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  • 10 Best Natural Bug Sprays in 2022 (Repel, Sky Organics, and More) 1
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  • 10 Best Natural Bug Sprays in 2022 (Repel, Sky Organics, and More) 3
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10 Best Natural Bug Sprays in 2022 (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.

Last updated 09/26/2023
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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.


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.

How to Choose Natural Bug Sprays

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!

1

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. 

2

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! 

3

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. 


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.

4

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! 

5

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.


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.

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10
Best Natural Bug Sprays Ranking

Here are the best Natural Bug Sprays, ranked according to 10 Best Natural Bug Sprays (as of 11-04-2022). The products are ranked independently by mybest.
Popularity
Products
Image
Click to purchase
Key features
1

Repel

Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent

Repel Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent 1枚目

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

2

MDX Concepts

Organic Home Pest Control Spray

MDX Concepts Organic Home Pest Control Spray 1枚目

Control Pest Infestations With This 100 Percent Organic Spray

3

Buggins

Insect Repellent

Buggins  Insect Repellent  1枚目

A Proprietary Blend of Essential Oils Eliminates Gnats and Flies

4

EcoRaider

Bed Bug Killer

EcoRaider Bed Bug Killer 1枚目

A Spray That Kills Bed Bugs and Nymphs

5

Bug Soother

Natural Bug Repellent 2 pack

Bug Soother  Natural Bug Repellent  1枚目

Vitamin E, Castor Oil, and Glycerin for Extra Nourishment

6

Sky Organics

Organic Bug Spray

Sky Organics  Organic Bug Spray  1枚目

A Spray Made With Responsibly-Sourced Ingredients

7

Wondercide

Indoor Pest ControlLemongrass

Wondercide Indoor Pest Control 1枚目

Safe for Kids, Pets, and Furniture

8

Mosquito Guard

Natural Repellent Spray

Mosquito Guard  Natural Repellent Spray 1枚目

A Non-Greasy Spray That Feels Light on the Skin

9

Swamp Gator

Natural Insect Repellent

Swamp Gator Natural Insect Repellent 1枚目

Repel Gnats, Mosquitoes, and Flies

10

Babyganics

Natural Insect Repellent2 pack

Babyganics  Natural Insect Repellent 1枚目

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

If you don't see the product you're looking for, you can request that it be listed.
No.1

RepelPlant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent

Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent Image 1
Source:amazon.com
Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent Image 2
Source:amazon.com
Reference price
$4.94
Reference price
$4.94

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

Made from oil of lemon eucalyptus, this natural bug spray can protect you from mosquitoes and deer ticks for up to six hours without leaving your skin feeling greasy. The pump spray is ideal for prolonged outdoor activities and the four-ounce size is easy to throw in a bag.


Reviewers complained about the overwhelming smell of this spray and said it would not fade away until they completely washed the product off. Still, many reviewers were pleased that the product was effective in repelling mosquitoes. They further added that the spray applicator worked well. 

Was this Ranking helpful?
No.2

MDX ConceptsOrganic Home Pest Control Spray

Organic Home Pest Control Spray Image 1
Source:walmart.com
Organic Home Pest Control Spray Image 2
Source:walmart.com
Reference price
$18.99
Reference price
$18.99

Control Pest Infestations With This 100 Percent Organic Spray

Formulated with peppermint, spearmint, and rosemary essential oils, this product helps you eliminate all kinds of home-invading pests such as spiders, ants, earwigs, mites, stink bugs, and so on. Furthermore, the product is 100 percent organic and non-toxic. 


Some reviewers complained that they have to use a lot of spray for it to be effective. Others said the effects didn't last very long. On the other hand, reviewers said it worked well against ants and spiders and liked the fresh, minty smell. Reviewers also loved that the ingredients were safe for animals and children

No.3

Buggins Insect Repellent

Insect Repellent  Image 1
Source:amazon.com
Reference price
$6.99
Reference price
$6.99

A Proprietary Blend of Essential Oils Eliminates Gnats and Flies

Made with 100 percent natural essential oils including geraniol, peppermint, lemongrass, and clove, this product is effective against gnats, mosquitoes, and flies. It also does not leave a greasy residue on the skin. It's scented with rose and vanilla for a pleasant aroma.


Some reviewers complained that the product lost its effectiveness quickly, so you might need to re-apply more frequently. On the other hand, most reviewers said the scent was pleasant, although strong. People also said that the product was best used to repel gnats

No.4

EcoRaiderBed Bug Killer

Bed Bug Killer Image 1
Source:amazon.com
Bed Bug Killer Image 2
Source:amazon.com
Reference price
$16.15
Reference price
$16.15

A Spray That Kills Bed Bugs and Nymphs

This natural, non-toxic product is quality tested to kill bed bugs and nymphs with 100 percent efficacy. It's also child and pet-friendly, as well as safe to use directly on bedding and box springs. And not only will it eliminate existing bed bugs, but it will provide residual protection for up to two weeks.


