DIY Insect Repellent!!





Introduction: DIY Insect Repellent!!

About: My Name is Nick and I love making things!! Learning about everything is something I like to do. I have been a carpenter here in Australia for about 10 years but recently have quit my job to do something I...

I like fishing. A lot of places I go or have been have more mosquitos, sand flies and midges that someone could imagine.

About 4 years ago an old fisherman told me how to make this repellent. I was asking about the dreaded sand fly and how to avoid it. None of the store-bought repellants work against this type of insect even though the labels claim they do. After making this repellent I will never go back. I received one bite the first time I used it and that was on the back of my knee where I hadn't put the spray. Next time, no bites. It's amazing!! Thanks old fisherman.

I think this is currently the best DIY repellent because it is easy to make, effective and easily modifiable. You can add tea tree oil, lavender or any scent to it and it just gets better.

A lot of people were asking about how to get rid of mosquitos and though I am still working on a trap, this will at least stop them from biting you. I dedicate this instructable to all those who hate being bitten by bugs.

Step 1: Throw Away Old Repellents

Before throwing away all your old repellents, I want you to look at what is actually in these compared with the ingredients I'm suggesting. Some are known to cause cancer.

Here's a few common chemicals found in typical store-bought repellents from this site:

1. DEET is one of the most widely used chemicals as a mosquito repellent. While the use of DEET in lower concentrations is considered safe, when used in concentrations greater than 50 percent, DEET can produce skin irritation. Eye irritation is also common. DEET also will penetrate skin and can, in some instances, affect the central nervous system. In some individuals, slurred speech, confusion and seizures have occurred. These symptoms are most commonly associated with long-term, excessive exposure or improper use.


2. Permethrin is another repellent intended for treating clothing and other items, such as tents, sleeping bags and other gear made of fabric. Permethrin can cause eye irritation. While pyrethroid chemicals directly affect the nervous system of insects, it is not certain how these chemicals will affect humans, so care should be taken to follow the directions carefully. The Environmental Protection Agency has also classified permethrin as "likely to be carcinogenic to humans" if ingested.


3. P-menthane-3,8-diol may have some associated health hazards. The Environmental Protection Agency has found that long-term skin exposure produces microscopic kidney lesions as well as skin redness and swelling. Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency states that one study found p-menthane-3,8-diol may cause genetic damage.


4. While the California Department of Pesticide Regulation Report 2007-6 indicates that there was a possible increase in liver tumors and liver necrosis in rat and mice toxicity studies, the Environmental Protection Agency has cleared Metofluthrin as safe, when properly used.

Step 2: Things You Will Need

The list as follows:


Baby oil

Methylated spirits or rubbing alcohol. High purity is best.

Hair atomiser


What is Dettol? Dettol is a disinfectant that was first used in hospitals to clean skin. It contains a chemical called chloroxylenol. Chloroxylenol is an antimicrobial chemical that controls bacteria, fungi and virus.

While Dettol can kill you if ingested, it is a safer alternative to most store-bought repellents.

Dettol contains; chloroxylenol, pine oil, castor oil, isopropanol, water and soap.

Of course there are more natural alternatives, but I find these are often less effective.

Step 3: Mixing the Solution

Using your funnel placed into the atomiser, add 1/3 equal parts of Dettol, baby oil and methylated spirits or rubbing alcohol.

Step 4: Shake and Spray

Now mix this all together and you can spray away! Avoid open cuts or wounds, eyes and mouth. This repellent is designed for external use only so don't get any silly ideas.

Fun tip: This mixture will also work on head lice. Soak the hair and comb it through, leave it for 30mins and wash out with soapy water. YES its stinks! But hey, try killing lice with any other treatment first go.

Special Prize:

The first comment with "made it", showing a picture of all your ingredients, will receive a 3 month pro membership code. "Prize redeemed by userj0lt" Congratulations.

Hope everyone enjoys being bug-free!

3 People Made This Project!


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76 Discussions

I think vodka would be safer on the skin than methylated spirits -- denatured alcohol is simply alcohol with poison added to make it unworthy of drinking or regulation requiring an alcohol license for distribution. A little concerned about putting the Pine Sol (Dettol) chemicals on the skin. Probably worthy of further investigation.

