
  • Using the funnel, pour the bug spray into your spray bottle and label carefully. None of the ingredients are poisonous, but witch hazel sure doesn't taste good.
Keyword Herbal Bug Spray


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