Super Simple and Effective Homemade Tick & Insect Repellents

Tick bites? Ain’t nobody got time for that! But seriously, did you know that essential oils can save the day when it comes to tick prevention? Not only are they au-naturale and free of harsh chemicals, but they also have other health benefits (which we can dive into another day). According to the CDC, oils such as rosemary, geranium, lemongrass, cedar, and peppermint can scare off those tiny terrors. But let me tell you, Geranium oil is the boss! Here’s why:

  1. Geranium oil is safe for both humans, including children over 6 months of age, as well as dogs. (Many essential oils aren’t safe to use on pets and young children)
  2. It is gentle and safe for use directly on skin and clothing
  3. It has a mild scent that everyone can tolerate (except those pesky ticks of course!)
  4. It repels other pests like those pesky mozzies

I’ve compiled a few ways to incorporate geranium oil (or the oil you prefer) into some natural homemade repellents so you can get back to enjoying the great outdoors (tick-free, of course!):

Super Simple Natural Homemade Repellents

Body & Clothing Spray

Making a clothing and body spray is my favourite method because it’s so versatile and easy to apply. I like being able to spray my clothes since that’s usually what’s touching the grass (and potentially initially catching the ticks) 


  • 20 drops essential oil (rosemary, geranium (top pick), lemongrass, cedar or peppermint)
  • 4 oz water
  • 1/2 tbsp witch hazel (optional)

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a small spray bottle. Shake before each use. 

Application: Apply as needed on skin and/or clothing

**This ratio of oils is recommended for adults. For use on children, consult your healthcare provider** 

Skin Ointment

It’s always best to use a carrier oil when using essential oils, especially if you have sensitive skin. 


  • 12 drops essential oil (rosemary, geranium (top pick), lemongrass, cedar or peppermint)
  • 2 tbsp carrier oil (ex. olive oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil)

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a small container and stir well. 

Application: Apply as needed to exposed and target areas (neck, wrists, ankles, etc)

**This ratio of oils is recommended for adults. For use on children, consult your healthcare provider** 

Options Safe for Dogs

Geranium oil is safe for use on dogs, however, is not safe to use on cats. For dogs, it can be a helpful method to deter ticks. How should it be done?

  1. Put a couple of drops on their collar OR
  2. Dilute the essential oil in a carrier oil (e.g., coconut oil, olive oil) or water. A typical dilution for dogs is 1-2 drops of essential oil in 1 ounce (30 ml) of carrier oil. Put a few drops of diluted oil between their shoulder blades

Learn more about other handy things to bring along for adventures with your dog: What to Packing for Your Four-Legged Adventure Buddy

Other Natural Methods to Prevent Ticks

On top of using a natural tick repellant, there are a few habits you should incorporate into your exploring routine to avoid getting bit by one (or some) of these blood suckers. 

  1. Tuck your shirt into your pants 
  2. Wear high socks & consider pulling them over your pant legs
  3. Wear closed-toe shoes
  4. Walk on cleared paths or walkways

In addition to prevention, it’s also a good idea to:

  • Throw your clothes in a dryer and put it on high for at least 10 mins to kill any ticks that may be hiding in your clothes
  • Take a shower as soon as possible
  • Give yourself, children and pets a thorough check

Ticks are most active during the spring and summer months, so it’s important to be especially vigilant during this time.  Ticks often attach themselves to warm, moist areas of the body, such as the groin, armpits, and scalp, but they can attach anywhere on the body.

If you’re unlucky and one has chosen to catch a ride with you, safely remove by using fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible and pull upward with steady, even pressure. After removing the tick, clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.

But don’t worry, as I’ve already mentioned, wearing protective clothing, and using one of the tick repellents above, greatly helps reduce the risk of getting a tick in the first place. Let’s kick those ticks to the curb and have some fun in the great outdoors!

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Have you ever encountered a tick?

I’ve never been bit, but I’ve found one crawling around my bathroom after a hike…Another time I was hiking with a friend and one was on her sandwich – good thing she noticed before taking a bite!

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The Foodie Behind the Screen

Hi there! I'm Bri.
I create and share nutritious and flavourful recipes for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers.

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