Essential Oil Bug Blend For Children

The days are hot here in these Tennessee mountains, and that means the kids are outside, running around, playing and enjoying nature.

Seeing as how we live smack dab in the middle of the woods means that bugs are sure to be around so I decided to formulate an essential oil bug blend for children so my kiddos can playing outdoors without being bothered by all these bugs!

Repelling Bugs

Besides having annoying gnats and mosquitos around constantly, my kids have two sweet little kitties that they love playing with. Unfortunately, our kitties have fleas, and seeing as how we don’t use flea medicine on them, there’s a chance that the fleas could come off the kitties and onto my kiddos. Thankfully our kitties fleas aren’t all that bad. No matter, flea bites hurt and some kids react badly to any kind of bug bite.

But besides these common bug issues, living in the woods brings a whole new concern to most parents, including yours truly.


Beyond being completely nasty to me, ticks are carriers of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme’s disease, and a few other diseases… none of which I wanna mess with. I’m not going to go into what a bummer these diseases can be for your health… you can Google it if you want. All I know is that I wanna do my part in preventing myself or my children from getting them… and that means keeping the ticks off.

Formulating An Essential Oil Bug Blend For Children

So when it came down to formulating this little essential oil bug blend my goal was to make it safe for children of all ages, from my littlest guy to my biggest guy, and that meant searching for essential oils that would repel bugs and were safe for children.

Now the majority of the essential oils that are great for repelling bugs are those that smell really strong such as peppermint, eucalyptus, lemon, and citronella. However, these oils are not safe for small children, therefore, they won’t end up in my blend… at least as essential oils, but I’ll talk more about this in a bit. If you wanna learn more about the issue of essential oil safety, I’ve got you covered.

What I found was this photo from The Herbal Academy. It’s a great reference on which essential oils repel certain bugs.

As you can see, there are a lot, but I was only looking for three simple oils to create a safe blend for kids that would repel fleas, gnats, mosquitos, and ticks… repelling flies was just an extra. Here’s what I came up with.

Essential Oil Bug Blend For Children

3 Way To Use This Essential Oil Bug Blend To Deter Bugs

When it comes to using this essential oil bug blend, you have a few options. Let me explain the 3 ways I use it.

Two of my recipes use herbs (peppermint and eucalyptus), and one does not. The reason I like to use these herbs in my recipes is because peppermint and eucalyptus EOs are no-nos with young children, however, you can infuse them in plant form into other menstruums and pull out a small amount of their essential oils into your menstruum (along with their other constituents that help buffer the strong effects of their volatile oils) which is much safer than using the EOs on small children. To me, you get the best of both worlds, herbs and oils, even though they’re kind the same world.

First, I make a bug spray with it, and this is the main way I use it when we’re out and about.

1. DIY Herbal Bug Repelling Spray

  1. Infuse 1/4 cup dried peppermint and 1/4 cup eucalyptus leaves in 1 cup witch hazel extract for 2 weeks.
  2. Strain herbs and compost. Refrigerate infused witch hazel to use as needed.
  3. Combine 2 ounces of herbal infused witch hazel with 10 drops of the above essential oil bug blend in a spray bottle.
  4. Shake well before use. Spray on skin or clothing as often as needed.

Next, I make an herbal oil with it, and this is the main way I use it when we’re at home.

2. DIY Herbal Bug Repelling Body Oil

  1. Infuse 1/4 cup dried peppermint and 1/4 cup eucalyptus leaves in 1 cup of carrier oil on the stove top for 1 hour.
  2. Strain herbs and compost. You should have around 7 ounces of oil remaining.
  3. Add 40 drops of the above essential oil bug blend in your infused herbal oil and store in a bottle.
  4. Apply oil to skin as needed.

Lastly, I make a simple to-go bug oil with it and keep it in my purse during the summer… you know, in case I forget one of the other two things at home. This one doesn’t include the herbal infusion so it’s a bit simpler.

3. DIY “To-Go” Bug Repelling Body Oil

  1. Add 5 drops of the above essential oil bug blend into 1/2 ounce of carrier oil.
  2. Store in a roller tube and rub on skin as needed.

So there you go! An essential oil bug blend for children that you can use alongside herbs in 3 simple ways. Enjoy, and I hope we all have a bug-free summer!

Want more ideas for bug repelling essential oil blends for kids that don’t stink? I’ve got you covered!

Blessings, Meagan

  1. Jesse May says:

    Many times when reading that certain essential oils are dangerous to use for small children, or when pregnant or nursing, I want to know WHY they are dangerous. What are the risks?
    I know you like to motivate your readers to do their own research, and such questions in my mind DO make me try to research further. However, sometimes I am unable to find a satisfactory explanation of why certain herbs or essential oils are not be used in certain cases.
    If you know why, would you consider including the reason along with the caution, or link to a source with an explanation of essential oil risks?
    Thank you! I so enjoy Growing Up Herbal, and have gleaned much from reading your posts. 🙂

    • Meagan says:

      Good point Jesse. I wrote a post on essential oil safety to hopefully let readers know what I know on this issue. If that post doesn’t help you out let me know. I’ve linked to it in this article too. Thanks!

  2. Stephanie @ Naturally Mindful says:

    Great post, Meagan. This is a great guide to keep handy!

  3. Candace says:

    Can I substitute lemon for the patchouli? I have lemon on hand. Just wasn’t sure if this would change the dynamic of the blend too much. Thanks!

    • Meagan says:

      First of all, make sure your kiddo is at an okay age to use lemon EO on… if so you could definitely try it, but I’m not sure it would mix well with lavender and geranium EOs. You could mix it with peppermint or eucalyptus EOs (again if your kid is at a safe age for those) and that should smell fine. Hope that helps!