Some reviewers said the smell was overwhelming for indoor use, while others said that it wasn't very effective. However, many reviewers found this product worked well as long they followed the proper guidelines for bed bug treatment. Reviewers further noted that the product did not cause any allergic reactions. 

No.5

Bug Soother Natural Bug Repellent 2 pack

Natural Bug Repellent  Image 1
Source:amazon.com
Reference price
$18.99
Reference price
$18.99

Vitamin E, Castor Oil, and Glycerin for Extra Nourishment

Formulated with lemongrass oil, this natural bug spray is effective against gnats, sand fleas, flies, and mosquitoes. Furthermore, it is enriched with vitamin E, castor oil, and glycerin to provide some extra nourishment to your skin. The product is also safe for animals such as horses and chickens! 


Some reviewers said this spray isn't very effective against mosquitoes, while others noted that you have to re-apply frequently. Still, many reviewers commented that the product worked well, went on easily, and did not leave behind a greasy residue. And they said the natural scent was quite pleasing.

No.6

Sky Organics Organic Bug Spray

Organic Bug Spray  Image 1
Source:amazon.com
Organic Bug Spray  Image 2
Source:amazon.com
Reference price
$14.95
Reference price
$14.95

A Spray Made With Responsibly-Sourced Ingredients

This product contains 100 percent organic ingredients (besides water) including citronella, lavender, and lemongrass essential oil to naturally help deter bugs from biting you. It's DEET-free and comes in a recyclable aluminum can. The product is also vegan, cruelty-free, and responsibly-sourced


Some reviewers said this product wasn't very effective in preventing mosquito bites, while others said it only worked for a short while. However, many reviewers said that as long as they applied it every few hours, the bugs stayed away. And they liked the natural fresh scent.

No.7

WondercideIndoor Pest ControlLemongrass

Indoor Pest Control Image 1
Source:amazon.com
Reference price
$34.99
Reference price
$34.99

Safe for Kids, Pets, and Furniture

This product is made from essential oils including cedarwood, lemongrass, and sesame oil to help you eliminate and repel indoor bugs such as ants, spiders, moths, mosquitoes, and cockroaches. 


It also contains no artificial fragrances or synthetic pesticides, is safe for pets and children, and won't stain furniture or carpets. Though it is recommended for indoor use, it is safe to spray on yourself as an insect repellant.


The scent of this spray was polarizing, with some reviewers saying it's natural and pleasant, while others found it to be overpowering. Still, many reviewers commented that the product worked for all house bugs and did not trigger any allergic reactions

No.8

Mosquito Guard Natural Repellent Spray

Natural Repellent Spray Image 1
Source:amazon.com
Reference price
$8.95
Reference price
$8.95

A Non-Greasy Spray That Feels Light on the Skin

This natural bug repellent is made from a blend of essential oils including citronella, lemongrass, and geraniol to provide you with up to three hours of mosquito protection. Furthermore, the spray feels light on the skin and does not leave behind any greasy residue. 


Some reviewers said that this product isn't 100 percent effective at preventing bites. However, many reviewers found that when applied generously, the spray kept away mosquitos, no-see-ums, and other insects in various climates. They were also happy that the scent isn't overwhelming.

No.9

Swamp GatorNatural Insect Repellent

Reference price
$14.69

Repel Gnats, Mosquitoes, and Flies

This insect spray is formulated with essential oils such as geraniol, soybean oil, and peppermint oil to effectively repel mosquitoes, gnats, and flies. Furthermore, this spray is also sweat-resistant and safe for pets and kids. 


Some reviewers were disappointed that the product left behind a greasy residue, while others experienced skin irritation. Meanwhile, many reviewers said that while this spray stinks, it's also effective in protecting against pesky biting bugs. 

No.10

Babyganics Natural Insect Repellent2 pack

Natural Insect Repellent Image 1
Source:amazon.com
Reference price
$17.98
Reference price
$17.98

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

Crafted with gentle plant-based ingredients such as peppermint, rosemary, and lemongrass, this product is safe to use even on the delicate skin of your baby. Furthermore, it is formulated without parabens, sulfates, or phthalates, so it's a good choice for people who prefer to avoid those.


The main complaint reviewers had about this spray was that it's quite oily and leaves behind a greasy residue on skin and clothing. Still, many reviewers commented that the product was gentle on children's skin and worked effectively against mosquitoes

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.


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?

Top 5 Natural Bug Sprays

No. 1: RepelPlant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent

No. 2: MDX ConceptsOrganic Home Pest Control Spray

No. 3: Buggins Insect Repellent

No. 4: EcoRaiderBed Bug Killer

No. 5: Bug Soother Natural Bug Repellent 2 pack

View Full Ranking
The descriptions of each product are referenced from content available on manufacturer, brand, and e-commerce sites.
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