Sometimes keeping the Earth green and beautiful starts in your own backyard. If you grow plants in anything from a window box to a spacious plot, you know how much work goes into keeping your precious plants thriving. Add extra protection for your flowers and veggies with this Non-Toxic Natural Pest Spray. It will help keep your garden beautiful without all the harsh and dangerous chemicals. This simple DIY uses the Nature Shield blend to help keep the bugs at bay. Or if you’re in need of a KidSafe option, use Shield Me instead.
Non-Toxic Natural Pest Spray
What you’ll need:
- Nature Shield (or KidSafe Shield Me)
- Fill your bottle with the carrier of your choice (vodka or water/witch hazel with an added preservative)
- Polysorbate 20
- 4oz Spray Bottle
What you’ll do:
- Fill the 4 oz spray bottle with your carrier almost to the top.
- Add 72 drops of Nature Shield for a 2% dilution.
- Add 1 teaspoon of polysorbate 20 (emulsifier).
126 thoughts on “Non-Toxic Natural Pest Spray DIY”
what can I use instead of Polysorbate 20?
You can also use Everclear, which acts as a preservative and emulsifier. Just make sure it’s at least 25% of your total mixture.
Hi! My roller bottle is 10ml, so if its 2% dilution then I have to put 4 drops of shield me? Is that enough? I’m using fractionated coconut oil as a carrier. Thank you!!
Hi Catherine, if you’re looking to do a 2% dilution in 10 mL of carrier oil, you’ll need 6 drops of essential oil. We have a detailed post with a handy dilution chart that you can use for easy reference.
I love making my own oily concoctions to keep the bugs at bay. My family picks on me when i come outside smelling of all my essential oils but i would rather spray these healing oils over me and my kiddos any day than using those harsh chemicals!
If I use 100 proof vodka, 72 drops of essential oils, and polysorbate 20, how much optiphen plus do I use and can I add water to use less vodka? Thank you!!
I am very excited to try this!!! We always have to go indoors once the bugs are out!!
If using Everclear in this, since it is drying to the skin, could this recipe then be added to a lotion base such as Olive Lotion?
You could use lotion, Debbie! Or even a carrier oil of your choice.
I just wanted to say how thankful I am for finding out about Plant Therapy.
We do alot of camping and when the bugs are bad, we wear alot of bug spray. I don’t like doing it – especially not on the kids – but I have moderate to severe insect bite reactions and the kids get eaten alive.
I was so happy to find a KidsSafe bug repellent EO in Shield Me.
We went on our first camping trip this weekend and I made the very simple Shield Me spray shared here.
This spray repelled the black flies and mosquitoes just as well as our Deep Woods Off. The only difference between the two was that the Shield Me doesn’t offer tick protection (as far as I know). We alternated between Shield Me and Off and it was perfect.
Thank you Plant Therapy!
My neighbor made this with the kids safe blend and it has worked beautifully on my kiddos. I will be ordering shield me so we can make this ourselves!
I love this so much! I can’t wait to give it a try! I’ve been wanting to order the shield me oil anyways!
I just ordered Shield Me and cannot wait to try this on my son. He spends his days outdoors and I am looking for ways to cut down on his exposures to chemicals
Ok, I do make natural bug spray to use on myself. I am going to try the tea tree spray for fungus on my rose bushes. I am wondering if there is any good oil that will keep the bunny rabbits from nipping at all my flowering plants. They don’t eat it buy just keep snipping the plants and I don’t get to see my flowers bloom. I feel sad, I would love to see at least some plants bloom. TIA
We definitely understand wanting to see those beautiful blooms! Try Peppermint or Rosemary to help keep critters out of your garden.
Also, if using everclear grain alcohol I should NOT add any water, correct? (Sorry, I am brand new to the EO scene and have just started.)
Hi Lisa! If you use Everclear, you can add some water. You just need to use at 20-30% of the total. So, for this recipe you could use 1oz Everclear and 3 oz of water (minus 2.5ml–the amount of the essential oil). Because Everclear can also solubilize, you wouldn’t need to use the polysorbate either if you chose to use Everclear. You can learn more about the specifics of blending with alcohol here: https://tisserandinstitute.org/effective-use-alcohol-aromatic-blending/
Thank you so much!
