5 Natural Insect Repellents

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Living in a warm, humid environment, we are always dealing with a lot of insects.   We can have our apartment treated for pest control, but we all know insecticides can be harmful in the long term.  So we keep chemical insecticide use to a minimum.   When we do use them, we use a non-toxic spray.

You can also make insect deterrents from readily available items.

Here are my 5 favorite natural insect repellents:

Insect repellent sachets

Dried mint



Use one or a combination of dried herbs and place in a sachet or tea filter bag.  If you want a low-tech DIY version, snip the bottom or an old nylon pantyhose.  and fill with herbs.  You can also use a coffee filter.  Seal with a piece of twine or paracord.

Another way to make a natural drawer sachet is to place cotton balls inside the filter bag (whatever you are using), add 10 drops of mint, lavender, and rosemary essential oil and seal.  Place in your drawers, but away from clothes that you don’t want to come in contact with oils.

Soap spray for flying insects

Fill an empty sprayer bottle with water, and two teaspoons of Dawn Dishwashing Liquid (or your favorite brand).  Shake the mixture well.  Spray on flying insects such as gnats, This works well with soft-bodied insects as the soap spray dries out their exoskeleton.

Apple Cider Vinegar

PetMD.com recommends apple cider vinegar and water as a good natural remedy to deter fleas on dogs or cats.  Mix one -half apple cider vinegar and one-half water in a spray bottle.  Add a few drops lavender or cedar essential oil to the mixture.  Spray on your pet’s coat, but avoid their eyes, nose, and ears.

Mosquito Repellant Cream

Mix 1/2 cup melted coconut oil and five drops each of grapefruit, citronella and lemongrass oils.   Allow the mixture to harden.  Rub the cream on your exposed arms and legs before heading out to repel mosquitoes.  Avoid rubbing near your face as this can irritate your eyes and nose.


Use Borax to get rid of cockroaches naturally.  Borax is found in the laundry aisle of Walmart or the supermarket.  Sprinkle the powder lightly under cabinets or anywhere cockroaches can hide.

As with any materials, keep these mixtures away from pets or children.  They are not lethal but can still cause irritation.     I am sure there are many more natural methods to get rid of insects.  The above are just the ones that I have tried and worked well for me.  Your results may be different from mine.

Please visit our video of this article: https://youtu.be/iA_yBjixumY

What are your favorite natural pest repellents?  Please share in the comments.


About the author:

Bernie Carr is the founder of Apartment Prepper. She has written several books including the best-selling Prepper’s Pocket Guide, Jake and Miller’s Big Adventure, The Penny-Pinching Prepper and How to Prepare for Most Emergencies on a $50 a Month Budget. Her work appears in sites such as the Allstate Blog and Clark.com, as well as print magazines such as Backwoods Survival Guide and Prepper Survival Guide. She has been featured in national publications such as Fox Business and Popular Mechanics. Learn more about Bernie here.





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  1. A sure cure for ants–diatomaceous earth.
    It’s a powder form. Just sprinkle where the problem is overnight and vacuum the next morning.
    I had a lot of ants come out in the warm spring from under the house/foundation; sprinkle at the door entrancew; in fact, since I started using de, I have no ant problem.

    1. Hi JJ, We get ant problems as the temperatures start rising. Will have to try diatomaceous earth! Thanks for the tip!

      1. Diatomaceous earth works for any crawling insect hard or soft. It seem to slice them open so the dry out and die. I have use it for a number of years.

  2. You can use a hairdryer to kill bedbugs. Set it on high and slow go around the baseboards of the room and the joints of headboard of the bed. You will also need to go over any other items in the room the same way as well. You will need to put the mattress is a special mattress cover that is bedbug proof. They cannot get in or out of that type of cover. Do this to any luggage you take a trip before you bring it back in to you apartment. When I have to travel for training I always keep my clothing in heavy duty garbage bags in my luggage. One for clean and one for dirty. I always treat the luggage before bring it back in doors. And take all the clothing and run them trough a washing cycle and an extra long HIGH heat drying cycle.

    1. Hi Ben, Bed bugs are hard to get rid of from what I hear. Using a hairdryer to kill them is a great tip! I am sure those other preventive measures work as well. Thanks for the comment!

  3. We always had ants on the kitchen counter in summer in this house, and we also had evidence of a mouse under the sink. I read somewhere that mice don’t like mint, so I got some dried mint and sprinkled it around the pipes. Voila – no more ants! (Or mice)

  4. Just – FYI cockroach’s do not like the smell of cucumber rinds. So if you ever see cucumber rinds on the floor of a restraint’s kitchen you know that they have a cockroach problem.

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