How to Make an Insect Repellant Out of Lemon Grass

Updated February 21, 2017

Lemon grass adds value to many products, from food to tea to preservatives and insect repellents. Learning how to make an insect repellent out of lemon grass will enable you to protect yourself and your family from dangerous or annoying bugs at home and while on vacation. Purchase lemon grass stalks and citronella leaves from a local farmers market or grocery store.

Wash the leaves and stalks of the lemon grass stalks and citronella thoroughly to remove any dirt, pesticides or other chemicals that may interfere with making the insect repellent. Chop the lemon grass stalks and citronella leaves into large pieces no smaller than the width of your thumb. Place the chopped leaves and stalks in a blender.

Measure out 4 tsp of cloves and add these to the blender. Place the lid on the blender and turn it on. Blend the leaves and stalks until they form a pulp. Pour the pulp into the heat proof bowl. Measure out 14 fl. oz. of sunflower oil and pour the oil into the heat proof bowl. Mix with a spoon until the oil is blended with the pulp.

Pour water into a small pan until it is three-quarters full. Bring the pan to the boil, and then turn the burner off. Place the heat proof bowl on top of the pan. Cover the bowl with a plate. Leave for one hour for the mixture in the bowl to cook. Remove the bowl from the pan and allow to cool for one hour.

Sieve the pulp mixture into the large bowl to remove any large pieces of pulp. Press the pulp into the sieve with a spoon to remove the last of the liquid. Remove the spray pump from the bottle. Place the funnel in the bottle. Pour the contents of the bowl into the spray bottle through the funnel. Replace the spray pump on the bottle.


You may find it is more cost-effective to grow your own lemon grass from seeds. This will allow you to make more homemade insect repellent whenever you like and at a significantly lower cost. Furthermore, lemon grass is also useful for making a variety of scented teas; so you will have another use for any excess lemon grass.


Lemon grass insect repellent is highly irritating if it comes in contact with the eyes and may also cause skin irritation in some people. Avoid spraying the insect repellent anywhere near the eyes and always wash your hands after using it. If you find the repellent causes skin irritation, wash it off right away and consult a doctor if the rash persists for more than a day after using the repellent.

Things You'll Need

  • 12 lemon grass stalks
  • 15 citronella leaves
  • 4 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 heat proof bowl
  • 14 fl. oz. sunflower oil
  • Sieve
  • 1 large bowl
  • Spray bottle
  • Funnel
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Based in the United Kingdom, April Kohl has been writing since 1992, specializing in science and legal topics. Her work has appeared on the Second Life News Network website and in British Mensa's "LSQ" magazine. Kohl holds a Bachelor of Science in physics from Durham University and a diploma in English law from the Open University.