Have you tried DIY citronella candles for outdoor natural mosquito repellent?
We are finally starting to feel the warmth of summer. It was 80 degrees here yesterday and you can bet we spent the better half of the day outdoors. A playful game of baseball, refreshing strawberry lemonade, and smores roasted over a bonfire is how we welcome summer around here.
With school closed and our regular weekly activities at an end, we naturally find ourselves enjoying the woodlands and hillside around our home more often. As the afternoons stretch into the twilight hours the rhythmic hums and chirps of the insect world flood the air – summer has officially arrived.
It’s a familiar chorus, and one I truly long for during the remarkable quietness of the winter months. Yet, still, these rhythmic hums can be unsettling for many. Because it most certainly implies a notorious creature of the night is back. Like the blood-sucking vampires that haunt the scenes of many summer blockbusters, mosquitoes soar the skies in search of their next victim.
Luckily, the herbalist in me has learned how to repel mosquitoes naturally, so my family and I can enjoy every gift summer has to offer.
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Let share me how to repel mosquitoes naturally with you,
Every herbalist knows, even the simplest of herb gardens offers plentiful resources beyond the culinary arts. Caring for our skin naturally, supporting wellness, and cleaning our homes – some herbs, in fact, do it all!
And most of which contain the unique ability to attract and repel insects, including mosquitoes.
How does it work? Herbs and other plants send off signals to attract insects that benefit the plant, while out-putting signals to keep others away. This natural phenomenon is very effective, for the reason that insects rely on smell and taste to locate their next meal.
Many of us herbal enthusiasts swear by the benefits of herbs and plants that repel flies and mosquitoes. And I cover a list of the best natural mosquito repellant herbs in my related article at The Herbal Academy.
Do citronella candles really keep mosquitoes away?
Some have a bad rap as being only simply decorative and pleasantly scented. However, DIY citronella candles are far more effective than “citronella-scented” candles that are commonly marketed in outdoor patio displays in stores. The effectiveness comes from using real ingredients, such as citronella essential oil.
What is citronella oil? Citronella oil is a naturally occurring insect and animal repellent distilled from two grass varieties (Bond, C., Buhl, K., and Stone, D., 2013). Being citronella grass Cymbopogon nardus and it’s relative Lemongrass Cymbopogon spp. Citronella essential oil is steam distilled from the leafy parts of the plant and is popular for its use in outdoor candles.
How do citronella candles work for flies and mosquitoes?
In basic terms, citronella oil repels targeted pests rather than killing them. It works by masking scents that attract insects, making it difficult for insects to locate their dinner. (Bond, C., Buhl, K., and Stone, D., 2013).
Related To: Scented Beeswax Candle Basics
Related To: DIY Herb Garden Bath Tea
What is the best citronella candle?
Citronella candles for outdoor natural mosquito repellent are best when made with real citronella oil and other natural ingredients. Beeswax, for example, is perfect for outdoor candles as it burns much slower than other candle wax types. Beeswax blocks and pastilles are both great for making DIY citronella candles. I recommend adding coconut oil or coconut wax to beeswax candles for a more consistent burn and better scent throw.
And as a general rule of thumb, the slower a wax burns, the wider the wick you’ll need. I choose wood wicks harvested from sustainable sources for these homemade outdoor candles because I love their crackling sound!
I topped each candle with a variety of the best natural mosquito repellant herbs shared in my article at The Herbal Academy. And poured it all into mason jars. So, I can keep the lid closed and the rain out when not in use. You can adapt this candle recipe for any container using our candle wax calculator.
DIY Citronella Candles Supplies and Ingredients:
2 8-ounce glass jars
¼ teaspoon dried lavender
¼ teaspoon dried lemon balm
¼ teaspoon dried peppermint
1 tablespoon lemongrass essential oil
1 tablespoon citronella essential oil
½ tablespoon lavender essential oil
10 ounces beeswax pastilles
4 ounces coconut oil
How to Make Citronella Candles for Outdoors: Natural Mosquito Repellent
1. Place Wicks & Measure Candle Wax
Place a wick sticker tab in the center base of each mason jar. Place two wood wicks in each wick clip and adhere to the wick sticker tab. Use a kitchen scale to measure 10-ounces of beeswax to make 2 citronella candles.
2. Melt Beeswax
To safely melt the wax, pour the measured beeswax in a candle melting pitcher. Place the pitcher filled with wax inside a large saucepan filled with about 2 inches of water. Using the double boiler method, heat on medium to low heat with gentle simmer at most. Keeping in mind the melting point of beeswax is 144 degrees F. Stir often with a heat resistant silicone spatula.
3. Add Coconut and Essential Oils
Remove the pitcher from the heat after melting. Scoop 4 ounces of coconut oil into the melted wax and stir until blended. Add 1 tablespoon lemongrass essential oil, 1 tablespoon citronella essential oil, and ½ tablespoon lavender essential oil to the coconut beeswax blend. Thoroughly incorporate by stirring constantly for 2 minutes.
4. Pour Wax Blend
Carefully pour the wax into each prepared mason jar. Let each citronella candle cool 30 minutes to 1 hour before trimming wicks. Cut wood wicks to approximately ⅛ an inch above the wax for the best burn rate.
THE PRINTABLE RECIPE
If you and your family are planning on spending lots of time outdoors this season, make these simple DIY citronella candles to keep your backyard barbecues and outdoor play mosquito-free!
Have you made candles before? I’d love to hear your experience – leave a comment here or tag #lifenreflection on Instagram to share. Pin tips on making the best DIY citronella candles for outdoors!