• Top 10 Best Natural Bug Sprays in 2021 (Repel, Sky Organics, and More) 1
  • Top 10 Best Natural Bug Sprays in 2021 (Repel, Sky Organics, and More) 2
  • Top 10 Best Natural Bug Sprays in 2021 (Repel, Sky Organics, and More) 3
  • Top 10 Best Natural Bug Sprays in 2021 (Repel, Sky Organics, and More) 4
  • Top 10 Best Natural Bug Sprays in 2021 (Repel, Sky Organics, and More) 5

Top 10 Best Natural Bug Sprays in 2021 (Repel, Sky Organics, and More)

If you're afraid that chemical bug sprays might be too harsh for your skin or your home, then a natural, plant-based product is a great alternative! Natural bug sprays can work well but tend to provide shorter hours of protection than their chemical counterparts.


Confused about which product to choose to keep insects off of you and out of your house? Don't worry and keep reading! Our top 10 best natural bug sprays and buying guide will help you choose a spray that can meet all your needs. But if you just want a quick recommendation, our top pick is Repel's Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent. It's made with the natural oil of lemon eucalyptus and can keep bugs at bay for up to six hours.

Experts featured in this article

Annie
  • Last updated: 04-07-2021
  • 1,039 views
Table of Contents

Why Should I Choose a Natural Bug Spray?

Why Should I Choose a Natural Bug Spray?

Various popular bug sprays contain chemical ingredients such as DEET or picaridin. The Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates the use of these chemicals, considers them to be safe for topical use. 


However, in some cases, they may lead to allergic reactions and skin irritation. In addition, some people prefer to avoid the use of synthetic chemicals when possible, especially for their children. Research also indicates that as these chemicals accumulate in our environment, they can pose a risk to wildlife and ecosystems.

Why Should I Choose a Natural Bug Spray?

Natural bug sprays are made without DEET or picaridin and contain plant-based ingredients with insect-repelling properties, like citronella oil, peppermint oil, and oil of lemon eucalyptus. While there's little research on their impact on the environment, many people prefer natural bug sprays for their lack of synthetic chemical ingredients.


Note that if you need a bug spray to repel disease-carrying insects, it's a good idea to check the guidelines provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Top 10 Best Natural Bug Sprays

Here is a list of top 10 best natural bug sprays that are highly recommended by consumers. We compared them by factors such as the type of bug spray, main ingredients, and hours of protection. 

1

RepelPlant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent

$4.94

Amount 4 oz.
Type Pump spray
Main ingredientsOil of lemon eucalyptus
UsesSkin
Protection Up to 6 hrs.
2

MDX ConceptsOrganic Home Pest Control Spray

$18.99

Amount 16 oz.
Type Pump spray
Main ingredientsPeppermint oil, spearmint oil, rosemary oil
UsesIndoor and outdoor
Protection Not provided
3

Buggins Insect Repellent

$6.99

Amount 4 oz.
Type Pump spray
Main ingredientsGeraniol, peppermint, lemongrass, and clove
UsesSkin
Protection Up to 2 hrs.
4

EcoRaiderBed Bug Killer

$16.15

Amount 16 oz.
Type Pump spray
Main ingredientsGeraniol, cedarwood oil, glycerol
UsesIndoor
Protection Up to 2 wks.
5

Bug Soother Natural Bug Repellent

2 pack

$18.99

Amount 8 oz. each
Type Pump spray
Main ingredientsLemongrass oil, vitamin E, castor oil, glycerin
UsesSkin
Protection Up to 1 hr.
6

Sky Organics Organic Bug Spray

$14.95

Amount 4 oz.
Type Pump spray
Main ingredientsCitronella oil, lemongrass oil, lavender oil, rosemary oil
UsesSkin
Protection Not provided
7

WondercideIndoor Pest Control

Lemongrass

$34.99

Amount 32 oz.
Type Pump spray
Main ingredientsCedarwood oil, lemongrass oil, and sesame oil
UsesIndoor
ProtectionUp to 4 wks.
8

