Using Catnip to Repel Mosquitoes and Insects

A mosquito on a person's skin against a green background.
What You'll Need
Spray bottle
Food processor
Catnip oil
Isopropyl alcohol
Mason jar

Recently, catnip has been shown to work as an effective repellant of bugs and insects, including mosquitoes. Though much research concludes that it is as effective as commercial products, other studies conclude quite the opposite. Either way, many people are still using catnip as an insect repellant since it is a natural option. Here are a couple of ways that you can use it and try its effectiveness for yourself.

Step 1 - Grow Catnip

Begin by sowing some seeds in your garden according to the instructions listed on the seed package. Water regularly and wait until you have several leafy stalks on the plant. Once you do, remove a few large stalks.

Step 2 - Prepare Catnip Steeped Bug Spray

blades inside a blender

Take the stalks inside and strip the leaves off of them. Place the leaves in a food processor and place the pulp in a pot. Heat two cups of water to the boiling point and pour it over the catnip. Steep the catnip in the water for about 10 minutes and proceed to strain the leaves out. Pour this mixture into a spray bottle and refrigerate. Spray onto your clothing as you would any other bug spray.

Step 3 - Make Catnip Oil Spray

To create a spray using a catnip oil, add one cup isopropyl alcohol and one cup water to a half-teaspoon of the catnip essential oil. Pour into a spray bottle and use on clothing as a repellent. Though this recipe is the most effective, it is not suitable for children and pets.

Step 4 - Make Vinegar and Catnip Spray

Another effective repellent includes vinegar and catnip. Crush the leaves of two cups of catnip and combine with three cups of rice vinegar or white vinegar into a quart mason jar. Close the jar with a lid and store in a dark cabinet for two weeks. Shake the mixture every day. At the end of two weeks, strain the spray into a squirt bottle and refrigerate. Use on clothing and skin to keep the bugs away.

Step 5 - Make Catnip/Rosemary Bug spray

spray bottle with lavender next to it

Crush two cups of catnip and one cup of rosemary leaves using your hands or a rolling pin. Place the mixture in a clean quart mason jar and cover completely with two cups of glycerin or other body oil. Leave the jar in a dark cupboard for two weeks, shaking daily. Strain the pulp out after two weeks and place the oil into a new jar. Refrigerate and use the oil as needed when working outdoors.

If you prefer, add a small amount of citronella or lemon balm to your mixture to both enhance the scent and help in repelling mosquitoes. Catnip is effective on certain kinds of mosquitoes, so you may want to test a small batch of any of these recipes to see if they work on the mosquitoes in your area before preparing a larger quantity. If you find that they are effective, steep a large batch of repellant and store in the refrigerator all summer long and enjoy a great natural remedy for your bug problem.