My Favorite Mosquito Repellent: Peppermint

Updated on May 25, 2016
jacope profile image

Jody has been studying herbs and herbal remedies since she was 12 years old. Medicinal teas are a favorite way of using herbs in her diet.

Robert H. Mohlenbrock @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / USDA NRCS. 1995. Northeast wetland flora: Field office guide to plant species. Northeast National Technical Center, Chester.
Robert H. Mohlenbrock @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / USDA NRCS. 1995. Northeast wetland flora: Field office guide to plant species. Northeast National Technical Center, Chester. | Source

Peppermint (Mentha piperita) has always been one of my favorites, I just never really noticed how useful it was as a mosquito repellent until I was in high school. When I was growing up my family would go to our ranch in the mountains in the summer after us kids were out of school. I never really noticed it as a child but even though there was a lot of water around we never had problems with mosquitoes. There was however a lot of wild mint. In high school, one of the organizations that I was involved with was the FFA and every year they had what was call the Ag Tour. We would spend about a week traveling across the state visiting different agricultural businesses and then we had to write a report on what we learned and which tour was our favorite and why. One of those tours was of Rainbow Gardens in Kalispell, Montana. It was a fascinating place to visit and one of the things that they told us on that tour was that when the peppermint and spearmint were growing they didn't have hardly any mosquitoes around. They also gave us each a bottle of peppermint essential oil and a bottle of spearmint essential oil. This was when I remembered the same thing from my childhood, but it was a very busy week and the knowledge got pushed to the back of my mind.

Source

And Then It Came Back To Me

A few years later we had a really mild winter and a wet spring. The mosquitoes were horrible that year. I hate mosquitoes but they love me. I could be surrounded by fifty people and it would be me that the mosquitoes would attack. The moment I stepped outside it seemed like I immediately had dozens of the little bloodsuckers either buzzing around me waiting for their turn or they were biting me and not a single mosquito repellent seemed to work. I felt like I was being eaten alive. And it was then that it came back to me, mosquitoes don’t like peppermint and spearmint. So I took a chance and made my own mosquito repellent.

How much do you think mosquitoes like your blood?

See results

My Mosquito Repellent Was Born

I still had the bottles of peppermint and spearmint essential oils so I took a small bottle and filled it almost full with olive oil, which is was I used to cook with, and added a few drops of each essential oil to it and shook it up to mix it. I coated every piece of bare skin in the oil. Oh boy did I reek of peppermint, it was a little (okay a lot) strong. But when I went outside and went for a walk I had almost not mosquito bites when I got home. I was thrilled. I had been gone for almost an hour and was nearly bite free. To this day peppermint, and spearmint but I prefer the peppermint, is my number one favorite repellent. I no longer make it so strong it’s enough to drive people away as well as mosquitoes, but it is still just as effective. I like it even better since it also doesn’t have the chemicals that most repellents do so I can use it on my daughter as well. This is a big plus for me since my daughter would end up with welts the size of quarters whenever she got bit by a mosquito. I don’t think there is much of anything worse than seeing your baby covered in welts from bug bites.

Another Method

If you don’t want to use oil you can also add the essential oil to your lotion as well. If you would like a spray or can do that as well, just fill a small spray bottle almost full with water and add a few drops of peppermint and/or spearmint essential oil, then put a little bit of alcohol, I use vodka or everclear, and shake before spraying it. The alcohol is used to help the oil and water mix together and the alcohol does evaporate quickly. Using vinegar or witch hazel in place of the water and alcohol also work. Eventually they will separate again so that is why you need to shake it well before each use. I have used each and I have found that I prefer to use it in the oil, it seems to last the longest for me. Good luck, have fun, and be mosquito free!

Questions & Answers

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Anniy 

      13 months ago

      Great and useful article. Peppermint contains pulegone which is a natural pesticide.

    • jacope profile imageAUTHOR

      Jody Cope 

      14 months ago from Missoula, MT

      I normally use 10 drops of peppermint essential oil to 4 oz of whatever base I'm using, normally olive or safflower oil. If I'm making a spray I use witch hazel or vinegar. With the spray you do need to shake it before each application. The amount of essential oil used can be varied to taste. Some people prefer a stronger or lighter scent. In general, between 5 and 15 drops works well depending on the amount of repellent being made.

    • profile image

      Andy 

      14 months ago

      What's the recipe for the peppermint bug repellent please

    • profile image

      sylvie 

      15 months ago

      can i please have the direction on how to make the spray version,with water,alcohol and spearmint essential oil, is rubbing alcohol ok to use ?

    • profile image

      Jodi Chen 

      15 months ago

      I heard about using peppermint oil to keep cockroaches and mice away and was so happy to see you confirming success with repelling mosquitos. Thanks for the tips. Which brand of peppermint essential oil do you recommend?

      Another amazing use of the peppermint oil is for treating headaches. I no longer take Tylenol. Dab some on the temples, between the eyebrows, topmost part of the head and the indent at the base of the skull in the back. Being careful when applying near the eyes. I love putting it on my entire shoulders & back neck areas. It's equivalent to a wonderful massaging. Great for nasal congestion too. I use full strength but it's better to start out diluted with water.

    • jacope profile imageAUTHOR

      Jody Cope 

      17 months ago from Missoula, MT

      Peppermint does discourage both ticks and lice, but lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) is used more for those than peppermint is-especially on pets.

    • profile image

      Greybird1 

      17 months ago

      I wonder if a peppermint formula will also discourage ticks.

      Anybody have thoughts about that?

    • profile image

      Vicki 

      17 months ago

      I used peppermint oil on cottonballs to keep mice and spiders away. Also stuffed some in a fake wasp nest hung outside to keep the wasps from making their nests in the soffits.

