How to Make a Homemade Mosquito Spray for Your Yard

Mosquitoes find many different natural plants and even consumable goods unpleasant and will not go near them or any area which has been treated with that product. The internet is full of recipes for homemade DIY insect and mosquito sprays, lotions, and other products, but many of them do not seem to work as well as claimed by their authors. For that reason, in this article, I have gathered some of those homemade mosquito yard spray recipes which have been proven to be efficient and seem to actually keep mosquitoes away.

Mouthwash and beer mosquito repellent

This insect repellent is an interesting combination of ingredients. Since these ingredients can be found in most households and their combination has been effective at deterring mosquitoes, I would give it a shot. You can spray this mouthwash and beer mosquito repellent throughout the yard. Some claim that it will last about two and a half months before you will need to re-apply. However, alcohol (present in beer and most mouthwashes) evaporates faster even than water, so this concoction may have less residual effectiveness than claimed. 

You will need:

  • One 16 oz. bottle mint-flavored mouthwash
  • 3 cups Epsom salt
  • 3 stale 12 oz. beer

Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix them together with a spoon until the Epsom salt has dissolved completely. Use a funnel to pour the mixture into a spray bottle. You are now ready to treat your backyard with this homemade insect repellent.

When choosing your ingredients, you might want to go for a mint-flavored mouthwash which is also organic. It is advisable to buy an Epsom salt that is lavender– or eucalyptus-scented. Better yet, look for one that is both. When choosing your beer, go for whichever is the cheapest as any beer will work fine in this recipe. However, it must be stale. Carbon dioxide, present in fizzy beverages like beer, is attractive to mosquitoes. They use it to locate people or other animals to feed on.

It’s unclear why this mixture works and it doesn’t work for everyone (like many other mosquito repellents). While mint is known to repel mosquitoes and other insects, the efficacy of Epsom salts as an insect repellent has not been tested, and beer consumption makes humans more attractive to mosquitoes, not less. In an informal test, beer even worked as a mosquito trap. Eucalyptus oil repels mosquitoes and is present in mouthwash. However, its concentration is so low (less than 1%) that it’s probably not doing anything for mosquitoes. 

Apple cider vinegar mosquito repellent

A very simple but efficient recipe for a yard spray is this apple cider vinegar mosquito repellent. Even though the effect will fade quickly, it will be efficient and may keep the mosquitoes from coming into your backyard.

You will need:

  • 2 oz. water (normal or distilled)
  • 2 oz. apple cider vinegar
  • 20-55 drops of Bug Off Oil (depending on the level of protection you need)

Mix all of the ingredients together and pour the mixture into a spray bottle. The residual efficiency of this repellent is unknown, but once you notice an increase in the number of pests again, you can re-apply without hesitation. As the mixture is completely safe and natural, it will not harm humans or the environment.

The effectiveness of this repellent is mostly due to the effects of the essential oils in the Bug Off Oil. Apple cider vinegar alone does not repel mosquitoes. If you can get your hands on some wood vinegar, though, you may have better results.

Essential oil mosquito repellent

There are many plants that naturally deter insects, including mosquitoes. That is why the essential oils that are extracted from them are widely used in the production of insect repellent products. But you can also use the same essential oils when creating homemade insect repellents.

Several essential oils have been tested and shown to repel mosquitoes on their own, but they are often more effective in combination.

Below, we list the essential oils that have known mosquito repellent properties. Mix them with a carrier (e.g., soybean or olive oil, witch hazel, or water) if you plan to use them on your skin. Essential oils can irritate the skin. Carriers reduce the chances of irritation.

eucalyptus essential oil

SiNeeKan/Shutterstock.com

Mosquito-repellent oils:

Because essential oils are very concentrated, you should mix 10-20 drops of oil to 2 oz distilled water and 2 oz white vinegar in a spray bottle and shake to combine. You can experiment with different oils in various amounts. Vanillin, an extract from the vanilla bean, is considered an effective mosquito repellent, so you may consider adding it. Citrus oils should be avoided. While they are often repellent to insects, some can damage plants. Though if you’re after an herbicide as well, you can control two problems at once.

Even though your recipe might change a bit, the core idea of using natural essential oils from mosquito repelling plants remains. 

Be careful of using any insect repellents around children. Don’t let them handle any of the products. The effects of lemon eucalyptus oil specifically have not been tested on children under three.