Would neem oil added to this work as well (while keeping the total drops at 72)?
Is this good for chasing away spider mites?
I was wandering if I can add Lemon Eucalyptus? Not sure of how much. Looking to add it with the kid safe Shield me.
You can absolutely add Lemon Eucalyptus! For however many drops you decide to add, just make sure to adjust the Shield Me drops so you stay at 72 total drops for this recipe.
How much of the preservatives do you add for this recipe? Would the roll-on last as well?
Each preservative will have their own usage recommendations. Here is a blog post that you might find helpful for getting started with preservatives! https://blog.planttherapy.com/blog/2018/10/18/preservatives-and-essential-oil-diys-an-overview/ You can add to a roll on bottle if desired and use a carrier oil as the base, that’s completely acceptable and you wouldn’t need to add a preservative or emulsifiers if you’re not adding water.
I have all the singles from shield me and I’m trying to do a 3.5 dilution for 90ml could you help me figure out how many drops of each please??
Shield me is on it’s way! Would love to try this.
Living abroad, I cannot get witch hazel or everclear, but I have found a 95% ethanol based alcohol at the pharmacy. Could that work for this? Will probably use this to spray on the clothes and mix the EO with aloe jelly or a lotion to use on the skin.
This is awesome!!! I can’t wait to make it. I’ve become obsessed with oils and looking for all kinds of ways to swap out everyday products. Thank you!
Thanks for great ideas for use! I also appreciate the information on emulsifiers in above answer–helpful! I guess vegetable glycerin is not a substitute;)
I just bought Nature Shield because of this post! I hate the way bug spray makes me feel. Not to mention the DEET…
I cant wait to make this!
Should the bottle be glass? Or is plastic ok? Just want to make it more portable, and less breakable with kids around using it. Thanks!
You can use plastic as long as you make sure to use a Pet Plastic bottle. Just look for the triangle with a 1 inside of it on the bottom of your bottle. Some may also say PET or PETE under the triangle.
I am about to make this but i had a question with this “witch hazel with an added preservative”. what does that mean “with an added preservative”? I have dr. thayer witch hazel, lavender. can i use this? do i have to add preservative? I love your products!!!
Hi Ann! An added preservative just means a preservative like Germall or Optiphen Plus. These keep your product from going bad. You can still make this without the preservative, just make sure to take care with storing your spray in in a cool, dark place and use it within two weeks. I hope that helps!
So is Polysorbate 20 both an emulisfier and a preservative? And if I’m reading things correctly, water-based spray recipes ideally should have both an emulisifier (to mix the oils with the water-based products) and a preservative. Is this correct? And will Polysorbate 20 do both?
If I am using alcohol, do I need a preservative? Also, which do you recommend for a spray like this if I do need it?
If you use alcohol, just make sure it’s the highest proof you can find (Everclear is the ideal choice) and it will act as a preservative and an emulsifier.
Making a kid safe one for my to use on her son. Thank you or this wonderful recipe
This is a great recipe. How long will the bug spray last? Will it need a preservative to elongate shelf life?
It depends on which way you choose to make it. If you use a high proof alcohol, it will not need a preservative. If you choose to use witch hazel and water with an emulsifier, it would need an added preservative.
You said a “high proof alcohol.” What is the lowest proof it could be and still not need an emulsifier or preservative? Or could I use isopropyl alcohol? If I did would I need an emulsifier or preservative?
My daughter and I get attacked by pests, while the rest of the family seems immune. I will definitely be adding this spray to my arsenal. Thank you for the recipe.
Making myself a batch of this. On the “going natural” journey! Love finding recipes that I need in my day to day life. AND I have the necessary oil to make it. WIN WIN!
Yes! It’s that time of year for bug bites and annoying pests! My kids were outside yesterday and came in with several bites and I immediately jumped online and placed an order! I cannot wait to try them out. I know I won’t be disappointed! I’m thankful for a bug repellent that is safe to use and is also affordable! Bring on summer!
