On my recent trip to Plum Island to watch for warblers, I really didn’t want the day marred by bloodsucking insects. But I also wasn’t too keen on spraying toxic and foul-smelling chemicals all over myself. Can you relate?

Fortunately, I’d recently purchased a book about repelling insects naturally, using safe and gentle means. And I had all the ingredients on hand to whip up the tick-repellent recipe.

Fingers crossed, I ventured out into the bush, reapplying the repellent spray every half hour or so.

Early Results

I think it’s no coincidence that not a single tick targeted me, whereas three dog ticks hitch-hiked home on my husband. (We found them all before they bit, thankfully.) I wasn’t troubled by any of those teeny-tiny, swarming black flies or by mosquitoes, either.

Since then, I’ve used this tick-repellent spray faithfully while I’ve been out in my own garden. Nary a tick have I found on myself since then (and I’ve looked!).

I’m quite happy to stink to high heaven from a tick’s perspective, especially since the repellent smells very pleasant to me! And I’m happy to be getting favorable results without resorting to chemicals I’d rather avoid, too. 😊

Encouraged and wanting to share with you, I contacted Stephanie Tourles to see if she would give me permission to share a recipe from her wonderful book, Naturally Bug-Free: 75 Nontoxic Recipes for Repelling Mosquitoes, Ticks, Fleas, Ants, Moths & Other Pesky Insects, with you.

In case you’re not already familiar with her, Stephanie is a Licensed Holistic Esthetician in ME, MA, and GA. She has a background in Western and Ayurvedic herbalism and over 25 years experience in her field.

She very kindly gave me permission to share the following recipe with you. Yay! Thank you, Stephanie. ❤️

So without further ado, here’s the recipe for the tick-repellant spray I’ve been using:

Lemony Eucalyptus-Geranium Tick-Repellent Spray

When these four essential oils – lemon eucalyptus, geranium, lemongrass, and citronella – are combined, the result is a potent, safe, and pleasingly aromatic tick repellent that works wonderfully well at fending off flying insects, too.

Note: You can substitute Eucalyptus globulus essential oil, if E. citriodora is unavailable. The formula will still be effective, but the lemon aroma will be lighter.

  • 20 drops geranium essential oil
  • 14 drops lemon eucalyptus essential oil
  • 7 drops lemongrass essential oil
  • 7 drops citronella essential oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid castile soap, peppermint or eucalyptus scented
  • 1/2 teaspoon vegetable glycerin
  • 1/4 cup purified water
  • 1/4 cup unflavored vodka
  • 4-ounce spritzer bottle
  1. Add the geranium, lemon eucalyptus, lemongrass, and citronella essential oils directly to the storage bottle, then add the liquid soap, glycerin, water, and vodka. Screw the top on the bottle and shake vigorously to blend. Allow the spray to synergize for 1 hour.
  2. Store at room temperature, away from heat and light; use within 1 year.

Application: Shake well immediately before use. Spray liberally onto skin as needed – you may need to reapply every 20 to 30 minutes. May stain light-colored fabrics.

Recipe excerpted from Naturally Bug-Free: 75 Nontoxic Recipes for Repelling Mosquitoes, Ticks, Fleas, Ants, Moths & Other Pesky Insects by Stephanie Tourles (c2016, Storey Publishing).  Reprinted with permission.

Naturally Bug-Free

Of course, there are an additional seventy-four recipes in Naturally Bug-Free, including several for keeping yourself and your pets (cats and dogs) pest-free.

Stephanie also shares a number of ways to make your home inviting to you while making it simultaneously unpleasant to creepy-crawlies. I’ll be sharing one of her recipes for encouraging ants to vacate the kitchen (!!!) in an upcoming post.

You’ll also find important information like this in the book:

  • How to do a skin patch-test
  • When particular herbs are contra-indicated (such as for young children or pregnant or lactating women)
  • How to store ingredients and finished formulas to maintain their potency
  • Synergistic strategies for maximum effectiveness

It’s a fun and easy read and I’m really impressed by the results I’ve enjoyed so far! I hope you’ll enjoy this recipe and exploring more on the subject of herbs, too.

You can learn more about Stephanie Tourles at her website.

Thanks again to Stephanie for graciously allowing me to share this recipe with you. ❤️

You can find Naturally Bug-Free: 75 Nontoxic Recipes for Repelling Mosquitoes, Ticks, Fleas, Ants, Moths & Other Pesky Insects here.

Have you already tried herbal repellents? If so, what’s worked well for you?