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68 Comments

patricia carey

I made a mistake and bought the green mouthwash (spearmint) instead of the blue mouthwash (peppermint) . My question is: Will the green mouthwash still work in place of the blue one? The receipe calls for blue or should I just go out and buy a blue one? thanks

    Karen

    As long as the spearmint mouthwash smells minty it should be okay. But if it doesn’t then I suggest you go out and buy the peppermint mouthwash.

    patrick

    Are these recipes cat safe??

    Karen

    You should especially avoid the third recipe since it calls for using thyme and eucalyptus essential oils, which are considered toxic to cats. But if you’re still not sure if all the ingredients in these recipes are cat-safe, I’d suggest you consult your vet.

    Judy

    I tried the mouthwash, beer and Epsom salts. It wasn’t very effective. I sprayed two separate occasions in the exact areas. I could see all the flying insects scatter as I was spraying but they returned within 24 hours.

    Sue

    Can I heat this mixture?? The epsom salt isn’t dissolving. Very good.

    Karen

    I’m not sure, I’ve never tried this myself.

    Cassandra

    Use Alcohol free mouthwash. Mosquitoes are attracted to alcohol…

frank

i tried the mouth wash beer spray and it did not work seem to not have any effect after you sprayed, while you were actually spraying it worked!!!

    Karen

    Glad to hear that it worked at least while you were actually spraying the solution in your yard.

christian therrien

can i use the beer and mouth wash in a fogger?
if not, do you know a recepy that i can use on a home made fogger?
thanks

    Karen

    Not sure how well will the beer and mouth wash solution work with a fogger because I haven’t tried applying it via a fogger. But I have heard people using water and garlic mixture in DIY foggers.

    Lawrence

    I need to make about 10 gallons to use in a boom sprayer in my neighborhood any ideas

    Karen

    Any recipe can be used, altering the proportions. However, considering 10 gallons is quite a bit, commercially sold products might also be taken into a consideration.

Lori

We started using the mouthwash and beer a couple of years ago after moving to TX. It’s works great for us! Apply around perimeter of the area you’ll be in. Must reapply after rain. Note that salt may leave residue on certain surfaces.

jerry montanez

my water sprinklers com on at night,does this wash off the effectness of the beer spray

    Karen

    Your water sprinklers will definitely significantly decrease the efficiency of the beer spray, or, if the sprinklers are on for a long time, wash it off completely.

Randy Worzalla

I used the mouthwash/beer/Epsom salt mix in my yard and it worked great. Re-applied after 60 days and made it to the fall. My question: is there any ill effects to beneficial insects – bees, lady bugs, etc.?

    Karen

    This mix is pretty harmless to bees and other beneficial insects. Epsom salt, for example, is completely safe to bees. The only thing beer will do to bees is get them slightly dazed. And since bees don’t like mouthwash very much, they will most likely keep away from the area you used this spray on.

    Debbie Jones

    Drunk bees! That’s hilarious!!!

    Arizona

    Hi, can you please give the exact brand of each? it seems like your mixture last really long.
    Thanks!

Harold

Will the beer and mouthwash mixture work on pesky knats if not do you have any other ideas that might work

    Karen

    This mixture should repel other insects as well, but I haven’t personally tested it on gnats or any other pests besides mosquitoes.

    Shawn

    Vanilla extract is best! Spray it or rub it all over your skin. Only lasts a few hours if they are really thick where you live, but none the less, it works amazing and you smell better than most chemical sprays. Hope this helps.

Fonda

Can vinegar be use instead of beer?

    Karen

    Not sure, I haven’t tried it, therefore, it’s hard to say how efficient it will be.

    N.Stark

    Apple cider vinegar is supposed to work on keeping mosquitoes & biting gnats, at bay.

Marcie Fusco

Which formulas are kid safe? I have a 10 month old and our mosquitos are unbearable. Surrounded by tree line woods all around. I worry about exposure to Epsom salts,and neem oil…

    Karen

    As long as it’s not consumed both Epsom salt and Neem oil should be relatively safe for children. But I would recommend you consult your pediatrician before using any of these homemade or even store-bought sprays.

George

I want to use the mouthwash/beer/Epsom salt mixture…BUT…I have planted a lot of wild flowers to attract the bees and butterflies and I also have a garden which I want to keep pollinated…will this also repel the friendly insects like butterflies, bees and lady bugs??? Thank you

    Karen

    Unfortunately, this mixture will most likely repel beneficial insects as well.

    Raquel Hickey

    From reading the comments it appears this recipe’s effectiveness is determined by type of climate, for example: I live in Florida and we have our rainy season and that’s when we have the most mosquitos! It seems that this formula will be washed away.
    In drier climates like Arizona, it will be effective and last longer….
    Am I making the correct assumptions?
    I guess in Floria we can still use it and apply as needed when it’s dry & entertaining outside…..

