Keeping insects away in the summertime can be tricky, especially if you want to spend some time outdoors. Whether you’re worried about mosquitoes, flies or other insects, you should definitely try some of the best natural bug repellent recipes.

Most bug sprays contain DEET, a chemical that can irritate the skin, especially when it comes to small children. Keep your insect repellent free of harmful chemical with the simple recipes that work wonders, when reapplied every 1-2 hours.

Lavender and White Wine Vinegar Insect Repellent

If you’re not in a hurry and don’t want to follow a precise recipe, a lavender infusion can keep many insects away, including fleas and ticks. You’ll need a cup of lavender buds, fresh or dried, white wine vinegar and a 16 oz spray bottle. Pour the buds in the bottle, and fill it with the vinegar. The infusion process is usually complete in 10-14 days, but you should shake the bottle every day. Once the time is up, strain the buds and use the lavender infused white wine vinegar to keep bugs at bay.

Lavender Concoction

Essential Oils Insect Repellent

Mixing essential oils can produce some of the best natural bug repellent recipes. If you prefer mixing them into your lotion, you’ll need 8 drops of lemongrass essential oil, along with 4 drops of each of the following ingredients: peppermint, thyme and lavender essential oil. Use a single drop of the mix with a teaspoon of lotion when applying.

Other essential oils to use in natural bug repellent recipes include: bergamot, cedarwood, cinnamon, cypress, citronella, eucalyptus, lemon, geranium, rosemary, and tea tree.

Rosemary and Cinnamon Insect Repellent

For a gorgeous fragrance and an effective way to keep bugs away, try one of the best natural bug repellent recipes. You’ll need 10 drops of rosemary essential oil, 7 drops cinnamon and 3 drop cedarwood. Mix them directly into two tablespoons of a carrier oil that’s good for your skin, like sweet almond oil or jojoba oil. With just a few drops of this mix, you’ll be able to protect any uncovered skin that might attract insects.

Tea Tree and Vegetable Glycerin Insect Repellent

Vegetable glycerin is another great base for a natural way to keep insects away. Start with a 3oz bottle. Add 30 drops of tea tree essential oil and 10 drops of geranium essential oil, along with a tablespoon of vegetable glycerin. Fill the bottle with water and shake well before applying.

Tea Tree Oil

Lemongrass and Geranium Insect Repellent

Another great addition to the most effective and natural bug repellent recipes, this concoction works best on mosquitoes. In a 2 ounce bottle, mix 8 drops of lemongrass essential oil with 8 drops of rosemary essential oil and 4 drops of geranium essential oil. Add 1 teaspoon of castor oil (great for your skin) and 1 tablespoon of water. Shake well before applying.

Herbs Insect Repellent

If you’re worried about getting the essential oil mix just right (too much can irritate your skin, too little won’t be effective), try this simple recipe with fresh or dried herbs and witch hazel. Boil one cup of distilled water and add 1 tablespoon of peppermint, one of lavender, one of spearmint, and one of lemongrass. Let it cool while keeping it covered, strain, and mix the water with one cup of witch hazel. Keep it refrigerated.

Beeswax and Cocoa Butter Insect Repellent

For an outdoors trip in an area with many insects, you might need something stronger than a spray. Try this special balm, one of the best natural bug repellent recipes. You’ll need 1/3 cup cocoa butter, 1/3 cup beeswax pastilles, and 1/4 cup coconut oil for the base. Add 15 drops (each) of eucalyptus, citronella, and lemongrass essential oils, with 5 drops (each) of cedarwood and peppermint essential oils. Melt the first three ingredients together, and only add the essential oils once it’s cooled off a bit, but still liquid. You’ll get a great bug repellent balm that’s solid at room temperature.

Cocoa Butter Beeswax Cream

TerraShield Repellent Blend

If you’d like to use essential oils, but don’t want to buy all of them individually, you can purchase a blend like doTerra’s TerraShield, with 14 essential oils mixed and coconut oil. Always dilute it according to the instructions before use.