4 replies

"Denatured" alcohol just has the most bitter compound they could find in it. If you could get drunk enough to tolerate the bitterant, it's good alcohol!

methylated spirit contains bitter wood naphtha- but in europe its only for use by nurses and doctors.. for preinjection swabbing( need a script )
...the only ethanol you buy in europe is surgical spirit- which is similar but has a bit of castor oil -
Isopropyl-alcohol ( isopropanol) you can get- its flammable but its pure . and not abusable.

33% alcohol - would make the mix flammable - so be careful .

dettol diluted is used for skin disinfection- so it is fine - ( and as i mentioned earlier - a half teaspoon in the shower tray water will prevent atheletes foot ...) i have been using it for years- and people still think i am alive and well.

Again, check out the uses for dettol. Antiseptic means on the skin in a cut probably. Soap used to clean wounds. to find products.

I'd like to know if this stuff will kil bugs or just repel them.

I have a bad roach problem, and can't use he store stuff because i can't breathe in my house afterwards for hours or days.

Thank you for any help you can give me.

13 replies

You should be using Diatomaceous Earth [DE]. You can get it at any pool store for about 10 bucks. It's an inert mineral, completely harmless to humans. It comes in a fine white powder. Sprinkle it around doors and windows, outside and inside, inside cabinets, badically wherever you see them. Roaches walk through it and it sticks to their feet. It gets ansorbed & their nervous system can't process it killing them. You will start to find dead roaches that have no explanation as to how they got that way. That's DE. It has no smell but can be a little messy [think baby powder] but easy to vacuum up. Hope that helps.

Diatomaceous earth does not kill by affecting the nervous system (it's just the carbon skeletons of ancient minute sea animals). It works because insects are continually waxing their exoskeletons. This is how they keep their "vital fluids" inside. The DE sticks to the insects feet and next time they wax themselves it cuts through the wax allowing them to dry out.

Cool how did you learn this? If this works in this way then fine industrial diamonds would be more effective?

I used to work in Bio Science. Boric Acid will do the same thing. It's safer and cheaper to use Diatomaceous Earth. I also raise chickens. To get rid of parasites we grab the birds by the feet, hold 'em upside down, sprinkle 'em with the D.E. fluff it around a bit and put 'em down again. Good bye cooties. You can buy D.E. at a reasonable price at some farm supply stores for that very reason. It'll kill all sorts of insects. You just don't want to breath in the dust because some of the particles are very fine and they make it into the finest divisions of your lungs where they lodge and attract carcinogens to themselves. This can cause some nastry problems later in life. Have a good one. Richard

boric acid is an insecticide yes - i would not use it - but also toxic to humans and pets and the environment--- (in tiny amounts its a preservative in creams .)
i found this blog searching if dettol killed scabies mite - well if it kills headlice - maybe it would ..still googling it.
( phenols are toxic and are absorbed through the skin- toxic to the liver - so if you have liver probs prob use very very little - )
Dettol also excellent to prevent atheletes foot .

Nah. The stinking diamonds are faceted like gravel. Diatoms are intricate skeletons that act like pry bars to keep their chitin plates open.

Thanks for the clarification. The great news is, it works! :-)

Google "no more roaches", the method works, it's safe, and you can put it places where you can't put diatomaceous earth.

You might get better mileage by sprinkling it around the food. When they walk on it, they will track it back to their nests where other roaches will come into contact with it and hopefully kill the entire nest.

Hey there mate this repels like nothing else but I don't think the old roach will eat it cause it does not smell like food.

However I happen to know boric acid will help you. Mix some up with some peanut butter and put it under your sink and in every place where you see them go. Make sure that this is kept away from dogs and cats as it can cause them harm. Think like the roach and decide some sneaky spots to leave it. They will run there when your lights go on.

Hope this helps you.

Kind regards


I agree about the borax. It works very well if you are careful not to use too much of it. If there is enough borax in the mix, the bugs won't eat it.

that is right . Borax mixed with a dough made from flour and egg yolk .. Make little balls or blocks and because it is food , they will eat it .