    Karen

    In areas that experience a ton of rain during the summer, this spray or any other spray for that matter will be less efficient than in areas where rain is a rarity in the summer. However, as long as you let this homemade spray to completely dry for at least a few hours before there is any water added to the area the treatment should continue working even after rain. Because I have heard people from Florida using this method and having little to no mosquitoes in their area even after just one or two applications.

    K-L

    What about hummingbirds, will it make them not come if you use this spray?

    Karen

    We are not really experts on birds, however, I don’t see why any of these ingredients would cause the hummingbirds to avoid the garden.

Karen

Is this homemade bug repellant with blue mouthwash safe for gardens, trees and grass?

    Karen

    It should be safe to use on all types of plants, trees, and other vegetation.

Sherry

If mixture is put in a sealed handheld lawn sprayer will it keep to for use at a later date?

    Karen

    When it comes to homemade yard sprays (or any other homemade products for that matter) it is usually best to use them up sooner rather than later.

Glatha

are all the mixtures ok for animals and birds? my dogs are in a pen and the mosquitoes are real bad in the grass

    Karen

    The Epson salt, beer, and mouthwash treatment is safe for dogs as long as you let the sprayed area dry before you let your pups back into it. The second recipe should be ok as well. However, since the third one contains essential oils I would refrain from using it around your pets.

Margot

Is the mouthwash/beer/ Epson salt pet friendly?

    Karen

    In small doses, mouthwash, beer, and Epsom salt are all safe for pets. So, as long as your pet doesn’t directly drink the mixture, it should be fine to use around pets, especially if you let your pets back into the treated area only once the area has fully dried.

Chuck Paradis

Used the mouthwash,epsom salt and beer recipe and applied heavily in the yard around camp and had hardly any mosquitoes for almost 2 months before re-applying

ADA

what do you recommend for bird bath? I do not want to use anything that will harm the birds. Thanks.

    Karen

    Try using Mosquito Dunks or Bits in your bird bath. They contain B.t.i. which is harmless to birds but will kill all of the mosquito larvae developing in the water.

Jackie

Does the beer have to be stale?Having a parry in 24 hrs.

    Karen

    I would suggest so, yes.

TH

I am finding it difficult to get the Epsom salt to dissolve. Any tips?

    Karen

    Epsom salt dissolves better under running water or warm water that’s between 90 and 100°F.

    kim

    I had better success with the epsom salts melting mixing it with the mouthwash first and then adding the beer afterwards

Sandra Webb

I have a peppermint epson salt will that work for this recipe

    Karen

    Yes, the peppermint Epsom salt will work as well.

Nita

Will Epsom salts damage your lawn?

    Karen

    No, it won’t.

Nelda

Can you use a clean/wash off hand held lawn sprayer. the type you connect to water hose?

    Karen

    I would advise you to use a regular sprayer.

Maggie

Will the mouthwash beer and Epsom salts mixture harm free range chickens?

    Karen

    I’m not completely sure, however, I don’t see why it should.

    Gail

    Will this mosquitoe receipts with epsomsalt hurt my flowers and my garden?

    Karen

    No, the ingredients should be safe for your garden.

Linda Tyrie

Can this be used to deter ticks as well?

    InsectCop

    Since all the recipes are meant for mosquitoes specifically, I wouldn’t recommend counting on them for ticks as well. Even though some ingredients might have the same effect on both, the proportions and the usage of other ingredients matters as well! And since I assume you’re going for something natural, so I suggest looking into this article, in case something there catches your eye!

Rebecca

For everyone wondering if Epsom salt will harm plants, no it will not. It is good for plants. I actually will mix some in the dirt at the bottom of the hole while planting. It is a good way to give them magnesium.

Also, I have used this recipe in Florida, and it worked great. Mixing some up right now to use in SC.

Me'Lisa St. Pierre

I LIVE IN FLORIDA WHAT ABOUT NATURAL FLEA DETERENT..WE ARE A BUG HAVEN,,NEED NATURAL FOR EVERYTHING…DO NOT WANT TO HURT MY NATURE

    InsectCop

    Check out this article. We have reviewed a few products there, some of which are natural.

Eric

I have been looking into a fogging system to do mosquito control in my yard. Would any of these recipes work in a propane fogger?

    InsectCop

    These recipes shouldn’t be used in a propane fogger. To find something that does work check out our article on fogger liquids. There we have listed both chemical and more natural alternatives for what to use in your mosquito fogger.

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