    • jacope profile imageAUTHOR

      Jody Cope 

      22 months ago from Missoula, MT

      MPeterson, Where did you find this research? I agree that all essential oils should be used with care. And peppermint is very potent and therefore should be diluted. It is, however, a traditional remedy for many respiratory ailments. It is this benefit that is why it, or the menthol derived from it, is used in most over the counter cold and congestion remedies.

    • jacope profile imageAUTHOR

      Jody Cope 

      22 months ago from Missoula, MT

      Anonymous, I have not found any research as to why mosquitoes dislike it. I don't know if that has even been studied. It is likely due to a combination of constituents that work synergistically.

    • profile image

      MPeterson 

      2 years ago

      Peppermint oil is NOT for use on small children! It is well documented to cause respiratory distress when applied by any route. Essential oils should be used with care as they do effect the body when inhaled or absorbed through the skin. PLEASE update your article!!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      2 years ago

      What in peppermint do mosquitoes dislike?

    • jacope profile imageAUTHOR

      Jody Cope 

      2 years ago from Missoula, MT

      It might work, Amy. You would have to try it. However, most of the peppermint oil extracts that I have seen tend to have glycerin in them, which has a sweeter smell and can attract some bugs. You would want to check the ingredients of what you plan to use. You could also put 5-10 drops of essential oil in a spray bottle of witch hazel and use it that way. I would love to hear how the method you use works for you.

    • jacope profile imageAUTHOR

      Jody Cope 

      2 years ago from Missoula, MT

      How many drops you put in an 8 oz bottle will depend on how strong you want the smell, and on how aggressive the bugs are. I have noticed in my travels that using 5-10 drops works well for most, but there have been a few areas that it barely phased the mosquitoes at all. I would start with 5 and then add 1-2 drops until you find what works best for you and your area.

    • profile image

      angelabrown711@hotmail.com 

      2 years ago

      How many drops of peppermint oil would I put in an 8 oz bottle of olive oil? TIA

    • profile image

      am 

      2 years ago

      How many drops of peppermint oil do you put in an 8 oz bottle of olive oil, to use as a repellent? TIA

    • jacope profile imageAUTHOR

      Jody Cope 

      2 years ago from Missoula, MT

      You're welcome, billybuc. I'm glad it was able to give you confirmation. I've found that I have become sensitive to the more chemically based repellents but that essential oils work wonderfully and don't make me sick.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      This is one of those things I have heard over the years but never from someone who actually has tried it...so thanks for the suggestion and confirmation.

    • jacope profile imageAUTHOR

      Jody Cope 

      3 years ago from Missoula, MT

      It depends on how strong you make it. Mine normally lasts a few hours, especially if I mix geranium essential oil with the peppermint.

    • profile image

      David 

      3 years ago

      How long does the oil work for?

    • jacope profile imageAUTHOR

      Jody Cope 

      4 years ago from Missoula, MT

      Hi Beth :) I have always been fascinated by how many things a single herb can be used for. Peppermint is one of my favorite scents & tastes, especially dark chocolate with mint. Yummy!

    • profile image

      Beth37 

      4 years ago

      Who knew? And it's such a wonderful scent.

    • jacope profile imageAUTHOR

      Jody Cope 

      5 years ago from Missoula, MT

      Hi melo,

      Peppermint is awesome, isn't it. It's also useful for a lot of other things. I'm planning another hub on the different uses of peppermint since it can be used for so many things.

    • profile image

      melo 

      5 years ago

      I was having problems with mosquitoes one day and I didn't have any repellant. On intuition I grabbed a bottle of peppermint extract used for cooking, opened it and set it on the table next to me. No more mosquitoes!

    • jacope profile imageAUTHOR

      Jody Cope 

      5 years ago from Missoula, MT

      Thanks for reading and commenting Jay. If you have small children it works great for them since most repellents say you shouldn't use them on kids two years old and younger. With peppermint you don't have to worry about it because it's chemical free and safe for even small children.

    • jacope profile imageAUTHOR

      Jody Cope 

      6 years ago from Missoula, MT

      That it does and it's so much fun to work with and learn about. You are very welcome!

    • TheListLady profile image

      TheListLady 

      6 years ago from New York City

      Love the idea of peppermint lotion - and I've also had some peppermint liquid soap. Ah, jacope, nature does work if we just know what to do with it. Thanks a million!

    • jacope profile imageAUTHOR

      Jody Cope 

      6 years ago from Missoula, MT

      You're welcome! They have been very aggressive this year. I helped at a camp in Glacier National Park and the mosquitoes were horrible there. I was so glad I had my peppermint lotion with me. Everyone else was being eaten alive even using OFF, but they left me relatively alone. Although I did have to use some of the other repellent on my clothes since I couldn't put lotion on them, but with the combination worked really well too.

    • TheListLady profile image

      TheListLady 

      6 years ago from New York City

      Hmmm I'll certainly try this - I usually keep fresh mint on my windowsill to make tea (sooooo good) but this year I've been away and no mint and yes mosquitoes and they were aggressive.

      Thanks a bunch and I am now a happy follower! Yay!

    • jacope profile imageAUTHOR

      Jody Cope 

      6 years ago from Missoula, MT

      Thanks Vampsdes. I am not sure how much peppermint needs to be planted to have the same effect, but I too am going to be planting it in my garden and have some in containers near the doors now that I have my own home. I use peppermint for a lot of things anyway so having a lot around will be great for me.

    • Vampsdes profile image

      Jenny Stub 

      6 years ago from Missouri, US

      This is the first I've heard of peppermint repelling mosquitoes. If it works like you say, it's a great idea! I would prefer planting the peppermint all around the house and see if that would work first. If a boost was needed, then I'd resort to smelling like a peppermint candy while outside. Great information, voted up and useful!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, skyaboveus.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://skyaboveus.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)