Mosquito Guard Natural Repellent Spray

$8.95

Amount 4 oz.
Type Pump spray
Main ingredientsCitronella, lemongrass, geraniol, and peppermint oil
UsesSkin
Protection Up to 3 hrs.
9

Swamp GatorNatural Insect Repellent

$14.69

Amount 6 oz.
Type Pump spray
Main ingredientsGeraniol, soybean oil, rosemary and peppermint oil
UsesSkin
Protection Not provided
10

Babyganics Natural Insect Repellent

2 pack

$17.98

Amount 6 oz. each
Type Pump spray
Main ingredientsRosemary oil, citronella oil, geranium oil, cedarwood oil
UsesSkin
Protection 1.5 hrs.

Compare the Best Natural Bug Sprays

Image
1
Repel Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent 1

Repel

2
MDX Concepts Organic Home Pest Control Spray 1

MDX Concepts

3
Buggins  Insect Repellent  1

Buggins

4
EcoRaider Bed Bug Killer 1

EcoRaider

5
Bug Soother  Natural Bug Repellent  1

Bug Soother

6
Sky Organics  Organic Bug Spray  1

Sky Organics

7
Wondercide Indoor Pest Control 1

Wondercide

8
Mosquito Guard  Natural Repellent Spray 1

Mosquito Guard

9
Swamp Gator Natural Insect Repellent 1

Swamp Gator

10
Babyganics  Natural Insect Repellent 1

Babyganics

Name

Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent

Organic Home Pest Control Spray

Insect Repellent

Bed Bug Killer

Natural Bug Repellent

Organic Bug Spray

Indoor Pest Control

Natural Repellent Spray

Natural Insect Repellent

Natural Insect Repellent

Features

Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus to Provide Up to Six Hours of Protection

Control Pest Infestations With This 100 Percent Organic Spray

A Proprietary Blend of Essential Oils Eliminates Gnats and Flies

A Spray That Kills Bed Bugs and Nymphs

Vitamin E, Castor Oil, and Glycerin for Extra Nourishment

A Spray Made With Responsibly-Sourced Ingredients

Safe for Kids, Pets, and Furniture

A Non-Greasy Spray That Feels Light on the Skin

Repel Gnats, Mosquitoes, and Flies

A Gentle Plant-Based Formula That's Safe for Your Baby

Price$4.94$18.99$6.99$16.15$18.99$14.95$34.99$8.95$14.69$17.98
Amount 4 oz. 16 oz. 4 oz. 16 oz. 8 oz. each4 oz. 32 oz. 4 oz. 6 oz. 6 oz. each
Type Pump sprayPump spray Pump sprayPump sprayPump spray Pump sprayPump sprayPump sprayPump sprayPump spray
Main ingredientsOil of lemon eucalyptus Peppermint oil, spearmint oil, rosemary oil Geraniol, peppermint, lemongrass, and clove Geraniol, cedarwood oil, glycerol Lemongrass oil, vitamin E, castor oil, glycerinCitronella oil, lemongrass oil, lavender oil, rosemary oilCedarwood oil, lemongrass oil, and sesame oil Citronella, lemongrass, geraniol, and peppermint oil Geraniol, soybean oil, rosemary and peppermint oilRosemary oil, citronella oil, geranium oil, cedarwood oil
UsesSkin Indoor and outdoor Skin Indoor SkinSkinIndoorSkinSkinSkin
Protection Up to 6 hrs. Not providedUp to 2 hrs.Up to 2 wks.Up to 1 hr.Not providedUp to 4 wks.Up to 3 hrs.Not provided1.5 hrs.
Link

How to Choose a Natural Bug Spray - Buying Guide

In order to help you choose a product that can effectively treat your bug problem, we compiled a list of important points to keep in mind. Just make sure that the product can protect you for as long as you need!

Know Your Natural Insect-Repelling Ingredients

Natural bug sprays contain various types of plant-based ingredients, including peppermint, geraniol, and thyme oil. Here are some of the most common ingredients that will keep all of the annoying insects at bay! 

Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus Provides Long-Lasting Protection

Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus Provides Long-Lasting Protection

Oil of lemon eucalyptus, also known as OLE or PMD for the chemical it contains, is derived from the leaves of the Australian eucalyptus and is effective against mosquitoes and ticks. Some testing has shown that it can provide the same amount of protection as low concentrations of DEET.


Note that OLE is different from lemon eucalyptus oil, as it has been refined to concentrate the naturally occurring chemical that repels insects. OLE is the only plant-based ingredient that has been approved by the CDC for use as an insect repellent. It's also regulated by the EPA, so manufacturers have to meet certain standards. 


On the other hand, lemon eucalyptus oil is an essential oil and is not regulated. The effects of OLE on children have not been fully explored, so it's recommended to avoid use on children under three years of age.

Citronella's Effectiveness Depends on the Formula

Citronella's Effectiveness Depends on the Formula

Citronella oil is distilled from a combination of different grasses and has been shown to be effective in repelling mosquitoes. If you live in a mosquito-heavy area, you've probably used citronella candles. Though it isn't as long-lasting as DEET, it can be just as effective.


When used on the skin, citronella's effectiveness really depends on the formula of the spray. A well-formulated product can provide protection for up to two hours


Concentrations are usually kept at around five to 10 percent citronella oil because higher amounts can cause irritation. In one study conducted by Cornell University, 10 percent citronella oil was used on mosquitoes, and within 24 hours, it was found that nearly 100 percent of the bugs died due to exposure.

Neem Oil Has Conflicting Evidence

Neem Oil Has Conflicting Evidence

Neem oil is another popular natural insect repellent. However, research on its effectiveness is split, with some studies showing that it works well and others showing that it doesn't. Regardless, neem oil has been shown to cause skin irritation, so avoid high concentrations.

Thyme, Geraniol, Peppermint, and Cedar Oils Offer Some Protection

Thyme, Geraniol, Peppermint, and Cedar Oils Offer Some Protection

Essential oils like thyme, geraniol, peppermint, and cedar have been shown to offer some protection from insects. However, like citronella, their effectiveness depends on the formula. And while they're natural, they can be irritating to the skin.

Lavender, Lemongrass, and Tea Tree Oil Can Soothe Itchy Skin

Lavender, Lemongrass, and Tea Tree Oil Can Soothe Itchy Skin

Lavender, tea tree oil, and lemongrass are some other common ingredients that can fight off mosquitoes. Furthermore, they have strong antifungal and antiseptic properties that can calm and soothe itchy, irritated skin. 

Choose a Spray That's Effective Against Your Targeted Bugs

Choose a Spray That's Effective Against Your Targeted Bugs

Many people assume that any bug spray can kill all types of insects, but there's a limit to how much it can do.


If you want a product that can repel mosquitoes, gnats, or ticks, then oil of lemon eucalyptus or lavender oil are some great options. If you're looking for a natural cockroach repellent, many people recommend cedarwood oil. And for ants, people use a range of oils, including lemongrass, peppermint, and clove.


The product's description should indicate what types of bugs it provides protection from, so make sure that you choose a spray that can actually help you solve your bug problems! 

Pick a Spray that Will Remain Effective for as Long as You Need

Pick a Spray that Will Remain Effective for as Long as You Need

While chemical bug sprays like DEET or picaridin can protect you for up to 14 hours against various types of insects, a natural spray's longevity will vary depending on the formula.


Check the duration of protection in the product's description. Furthermore, keep in mind that the majority of natural bug sprays are not water-resistant, so they will lose effect as you start sweating. Therefore, you might want to re-apply the product more often. 

Pick a Spray that Will Remain Effective for as Long as You Need

On the other hand, many natural bug sprays for indoor use claim to last for weeks. But depending on the ventilation in your house and the cleanliness of the surface which the spray is applied to, the effect can wear off more quickly.


On clean surfaces, the residual of the spray will continue killing the target insects. However, if you apply the spray to a porous, dirty surface or one exposed to sunlight and rain, the effect will disappear much more quickly.