Great info! I normally use carrier oil and Nature Shield and it works, just not a fan of the greasy feel. I will definitely try this recipe when it is time to make new bug spray.
What great ideas! Can’t wait to try this on my rose bush, poor thing is being eaten up by aphids 🙁
Can I use citronella instead of shield me?
Thanks for this information. Great to have a natural alternative as our camping season begins.
I’ve made my own bug spray for the past couple years. Worked well keeping all the those annoying gnats away during soccer games.
This will be great this summer! Thank you.
It so important to me to have healthy non chemical alternatives to things I use around the house. I’m looking forward to getting this oil
Thank you for this! This Summer is the Summer I’m planning to garden, so I love the natural solution.
Cant wait to try this. South Florida bugs are no joke
Can’t wait to make this! Thank you!
This recipe is in my binder. My grandson and I will be going camping this summer, and with all the rain we got, I know the bugs are going to be awful.
Would this keep ticks at bay? Or any suggestions for that?
Hi Chianne, while we can’t specifically speak to ticks, this recipe does do wonders for keeping most pests at bay, so give it a try!
Thanks for posting this, I’ll have to make it this year to try out. I’ll post again to say how it worked for us!
Ready to give this a try! Mosquitoes were so bad last year and I’m hoping this will do the trick!!
This is awesome! Can’t wait to try! I’m need to get some natural shield. I’d I use vodka do I still need polysorbate?
I need help now! The kidsafe recipe book on the website says 2oz jojoba oil and 72 drops shield me. This says 4oz with 72 drops. Which one should I have done for my 6, 4 and 2 year old children? Thanks.
Either recipe will work for you. I always recommend starting lower and increasing if necessary. 🙂
I’ve been using the sprsy with shield me but unfortunately it did not work well for me sprayed a ton yet still get bite from the mosquitoes
I like the roll on and I’ve always thought it would work better as a spray. Glad to have the recipe to try it out!
This is something I wished would have helped me against my war on bugs, bites, itch! Just not strong enough. But it seems to work good for the rest of my family. I spray, every part of me and still get bites!
Oh no! Sorry to hear it wasn’t as effective for you. But we do have a recipe for a bug bite remedy that might give you some relief.
Great for summer
I need this very much. Thanks for the great tip.
Looking forward to trying this!
I love this recipe! We live near a green belt and we have had more bugs than usual following an abnormally wet winter. I feel so much better about putting this on my kids before they go outside in the afternoons.
Thank You I will be making this for use on my little patio garden.
We have a few outdoorsy events taking place soon so I’ll be making this! I already have Nature Shield but it’s not KS and I can’t handle the Patchouli so I’ll be doing a copycat of Shield Me (KS) without patchouli. I’ll try various media for application (spray, lotion/aloe jelly, diffusion using a USB unit). Now if I could just get a hold of a high enough proof of alcohol so I don’t need to buy a separate preservative. Time to go shopping (bottles, carriers, etc.)!
Can’t wait to try!
Love this!! Can’t wait to whip this up to try for camping this summer!
I’m going to be making this to use in my garden this spring!
I will definitely be trying this! Pests here in the summer are awful!! Thanks!
Love this!! I made some but left it at home but I had some healing balm on me with sheild me oil, so I just added them tog6for fast pest rub and worked great.
can’t wait to try this! All the over-the-counter bug sprays make me gag! Looking forward to this natural version
Looking forward to trying this! The bugs in Tennessee are out in full force.
Looks simple enough, I guess I can do this 😉
If making this spray for children, is it safe to use alcohol?
That depends on your personal preferences really. A small amount of alcohol could be absorbed, though it evaporates very quickly so not much would likely absorb. I’d do some more research and decide definitively for your family. 🙂
The ONLY thing that works on me is the highest DEET chemicals- I am looking forward to the bugs coming out and using this natural deterrent!
us too! I wish the natural options worked for us as well as the DEET… even that didn’t completely ward of those crazy mosquitos last year
Definitely making this DIY, thank you so much for all the recipes and encouragement!!
I have to get some of the Shield Me…
I’ll definitely be needing this soon! Thank you!
