Does Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus Really Work as an Insect Repellent?

by Fernando Martinez

There is nothing worse than getting a mosquito bite. Not only do these tiny insects carry all sorts of diseases, they can attack you without getting your attention until it’s too late. There are all sorts of creams and lotions in the market that act as a mosquito repellent. However, most of them are filled with chemicals that you rather not apply on your skin. That is where a natural mosquito and insect repellent comes in.

When talking about natural repellents, oil of lemon eucalyptus is often brought up as the natural alternative to DEET or N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide, the gold standard of mosquito repellent. 

Even long before the invention of DEET and other synthetic chemical repellents, research shows botanical oils may have been used by early civilizations. In fact, a  study published in Malaria Journal explains how plants have been used for millennia to repel insects. The use of plant-based oil formulations applied to the skin or clothes were first recorded in writings by ancient Greek, Roman and Indian scholars.

Before going into how exactly oil lemon eucalyptus helps in repelling mosquitoes, your perfect companion for your next outdoor adventure is here! Introducing MOXĒ All-Natural Mosquito & Insect Repellent Spray. Featuring an all-natural essential oil based formula that is DEET-free & alcohol-free providing protection from bugs while allowing you to enjoy the outdoors. 



What is Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus?

The lemon eucalyptus, also known as Corymbia citriodora (Myrtaceae), is a plant that was discovered in the 1960s during mass screenings of plants used in Chinese traditional medicine. Lemon eucalyptus essential oil, comprising 85% citronellal and 10% linalool. However, when scientists analyzed the waste distillate left after hydro-distillation of lemon eucalyptus oil for its chemical components that repelled mosquitoes, they found it was more effective than the essential oil itself.

Many plant extracts and oils repel insects such as mosquitoes with their effect lasting from several minutes to hours. Their active ingredients are highly volatile so although they may be an effective bug spray for a short period after application; however, these chemicals evaporate rapidly leaving insect bites unprotected.

According to a recent study, a mixture containing 32% of oil of lemon eucalyptus offered more than 95% protection for almost three hours against mosquitoes. 

Lemon eucalyptus oil is used as a natural repellent because it consists of PMD (para-menthane-3,8-diol), who makes it difficult for mosquitoes and other insects to pick up on a person’s skin odor. This oil is extracted from a native tree in Australia, known as Eucalyptus citriodora.

Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus vs Lemon Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus is often confused with Lemon Eucalyptus Essential Oil. Oil of lemon eucalyptus is actually different from lemon eucalyptus essential oil. Although they share many similarities, using a quality-grade oil of lemon eucalyptus will provide you with better results at repelling mosquitoes than the citrus flavor of the essential oil alone.

However, this often means using a synthetic oil of lemon eucalyptus that may cause skin irritations to some.

Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) is an essential oil product made from the leaves of a plant found in South America. OLE is used to repel certain insects, including mosquitoes. Lemon essential oil does not have these properties and it should not be used as a substitute.

Mosquito Repellent Properties of Lemon Eucalyptus

They’ll be no more bothersome mosquitoes with their itchy bite and buzzy song. Merely a whiff of lemon eucalyptus will send those pesky bugs packing.

It is no surprise that mosquitoes are known for carrying deadly diseases like dengue, Zika, and chikungunya. That is why using an effective insect repellent is the ultimate solution to avoid those pesky bugs. Luckily for us, Lemon Eucalyptus oil’s main benefit is it’s insect repellent properties. Lemon Eucalyptus oil is high in citronellal and citronellol compounds and are well studied for their effectiveness in repelling mosquitoes. 

Hence, something as natural and as effective as lemon eucalyptus oil will work wonders by protecting the skin against all types of bites, which could lead to diseases.

Sometimes, this oil can be used as a replacement or alternative to DEET, which is known as an active ingredient in the majority of the well-known insect repellent products. Even though DEET is extremely effective in getting rid of these insects, people are concerned regarding the side effects that come with DEET, like irritation of the skin and the eyes. 

According to the CDC, products that are made using synthesized lemon eucalyptus oil tend to provide a longer repellent activity but has a higher potential for skin irritation or allergies.

Some studies found lemon eucalyptus oil to be just as effective as DEET at repelling mosquitoes; however, DEET can last hours and requires less frequent reapplications. 

How To Use Lemon Eucalyptus Oil

Finger art of man. Concept of human was bitten by mosquito.

When using lemon eucalyptus oil, it is best to dilute it using other ingredients, like a carrier oil. The recommended dilution ranges between 30% - 75% lemon eucalyptus oil solution that should be applied twice a day. The natural bug repellents that are commercially available usually contain 10% - 30% of lemon eucalyptus oil.

You can apply this repellant when you are in areas that are known for having mosquitoes flying around. Once you have applied the oil, thoroughly wash your hands. Avoid getting it around your mouth or in your eyes, including other mucous membranes since this might burn. Reapply your lemon eucalyptus oil as directed, especially if you start to get bitten.

How To Make Your Own Lemon Eucalyptus Oil Solution

You can make your very own lemon eucalyptus oil solution all by yourself! 

Here is what you need to get started:

  • lemon eucalyptus oil
  • witch hazel
  • vanilla extract

In this quick formulation, the lemon eucalyptus is your active ingredient or your mosquito-stopping ingredient, the vanilla extract will add a nice scent to your spray, while the witch hazel does its job as the oil carrier ingredient to allow for easy spraying. 


  • You need to add about thirty drops of your lemon eucalyptus oil into a mixing container. Then add in one teaspoon of your vanilla extract and about four ounces of your witch hazel. If you don’t have witch hazel, you can use cooking oil, vodka, or rubbing alcohol as well. 
  • Gently mix your solution together and transfer it into an empty spray bottle. Label your spray bottle to prevent accidents.

You now have your very own lemon eucalyptus oil solution! This repellant will last for a few hours before you will have to apply it again.

Risk of Lemon Eucalyptus 

Oil of lemon eucalyptus may cause an allergic reaction, including a red rash and itching. 

Avoid using it on children under 3 years old because the oil is not appropriate for their sensitive bodies. 

Another potential side effect of lemon eucalyptus oil is similar to other essential oils so if you notice any skin irritation after applying this product stop using it right away!

Where to Buy Natural Insect Repellent without oil of Lemon Eucalyptus

Are you looking for a bug spray that will keep bugs away without the use of DEET or Lemon Eucalyptus?

This product is perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy the outdoors but hates being attacked by mosquitoes. It’s made with essential oils, so it smells great and won’t leave you feeling sticky or greasy after applying. Plus, it’s moisturizing to help protect your skin from harsh elements while keeping insects at bay.

You can now go on hikes, campouts, and other outdoor activities worry-free! Protect yourself against bugs without worrying about harmful chemicals or smelly sprays this season with our natural mosquito & insect repellent spray. It’s time to get outside and have fun again!

Click below right now to order your own bottle of Natural Mosquito & Insect Repellent Spray today!


Many people are still skeptical about the effectiveness of Lemon Eucalyptus oil as an insect repellent. But, if you've read this article and learned how it works, then you know that lemon eucalyptus oil does work to repel insects like mosquitoes! 

You also now know what differentiates Lemon Eucalyptus Essential Oil from Lemon Eucalyptus Oil and all of its benefits and risks.

Finally, our DIY section has given you everything you need to make your own solution for mosquito protection with ingredients readily available at any grocery store or pharmacy.

Now go out there and enjoy the outdoors without being bothered by pesky bugs!

Learn how you can use different essential oils to get rid of mosquitoes. We have a wide collection of premium essential oils at MOXE. Visit our page to find out more about our great products!

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