How to Make Your Own Mosquito Wipes for a Bite-Free Summer

With paper towels and a few essential oils, you'll have a DIY solution that will help you keep annoying mosquitoes at bay.

When you're having a backyard barbecue, relaxing on your patio, or working in your garden during the warmer months, the last thing you want to do is constantly swat away at mosquitoes. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to prevent these annoying biting insects from ruining your outdoor time (including several options that can double as stylish decor). One of the most effective options to avoid bites is to use a store-bought repellent on your skin, but these can be sticky and smelly. Instead, you can use your own mosquito repellent wipes, made with natural ingredients that won't leave you smelling like chemicals.

woman using mosquito wipe on arm
Matt Clark

How to Make Mosquito Wipes

The DIY repellent solution for these wipes uses a blend of citrus, cinnamon, and castor oils. These essential oils are known for being unappealing to mosquitoes (and other pests, including ticks). Plus, castor oil even has some anti-inflammatory effects that can help if you do end up with a bug bite. Just be sure to use the exact measurements in this recipe; in order to make essential oils safe to use on skin, you need to dilute them with water or rubbing alcohol first. Also, lemon juice can make your skin more sensitive to sunburn, so it's best to use these wipes at dusk or after dark.

Supplies Needed:

  • Roll of cloth-like paper towels
  • Serrated knife
  • Round container with lid large enough to hold half of a paper towel roll
  • Marker (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Small mixing bowl
  • Liquid measuring cup and measuring spoons
  • 4 oz. distilled water
  • 2 oz. rubbing alcohol
  • 2 oz. castor oil
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 15 drops cinnamon oil
  • Mixing spoon

Step 1: Cut the Paper Towel Roll in Half

Using the knife, cut the roll of paper towels crosswise so they'll fit in a sealable container. Depending on the size of your container, you might need to cut a little more than half off so the paper towels will fit; you can check how much you need to cut off by lining up the paper towels with your container, then using a marker or pencil to mark just below where the lid lands (so you remember where to cut). Trim away any rough edges with scissors, and pull the cardboard tube out of the center of the roll.

Step 2: Mix Homemade Mosquito Repellent

In a small mixing bowl, combine distilled water, rubbing alcohol, castor oil, lemon juice, and cinnamon oil ($15, Amazon). Mix with a spoon to combine.

Step 3: Let Paper Towels Soak Up the Mixture

Pour the mosquito repellent mixture into the container. Then, set the paper towels in the container so they can soak up the repellent. Let them sit for at least 10 minutes before using to give the wipes time to become saturated with the mixture. Then, use the wipes whenever you want to repel bugs by pulling one from the center of the roll and rubbing it on your body (be careful to avoid your eyes when using).

Depending on how much time you and your family spend outside, one batch of homemade mosquito wipes could last you the entire summer! A container that seals will help prevent them from drying out, but if you go to use one and notice that it's dry, you can always refresh your wipes by mixing up more DIY bug repellent and letting the towels soak it in. With one swipe (and no smelly spray), you can enjoy a few mosquito-free hours outside!

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