Bug Off!

"Citronella oil is one of the essential oils obtained from the leaves and stems of different species of Cymbopogen (Lemongrass). The oil is used extensively as a source of perfumery chemicals such as citronellal, citronellol and geraniol. These chemicals find extensive use in soap, candles, incense, perfumery, cosmetic and flavoring industries throughout the world.

Citronella oil is also a plant-based insect repellent, and has been registered for this use in the United States since 1948. The United States Environmental Protection Agency considers oil of citronella as a bio-pesticide with a non-toxic mode of action. However, since citronella insect repellant effects were not proven within the EU, the use of citronella as an insecticide is prohibited under the Biocidal Product Directive 2006.

The US Environmental Protection Agency states that citronella oil has little or no toxicity when used as a topical insect repellent, with no reports of adverse effects of concern over a 60-year period. Because some products are applied to human skin, EPA requires proper precautionary labeling to help assure safe use. If used according to label instructions in the US, citronella is not expected to pose health risks to people, including children and other sensitive populations. The US Food & Drug Administration considers citronella oil as generally recognized as safe.

The market for natural citronella oil has been eroded by chemicals synthesized from turpentine derived from conifers. However, natural citronella oil and its derivatives are preferred by the perfume industry." 
- Wikipedia

There are two types of Citronella Essential Oil: Java and Ceylon. I sell and use Java-type which is the preferred source in the high grade perfumery industry.

Coming Soon: Citronella Patio Candles. I have done extensive test pours and burns and come up with an awesome mosquito repelling candle. I use a house blend of both soy wax and beeswax. Why the blend? Beeswax is much harder than soy wax and the blend will ensure that the candle can stand up to the heat of the summer, outdoors. Beeswax is also 8x more expensive than soy wax. I do not use synthetic citronella oil which is actually produced from turpentine oil and the reason those cheap "citronella" candles smell so bad. I use 100% citronella essential oil and the first time you smell the difference you will never go back to the synthetic.

Which container would you prefer that I pour my premium patio candles?
On the right, you have my standard [gorgeous] apothecary jar, 8 oz., $16
and on the left, a plain old jelly jar, 6 oz., $12

If you'd like to try your hand at blending your own mosquito repelling products, purchase C9SC Citronella Essential Oil here.

For maximum protection, layer your products and use my Bug-Off Hiker Shampoo + Body Bar made with an essential oil blend that includes Citronella.

Happy Independence Day! Enjoy your Holiday weekend!

Back to blog


Hi Lynne, I did have a thought … I am wondering if you can purchase “blank” diffuser reed sticks at a craft supply store like Michaels, and then dip them in Citronella essential oil and prop them up in a vase on your patie. I don’t know if it would be as sufficient as a flame, but I can tell you that simply opening my bottle of Citronella essential oil in my shoppe is so strong that I have to open a window or work with it outdoors. It is SUPER strong smelling.

Lisa @C9SC

I think the jelly jars are super cute!


Hi Lynne!

Although I do not make citronella smelling Sparkle Stones, I have heard that Vanilla also keeps the bugs away. Sparkle Stones are a shimmering, flameless alternative to lighting a candle. You basically shake them up and leave them out. You can check them out here: http://www.sparkleflycandles.com/sparkle-stones/

Anne Esposito

Great question Lynne! I am going to ask my friend and fellow maker, Anne Marie of Sparklefly Candle Co. to this question. She makes a flameless alternative to candles and might have some good ideas.

Lisa @C9SC

Are there any good ways or propagate citronella outdoors other than a candle? I have 2yr & 5yr old boys, and candles are always trouble. Any sort of infusors that work?


Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.