Decide Between a Pump Spray and Aerosol

There are two types of sprays: aerosol or pump. Each type has its own pros and cons, so consider them carefully before making a choice! 

Pump Spray is Safe and Easy to Use

Pump Spray is Safe and Easy to Use

Pump sprays release their solution using manual pump pressure, so they do not contain propellants and tend to be more concentrated with active ingredients in comparison to aerosols.


And since pump sprays don't contain flammable propellants, the can won't burst into flames if used near a heat source. However, the amount of spray is limited to what goes in one pump, so it might be tough to get an even distribution. 

Aerosols Allow for Full, Even Coverage

Aerosols Allow for Full, Even Coverage

Aerosols can spray continuously and help you get full, even coverage. However, be careful when using aerosols, since they often contain flammable propellants like butane or propane and might explode if used near a candle or an open fire.


Avoid using an aerosol near sources of ignition. Indirect heat can cause the aerosol to burst into flame as well, so store it in a cool place away from direct sunlight.

Some aerosols also release volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Even though VOCs are not acutely toxic, they might cause some respiratory risks in the long run. Try not to spray an aerosol straight at your face and avoid inhaling it to protect your health! 

Understand the Potential Downsides of Essential Oil-Based Sprays

Understand the Potential Downsides of Essential Oil-Based Sprays

While there's research to back up the insect-repelling properties of some essential oils, before you go all in, make sure you also understand the potential downsides.


Essential oils are considered to be volatile oils, which means they quickly evaporate into the air. Because of this, their effectiveness can wear off quickly and longevity will depend largely on the formula. They generally need to be applied more often than DEET or picaridin-based sprays.

Understand the Potential Downsides of Essential Oil-Based Sprays

In addition, the production of essential oils isn't regulated by any government agency. This means that manufacturers don't need to meet guidelines concerning the quality of the oil or the formulations of their natural bug sprays. This can make it more difficult to confirm claims of purity, effectiveness, and protection.


And lastly, just because essential oils are natural doesn't mean they're safe for everyone. Essential oils can cause irritation and allergic reactions in some people. If you're not sure about a spray, it can be helpful to test it on a small area of skin before using it on your whole body.

How to Use Bug Spray Appropriately

Using a bug spray can be tricky, as you might inadvertently inhale the chemicals. So take a look at our tips to ensure that you're using the spray appropriately. 

Take Caution When Spraying Indoors

Take Caution When Spraying Indoors

Natural bug sprays can be used for your home to prevent cockroaches, ants, or beetles. Usually, a product with essential oils such as peppermint oil can send most household bugs packing.


When using an indoor bug spray, make sure to avoid areas that are frequently used by family members, like furniture. Make sure to apply the spray in the right place and cover foods, kitchen utensils, and personal items thoroughly before spraying.


After spraying, you should leave the room for a while for the spray to take effect. Afterward, open up your windows to clear the air!

Only Apply the Product to Exposed Skin

Only Apply the Product to Exposed Skin

For sprays used on your body, first and foremost, you should always follow the guidelines and use precautions to ensure that you're doing the right things. Spray the product four to eight inches away from exposed skin or clothing, and try to avoid sensitive areas such as your eyes, mouth, wounds, or irritated skin.


If you want to apply the product to your face, spray it on your hands first and then rub the solution gently on your face. Apply the product in an open area to avoid inhaling the solution.

Only Apply the Product to Exposed Skin

If you're going to use sunscreen too, you might want to apply that first, let it absorb into your skin, and then apply the bug spray. Even if you're going to re-apply the sunscreen, you don't need to re-apply the bug spray as well, unless you feel like you're getting bitten by mosquitoes.


Stay away from products that claim to protect you from both UV rays and insects, since the instructions for the use of sunscreen and a bug spray are very different! While sunscreen should be applied every two hours, an insect repellent can last for several hours. Also, wash the repellent off with soap and water once you return indoors.