I just made this yesterday. I can’t wait to try it. I love all plant therapy products and recipes! Iam defusing defender right now due to allergies and love it!
I had no idea it was this easy. I cannot wait to try this!
Love my Shield Me roll-on, I’ll have to get the 10ml and try this next. Would PT ever consider selling Polysorbate 20? I see it in a lot of recipes and I’d love to get it from PT, if possible.
I love using Shield Me in a spray, commercial bug sprays are so gross feeling and I would hate for my kids breathing the aerosol fumes.
Thanks for this recipe. I do already have the NatureShield but plan to soon purchase some vodka so that I can make this spray. Thanks again.
Definitely going to try this!
My Organic Shield me just came in! I can’t wait to make this for my girls!
Do you have to use polysorbate if you dont use alchohol? Even if i make a really small batch?
Polysorbate is an emulsifier. It makes it so the oils will be diluted into the water. Otherwise, the oils would not be safely diluted as oil and water do not mix. To be safe for use on the skin, you would have to use the emulsifier.
I never knew you could use vodka as a carrier for something like this. Good to know! thank you for the helpful info!
What kind of preservative do yall suggest in substitution of everclear?
Hi Lauren, this is somewhat of a personal choice. I would recommend reading about various preservative choices before making your selection. You can learn more about preservatives here.
As long as I use alcohol, I don’t need the polysorbate, correct?
That’s right, Krisla 🙂
I can wait to try this out!
Essential oils are awesome it seems like I use them every day from cleaning to defusing. Thank you plant therapy for having terrific oils at an affordable price
I’ll have to try this out!
Thank you! Will have to try this without the nasty polysorbate.
I love this!
This is on my to do list next for sure! The pests are coming out already!Spring has sprung!!!
I can’t wait to try this. I am purchasing the oils needed to make this.
I love making this bug spray! I use vodka with polysorb 20 (don’t have access to everclear). Shield Me seems to work better for me than Nature Shield, but I do like them both.
Can’t wait to try this! Love using natural products.
I’m going to try this on my plants. Thank you plant therapy.
I love this alternative to the chemical ones sold in stores! It’s nice to be able to use our oils for a really practical purpose that’s healthy and knowing we don’t have to worry about the ingredients! Win/win!
We did this last summer and it worked wonderfully! We will definitely be using this again this year!
I just bought Sheild Me so I can make this for my family and friends. It’s great to know I’ll be able to protect my family and friends with something that doesn’t contain harsh chemicals.
With spring coming up, can’t wait to try this.
Will definitely give this a try! Do you know if this works on slugs and snails? Thanks!
I can’t wait to try this for the summer. I am a mosquito magnet. I have also made some candles using Nature Shield. I hope they will keep me bite free!
Will definitely be making this soon! Recently made the buzz off lotion bars only in a tube from the blog. They turned out great although we haven’t had a chance to use them yet since it’s still chilly in Iowa!
Is polysorbate 20 considered a “natural” ingredient? I ask because it sounds like it’s one of those in the yucky category that we try to avoid.
Polysorbate is an emulsifier. It is not a “natural” ingredient. However, in waterbased products, using an emulsifier is absolutely necessary so that the oils are properly diluted.
You can learn more about emulsifiers here. We would encourage research so that you can make the best decisions for you and your family while still using essential oils safely and effectively.
A great natural way to keep the bugs away. Haven’t had to try it yet as it is still to cold in the Midwest. I am hoping to have as much success as Layne did with keeping the bugs away.
Would you have to lower the dilution for a 1 year old? I currently have a 2.5 year old and a 1 year old and with the weather changing I am anticipating mosquito purgatory as we live on a small man made lake. If I do have to lower it, what would that be?
Hi Kari! We do not currently recommend using essential oils with a 1-year old, even in this recipe.
I love using this in the Spring, Summer and Fall months. I feel that it works very well and I am thankful that it is non toxic for my littles.
Love how well this works even compared to the sprays we used to buy at the store and it’s so much better for use around my little girl! We are outside every evening in Oklahoma and the bugs tend to be over welcoming so we started using this to defeat them with great success
I’m excited to try this. We just moved into a new house and bought a few potted plants to try outside now that we have the space!