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5 Homemade Bug Repellants That Will Keep Your Home Naturally Pest-Free

Say bye bye to bugs, naturally!


No need for pricey, chemical-laden sprays. These homemade bug repellants provide all-natural barriers will protect your home inside and out!

Banish mosquitoes with lavender.

You love spending more time outside in the long summer evenings, but hate the mosquitoes that crash your party as the sunlight fades. To the rescue: lavender. “Not only do mosquitoes hate the scent of lavender, its floral aroma also masks your own body odor, making bugs ‘blind’ to you,” says entomologist Mike Duncan of Truly Nolen Pest Control. To whip up a bug-banishing spritz, just fill a spray bottle with either witch hazel or distilled water, add 10 to 20 drops of lavender essential oil and spray on clothes, around the deck or on outdoor furniture.

Fend off fruit flies with a basil barrier.

Ugh! No sooner do you put out a pretty bowl of peaches than fruit flies show up. Banish them with basil. “Keeping a potted basil plant near fruit deters flies,” says Duncan. “The herb’s aroma masks the fruit.” Also smart: Create a trap by mixing 1⁄4 cup of white vinegar and a few drops of dish soap in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and poke small holes in the top. Flies will be drawn to the vinegar, and the soap will trap them. Goodbye, flies!

Send ants packing with cinnamon.

Ants have an extremely acute sense of smell — a fact you can use against them with a quick trip to your spice cabinet. “Ground cinnamon is one of the most effective natural ways to deter ants because they don’t like the smell,” says entomologist Nicholas Martin ( “Just sprinkle a bit around doorways and windows to keep them out. If you already have a few uninvited guests, sprinkle it around where they’re gathering, and in just a few hours you’ll find they’ve left for greener pastures.”

Repel ticks with a garlic spritz.

One of the main ingredients in commercial lawn tick repellents is garlic oil. “Its scent is a natural repellent for lots of pests, including ticks,” confirms organic scientist Ryan Smith, owner of To make an all-natural tick spray, just add four crushed garlic cloves to one Tbs. of mineral oil and let sit overnight. Remove the cloves and mix the garlic oil with a quart of water and a squirt of dish soap. Add the mixture to a spray bottle that attaches to your hose and give your lawn a watering. The smell of garlic will dissipate in a few hours, but the ticks will still smell it and stay away.

Keep stink bugs out with dryer sheets.

Stink bugs are repelled by fresh scents, in particular dryer sheets. “The more fragrant they are, the better they will keep stink bugs away,” promises Duncan. Just rub the sheet along windowsills and doorframes, where stink bugs typically sneak in. “You can even clip dryer sheets on fans to cool you off and send out a nice scent that keeps bugs at bay.”

Related: The Bathroom Leftover That Can Prevent Moths From Damaging Your Clothes

This story originally appeared in our print magazine.

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