6 Ingredient DIY Bug Spray

Bug sprays can be easily made with just a few ingredients. As you can tell from the top 10 list, you'll need a couple of essential oils, water, a bottle, and a few other things, but it's super simple to make on your own. Here's a recipe from HGTV Handmade.


Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup distilled water
  • 1/4 cup witch hazel
  • 1/2 teaspoon glycerin
  • 15 drops each rosemary, peppermint, and lavender essential oil

Directions:

  1. Using a funnel and a tinted bottle, pour in distilled water.
  2. Pour in the witch hazel, glycerin, then the drops of each essential oil in that order.

Hate When Insects Bug You?

Hate When Insects Bug You?

Whether you need protection from insects outdoors or in your home, we can help! Check out our articles for further recommendations. 

Summary

A natural bug spray might be gentle on your skin, but it can still cause allergic reactions especially when you inhale the product. So to be safe, don't spray directly at your face or sensitive areas like your eyes or mouth. 


Now that you know how to choose and use a natural bug spray, it's time to get yourself one so that you can fight off all those stubborn bugs!


Author: Thuy Nguyen


An Expert-Recommended Sunscreen to Keep You Protected

In addition to protecting your skin from itchy, painful bug bites, it's also important to protect it from harmful UV rays. Beauty and design blogger Annie recommends Krave Beauty's The Beet Shield, a sunscreen that gives you protection without any greasiness.

Expert's
pick

Krave BeautyThe Beet Shield

$20.00

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    If you’ve ever worn a retainer or clear aligner, there have definitely been times when you’ve noticed strange odors or unsettling build-up on it, no matter how well you’ve rinsed or brushed it. But it’s not your fault. Retainers are full of nooks and crannies that can be hard to clean, so it’s a good idea to look for a cleaner that’s specifically made to handle that task. But it can be hard to pick and find what will work for youIn this guide, prepared with Dental Hygienist Jaeyoung Yoo, we’ll go over the factors you should consider when choosing a retainer cleaner that’s right for you, plus a tip for keeping your retainers in tip-top condition. We’ve also got a list of our 9 favorites to help you get started, with guardClean's Mouthguard, Aligner and Retainer Cleaning Spray taking our number one spot. Read on to find out why!
    Household goods
    26,925 views
  • Top 10 Best Eco-Friendly Toilet Bowl Cleaners in 2021 (Eco-Me, Seventh Generation, and More)
    Top 10 Best Eco-Friendly Toilet Bowl Cleaners in 2021 (Eco-Me, Seventh Generation, and More)
    Did you know that toilet cleaners can be some of the most dangerous substances in our homes? On top of that, they go directly down our pipes, and many of the chemicals don’t get properly filtered out before being released into the environment. Clearly, it’s time to start using more eco-friendly toilet cleaners!Thankfully more and more companies are realizing this, and we have more options than ever before. But, that can make it hard to decide. That's why we picked out our top 10 favorite toilet bowl cleaners that are gentle on the environment, like Eco-Me's Natural Plant Extracts Toilet Bowl Cleaner. It's certified, non-toxic, and acid-free. See the rest of our favorites and tips for how to choose the best cleaner on your own!
    Household goods
    14,225 views
  • Top 10 Best Organic Cotton Sheets in 2021 (Burt's Bees Baby, AmazonBasics, and More)
    Top 10 Best Organic Cotton Sheets in 2021 (Burt's Bees Baby, AmazonBasics, and More)
    Over time, most people have become conscious about the products they use and consume. Nowadays, many of us have turned our attention toward organic cotton bed sheets. Some of us prefer that they are made with environmental protection awareness, while others choose organic cotton for health reasons. Plus, organic cotton is comfy and easy to maintain!The absence of unhealthy chemicals in the processing makes organic cotton sheets the best choice for your bed. Our favorite product is the Pinzon Organic Cotton Sheet Set. These premium sheets have an optimal softness for superior comfort, and they are also highly breathable and moisture-wicking. If you know what else made it to our handpicked list of top 10 organic cotton sheets, read on! We have also included a comprehensive buying guide for your reference. 
    Household goods
    1,223 views
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