How to Make Your Own Natural Gnat Repellent Spray

How to Make Your Own Natural Gnat Repellent Spray

How to Make Your Own Natural Gnat Repellent Spray

Why Make Your Own Gnat Repray

Gnats can be a nuisance when trying to enjoy the outdoors. Their bites are itchy and annoying. Commercial gnat repellents often contain harsh chemicals like DEET that can be irritating to the skin. Making your own natural gnat repellent allows you to avoid these chemicals. Homemade repellents contain ingredients you likely already have at home, making them convenient and cost effective. I find making my own repellent empowering – I know exactly what is in it, and I can tweak the recipe to my personal preferences. With some simple ingredients, you can make an effective spray to keep gnats at bay.

Effective Natural Ingredients to Repel Gnats

There are several natural ingredients that effectively repel gnats when used in a spray:

Essential Oils

Essential oils contain aromatic compounds that gnats find unpleasant or overwhelming. Diluting essential oils in water makes an excellent gnat repellent. Some of the best oils to repel gnats include:

  • Citronella oil – This is a very popular ingredient in commercial insect repellents. The strong lemony scent masks human scents that attract gnats.

  • Peppermint oil – Gnats dislike the menthol in peppermint oil. This cooling oil also feels nice when sprayed on skin.

  • Eucalyptus oil – Another strong smelling oil that gnats avoid. Eucalyptus has an added benefit of repelling mosquitoes too.

  • Lavender oil – The floral aroma of lavender oil drives gnats away. It is also very soothing when sprayed on bites.

  • Thyme oil – Thyme contains thymol, a compound that is highly repellent to gnats.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is mildly acidic. Gnats dislike landing on skin that has been sprayed with vinegar. It changes the pH balance of your skin to make you less attractive. The sour smell also helps mask inviting human scents. Start with a 1:3 vinegar to water ratio. You can adjust strength to personal preference.


A small amount of vodka helps essential oils dissolve into water. The alcohol also repels tiny insects. Use no more than 1 tablespoon per cup of spray. Too much can dry out your skin.

How to Make Gnat Repellent Spray

Making your own natural gnat repellent is simple. Here is a step-by-step guide:


  • 1 cup water
  • 1⁄4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 15-25 drops essential oils of your choice
  • 1 tablespoon vodka or witch hazel (optional)
  • Spray bottle


  1. Add the water, vinegar, and vodka/witch hazel (if using) to the spray bottle. Shake vigorously to combine.

  2. Add 15-25 drops of your chosen essential oils. I recommend using at least two different oils for maximum effectiveness. Some good combinations are lavender + citronella, eucalyptus + peppermint, or thyme + lemon.

  3. Shake spray bottle again to distribute oils. Swirl bottle occasionally while making remainder of spray.

  4. Fill remainder of bottle with water, leaving about 1 inch of headspace.

  5. Shake vigorously once more before use. Label bottle if desired.


  • Lightly spritz over exposed skin and clothing before going outside. Avoid eyes, nostrils and lips.

  • Reapply every 1-2 hours, and immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.

  • Carry small bottle for easy reapplication when on-the-go.

  • Store in cool place out of direct sunlight when not in use. Natural spray will keep for 1-2 weeks.

With some simple preparation, you can have an effective, customizable gnat repellent using ingredients from your pantry. Try different scent combinations until you find your perfect bug-busting blend.

Additional Tips for Gnat Prevention

Using natural repellent is a great start, but here are some extra strategies to keep gnats at bay:

  • Install screens on doors and windows to prevent gnats entering your home.

  • Use fans outdoors to deter gnats from lingering in an area.

  • Eliminate standing water sources around your home, like rain buckets or overwatered plants.

  • Keep kitchen drains dry and scrub away built up gunk inside them.

  • Clean up overripe or rotting produce that can attract gnats.

  • Grow herbs like basil, lavender and mint around your home, as gnats dislike their strong scents.

  • Apply food grade diatomaceous earth around the perimeter of your home and gardens. The sharp dust scratches gnats’ tiny bodies.

With some diligence, you can minimize annoying gnats and enjoy the outdoors irritation-free. A homemade repellent spray is a simple way to ward off these pests when you want to be outside. Follow the steps above to create your own customized natural gnat repellent.