The Benefits of Using Natural Citronella Lotion for Insect Repellent

The Benefits of Using Natural Citronella Lotion for Insect Repellent
Table Of Content

The Benefits of Using Citronella Lotion

Citronella oil has been used for decades as an effective insect repellent. As an natural oil derived from lemongrass, citronella contains compounds that naturally deter insects like mosquitoes and ticks. Recently, citronella lotions and creams have emerged as a popular way to harness the power of this essential oil for skin protection.

What is Citronella Lotion?

Citronella lotion is a topical product that contains citronella essential oil as one of its active ingredients. The citronella oils work to mask scents that attract bugs while also deterring them upon contact. Most citronella lotions also contain additional bug repelling oils like lemongrass, peppermint, eucalyptus, or tea tree oil.

These lotions create a protective barrier on the skin, driving away pesky insects. Unlike DEET which many find to be irritating or harsh, the essential oils in citronella lotions use natural plant-based compounds to gently keep bugs at bay.

Citronella Lotion Benefits

Using citronella lotion provides a host of benefits when spending time outdoors:

  • Powerful mosquito repellent − Citronella oil has been scientifically shown to effectively deter mosquitos, black flies, and other biting insects.
  • Safer alternative to DEET − Citronella lotions provide safe protection for the entire family including children and pregnant women, unlike DEET products.
  • Pleasant aroma − The fresh herbal lemon scent of citronella is more pleasant than chemical bug sprays.
  • Softens and soothes skin − Many citronella lotions contain moisturizing oils that hydrate and nourish skin like coconut, jojoba, or vitamin E.
  • Environmentally-friendly option − Citronella oil is a biodegradable, renewable resource that’s eco-friendly.
  • Convenient application − Citronella lotions are easy to apply and reapply throughout the day with no mess.

When to Use Citronella Lotion

Anytime you plan to spend extended periods outdoors with potential bug exposure, citronella lotion is a smart choice. It can be applied preventatively before activities like:

  • Camping trips
  • Yard work or gardening
  • Farming and ranching
  • Hiking, biking, and walking
  • Fishing, boating, and water sports
  • Picnics and barbecues
  • Outdoor weddings and events

For best results, apply citronella lotion about 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every few hours as needed, especially if you’ve gone swimming or are sweating excessively. Having the lotion on skin and clothing helps create a “mosquito shield” to deter pests.

Who Can Use Citronella Lotion Safely?

Unlike harsh chemical repellents, citronella lotion is generally safe for nearly everyone in the family when used as directed. Certain populations, however, should take extra precautions:

Pregnant Women

Always consult your doctor first, but most consider plant-based citronella oil lotions safe during pregnancy. Many moms-to-be prefer to avoid heavy exposure to DEET products during this time.

Infants Under 2 Months

Bug repellents should never be used on newborns under 2 months old. Instead, dress infants protectively and use mesh nettings over carriers when outdoors.


Citronella lotions are a smart natural alternative for kids who are sensitive to harsh chemicals. Follow dosage instructions carefully based on a child’s age and weight.

Those with Respiratory Issues

Some people with breathing issues are more sensitive to potent essential oils. Seek medical guidance before using citronella products if you have asthma or allergies.

Those with Skin Sensitivity

Do a patch test on a small area of skin when first using any new botanical product. Discontinue use of citronella lotion if signs of skin irritation occur.

How to Choose the Best Citronella Lotion

With more options popping up lately, deciding which citronella lotion to buy can get confusing. Keep these tips in mind when selecting a product:

  • Check the citronella concentration − Aim for at least 10% citronella oil for adequate protection.
  • Consider added repellent oils − Lemongrass, peppermint, eucalyptus etc. boost the bug repelling power.
  • Read ingredient labels − Ensure it’s primarily plant-based oils with few unnecessary fillers or preservatives.
  • Evaluate added skin benefits − Moisturizing oils make application a nourishing skin treat.
  • Choose eco-friendly packaging − Support brands using recyclable, sustainable materials.
  • Read reviews and testimonials − Pick popular lotions that customers confirm work well.

Taking time to find the ideal citronella lotion for your needs ensures you get the protection you want in a formula you feel good about using.

Frequently Asked Questions

How effective is citronella lotion?

Research shows that lotions containing at least 10% citronella oil provide long-lasting effectiveness similar to low concentrations of DEET. Results can vary based on individual body chemistry and environmental factors.

What's the difference between citronella candles and lotion?

Both contain the essential oil from citronella grass. Candles release fragrant citronella oil into the surrounding air which helps repel flying insects. Lotions create a protective barrier when applied directly onto skin that repels insects upon contact.

Does citronella lotion also repel ticks?

Yes, scientific studies confirm citronella oil is effective against the ticks that transmit Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Ticks are repelled immediately upon contact with lotion-covered skin.

Is there anyone who should not use citronella?

Citronella lotions are likely unsafe when used directly on cats and dogs due to toxicity concerns when ingested. Those with extremely hypersensitive skin may also have issues. As always, consult a doctor with specific medical product questions.


Can I apply citronella lotion under my clothes for added protection?

Yes, applying lotion under thin clothing can help reinforce the bug repellent barrier. Take care to thoroughly massage in lotion first before dressing to allow it to fully absorb into skin.

How long does citronella lotion protection last before needing to reapply?

Citronella lotions typically provide 3-6 hours of insect repellency. Reapplication ensures ongoing coverage, especially after activities causing sweat or water submersion.

Is there an environmental impact of using citronella lotion?

No, citronella essential oil comes from a fast-growing, renewable grass that’s environmentally friendly to harvest. Its compounds naturally break down quickly without harming ecosystems.

Can I use citronella lotion on my face or near eyes?

Take care not to apply citronella oil products directly on the face or delicate eye area as this can risk irritation. Seek oil-free facial formulas with citronella extracts if needing facial bug protection.

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