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Keep Bugs Away Using Home Made Citronella Candles

Keep Bugs Away Using Home Made Citronella Candles

Citronella Candles /shutterstock
Citronella Candles /shutterstock

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Keep Bugs Away Using Homemade Citronella Candles: How and Why They Work

As the warm weather rolls in, so do the bugs. Mosquitoes, flies, and other pesky insects can quickly turn a pleasant outdoor gathering into an itchy, annoying affair. While commercial bug repellents are widely available, many people prefer more natural solutions.

One popular method is using citronella candles. Not only are they effective at keeping bugs at bay, but they also add a pleasant aroma to your outdoor space. In this article, we’ll explore how and why citronella candles work and provide a simple guide to making your own.

How Citronella Candles Work

Citronella oil is derived from the leaves and stems of various species of Cymbopogon, commonly known as lemongrass. It contains several compounds, including citronellal and geraniol, which have been found to repel insects. When citronella oil is burned, these compounds are released into the air, creating a barrier that insects find unpleasant.

But how exactly does it repel bugs? While the exact mechanism is not fully understood, it’s believed that the strong scent of citronella interferes with the insects’ ability to locate their prey by masking the carbon dioxide and lactic acid that humans emit. Additionally, some research suggests that citronella may disrupt the insects’ ability to detect other attractants, such as body heat and moisture.

Making Your Own Citronella Candles

Now that we understand why citronella candles work, let’s dive into how you can make your own at home. Here’s a simple recipe to get you started:


  • Soy wax flakes or beeswax
  • Citronella essential oil
  • Candle wicks
  • Mason jars or other heat-resistant containers
  • Double boiler or microwave-safe bowl



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  1. Prepare Your Containers: Place the candle wicks in the center of your containers. You can use a dab of melted wax to secure them to the bottom if needed.
  2. Melt the Wax: In a double boiler or microwave-safe bowl, melt the soy wax flakes or beeswax according to the instructions on the packaging. Be sure to use a heat-safe container and handle hot wax with care.
  3. Add Citronella Oil: Once the wax is completely melted, remove it from the heat source and allow it to cool slightly. Then, add citronella essential oil to the wax, using approximately 1 ounce of oil for every pound of wax. Stir the mixture gently to ensure the oil is evenly distributed.
  4. Pour the Wax: Carefully pour the wax into your prepared containers, making sure not to disturb the wicks. Leave a small amount of space at the top to allow for expansion as the wax cools.
  5. Let It Set: Allow the candles to cool and harden completely before trimming the wicks to the desired length (approximately 1/4 inch above the wax). This usually takes several hours.
  6. Enjoy: Once your candles are fully set, they’re ready to use! Light them whenever you’re spending time outdoors to help keep bugs away.

Homemade citronella candles offer a natural and effective way to repel insects and enhance your outdoor experience. By understanding the science behind their effectiveness and following a simple recipe, you can create your own bug-repelling candles to enjoy all season long. So gather your supplies, get creative, and say goodbye to those pesky bugs!

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