      • Candace says:

        I have a 1 an 4 year old. Is the bug blend with lavender, geranium and patchouli safe for use on them?

        • Meagan says:

          Aromatherapist Valerie Worwood says that lavender is safe for newborns and geranium is safe for 2-6 mo. old babies, but she doesn’t mention patchouli. However, I’ve found from other aromatherapists that patchouli is a mild EO and doesn’t often cause problems. It’s mostly recommended for children over 2 yrs. old, but some people use small amounts mixed with other oils and obviously diluted on younger children with no problem. I just wrote a new post on bug repelling essential oil blends the other day so be sure to check that one out too.

  4. Annette says:

    I have a two yr old and was wondering if i use geranium and lavender oil with coconut oil to repel mosquitoes and ticks what would be the recipe for that?
    Thank you!

  5. Kimberly Davis says:

    Update Summer of 2016: as a professional in environmental public health, I know to keep my family’s “toxic load” as low as possible. In my house, it’s white vinegar and Dr. Bronner’s soap for cleaning, baking soda for brushing teeth and everything else, ice packs and heating pads for pain, a ready supply of clean dish towels, ceramic for microwaving…I even make my own hair gel from flax seed.

    But in 2016, the Zika threat is real, and it is communicable, so you are making decisions not just for yourself. If you are in the area affected in the maps on the attached, use DEET-based products, around 30%. Apply to the thicker part of skin (e.g., outside of arms not inside where veins are close to the skin). Keep away from eyes nose and mouth, and wash your hands. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/zika-virus-mosquitoes-us-cities-most-at-risk/

    • Meagan says:

      Thanks for sharing your opinions, Kimberly. I can’t speak for others, but I can speak for myself. DEET has been shown to have horrible adverse effects, and it’s something I’m not comfortable using on myself or my children. When it comes to keeping bugs away, specifically mosquitoes, I opt for covering our skin with light clothing, using essential oil bug repelling blends (many that have proven to work as well as DEET in clinical trials), and to minimize areas around my home where they can bread. We’re also not trying to get pregnant, but if we were, I wouldn’t travel to areas where the Zika virus is more common. Thanks again.

      • Jamie says:

        Great reply, Meagan! Thankyou so much for this info. I’m learning so much from your website and making these things is so much fun. It has really taken alot of the confusion out for me, since I’m both new to herbs and have a little one that I want to protect from toxins. Keep it coming (as I know you will)! 🙂

  6. Kayla Brown says:

    Is there a way to make the spray without infused herbs? I have lavender, but not sure if I have any of the other oils. I have fractionated coconut oil, as well as frankincense essential oil (don’t know if it’s baby safe though). My baby is almost 8 months old. Specifically trying to make a spray for fleas, as my sis has cats and they tend to have fleas no matter what my sis does. :-/ My sis isn’t conscientious of the chemicals she uses, but even with flea collars and the like, it hasn’t helped much.

    • Meagan says:

      So, you can make the bug blends with essential oils only or you can use herbs only. You can also use herbs and essential oils if you’d like. If you only have lavender essential oil, then you can dilute it in some carrier oil (sweet almond oil or fractionated coconut oil) and see how well it works keeping bugs away on it’s own. If it doesn’t work well, you may want to invest in some other bug deterring essential oils (like the ones I mentioned in the post) to use with it. You can also learn more about using essential oils safely with children here.

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  8. Joanna Tan says:

    Is there a substitute for witch hazel extract?

    • Meagan Visser says:

      You could use an herbal hydrosol. I’ve been making an herbal bug spray with yarrow hydrosol that works well and smells amazing! Hope that helps!

  9. Donna says:

    I’m wondering if I could use the tick repellent on an infant or toddler? Ticks are bad in Iowa this summer, a 2 mo. old in a town near us just had a small tick and now has lyme. I need something safe to use on my infant & toddler grands. Thanks

    • Meagan Visser says:

      Personally, I would not use EOs on a baby under 3 months, at all. Babies older than 3 months can have lavender essential oil, diluted to .25%, according to aromatherapist Valerie Worwood. Other aromatherapists steer clear of using essential oils on children under 2 years old. Instead, they use hydrosols or herbal sprays. If it were me, I’d try the herbal sprays recommended in the post without any essential oils in them. If that doesn’t work, I would add lavender essential oil, properly diluted based on the child’s age, to see if that worked. Hope that helps some, Donna, and I’m so sad to hear about the baby with Lyme Disease. That’s terrible!

  10. Heather C Miller says:

    Hey Meagan 🙂
    My family lives in KS due to a recent move and we’re currently trying to convert to a more chemical free home.
    I have 5 boys but my youngest are 2 &4. Is there any kind of oil mix to repel in general (mostly flees from our pets) that would be good to use in a diffuser? Im a huge fan of peppermint/eucalyptus scents but understand they aren’t safe for small children. Is there anything good to add to lavendar ?

    • Meagan Visser says:

      Hi, Heather. I’m not sure I’m understanding your question correctly, but I’ve never heard of anyone using essential oils in a diffuser to repel pests. Most times, essential oils are applied to a pet’s collar, to the pet’s bedding, or mixed in a carrier oil and applied to the pet’s fur. You’d have to ask someone with more EO training (like an aromatherapist) about diffusing oils for that purpose. Also, keep in mind that most EOs should not be used on or around cats, fish, and other small animals, but many are safe for dogs. As far as coming up with essential oils that smell good to you and repel pests, lavender is an option. I also believe spearmint is safe for kids of a certain age and Eucalyptus smithii is safe as well. Hope this helps some, and let me encourage you to keep researching!

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