Natural, Homemade Mosquito Repellent Spray

photo credit: Christian Meyn /

Predacious, pesky insects that roam the cool evening hours, driven by their insatiable appetite, preying on vulnerable gardeners they can suck the life out of, mosquitoes leave behind their signature: ugly, itchy bumps.

Annoying as they are, mosquitoes do serve a vital role: dinner for bats. Bats are a very important part of agriculture, horticulture, and pest control. Bats provide organic fertilizer for crops and other plants, pollination, and pest control in our backyards. (For more on bats, check out one of my earlier bat posts.)

Vital as mosquitoes may be to the ecosystem, it makes them no less bothersome for us humans. So, I was glad to hear about a natural, homemade mosquito (and fly) repellent my neighbor, Pete, heard about, and now makes and uses.

I’ve since made the concoction and tried it, but only a few times. The few times I’ve tried the spray, I’ve not had adequate exposure to mosquitoes to give a thorough opinion. (I’m actually looking forward to a heavy population of mosquitoes so I can continue my little experiment.) :D

What I can say is, after an application of this spray, on two separate occasions, I watched a mosquito fly near my arm. I was quite impressed with the affect the spray seemed to have on the mosquito. As determined as it was, it seemed a virtually impossible task for it to land and dine. It never did succeed, which was incredible to witness.

I’m looking forward to putting this natural, homemade mosquito (and fly) repellent spray into more use so that I can speak with greater conviction of its effectiveness. Until then, you may also want to try it for yourself.

Here’s how you make it.


  • Pure Vanilla Extract (not imitation)
  • Water


  • Mix 1 part pure vanilla extract and 1 part water into a spray bottle.
  • Shake well.
  • Spray mixture onto your skin.

A Few Things To Consider:

  • The mixture is a VERY dark brown color, and might stain clothing. I’ve not tested it to say for sure, so you might use caution if you’re wearing something nice.
  • As with many natural sprays, the effectiveness of a single application may not last long.
  • Unlike the strong-smelling, chemical spray-ons, this one smells like, well… VANILLA! :)

What about you? Do you use any natural, homemade mosquito repellents like this one?

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.

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11 comments to Natural, Homemade Mosquito Repellent Spray

  • Amber

    Sounds like a nice smelling alternative to OFF! I’m wondering, though, does it leave your skin feeling sticky? Also, we know you are a pet owner, did you have trouble keeping your dogs from licking you? You could be trading one pest (mosquito) for another (licking dog). haha :D

    Seriously, thanks for the tip. We’ll give it a whirl… I’ll let you know if my 3-year-old licks herself. :D

    • Holly

      Yeah, it smells so much better than any chemical spray-on.

      As far as whether or not it causes a sticky feeling, I don’t think so. When I’ve used the vanilla spray, it’s because I was going to be very busy and preoccupied with gardening or yard work. I don’t recall it leaving a sticky feeling, but I’ll have to make a mental note to check for that next time. If I were just sitting around the yard, I’d probably remember something like that, as opposed to being caught up in a task.

      My dogs were not nearby when I had the spray on, but that is a funny thought. Yes, indeed. I just might be “trading” nuisances. :)

      After applying the vanilla spray on your 3-year old, if you find her sitting on the ground licking her knee caps, do take photos!! It would make a delightful “Friday’s Photo”. ;)

  • I make a mixture of essential oils. lemongrass, citronella and rosemary, I mix it with water and put it in a spray bottle. This also works on your pets as a flea repellent.

  • Melissa

    Missy does your mixture hurt your animals at all? I have very sensitive animals. Also i can’t wait to try the vanilla mixture.

    • Holly

      Yes, it sounds like Missy also has a great recipe.

      I hope you enjoy the vanilla spray. I love it’s simplicity, aroma, and effectiveness (from what I can tell so far).

  • Jessica S.

    Will this work with homemade vanilla made from real vanilla beans and vodka?

    • Holly

      Hmmm… That’s a good question. I’m not sure. I’m also not sure how the vodka would affect the effectiveness of whatever it is about vanilla that makes it a mosquito repellent.

      If you find out, do share.

  • [...] a simple and natural mosquito repellent recipe, click here. I’ve also heard it works on a particular fly, but I don’t recall which fly. It smells good, [...]

  • Nikki

    Hello I am trying to figure out if I can use vanilla extract on my dogs and kids if it is safe we are all being ate alive bad problem here where we live.

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