Homemade Citronella Candles (2023)

Use these homemade citronella candles to help repel mosquitos and other insects naturally on beautiful summer nights. Making your own bug repellent candles is easy, cost-effective, and they actually work!

Homemade Citronella Candles (1)

Citronella has been used for years to repel insects during the summer months. Making your own homemade citronella candles takes just 2-ingredients: beeswax and citronella essential oil. By making these yourself, you can be assured this is a safe, non-toxic repellent for mosquitoes and other flying insects.

Sitting on the back patio on a warm clear summer night watching the sunset is absolutely beautiful and a perfect way to relax in the evening. That is until you find yourself swarmed by millions of flying insects.

That is why having a bug spray and homemade citronella candles on hand is a must to enjoy the beautiful summer nights. Thankfully, they are easy to make and really help to keep those bugs away!


Homemade Citronella Candles (2)
Homemade Citronella Candles (3)


The key ingredient to bug repellent candles is the citronella essential oil. Most bugs do not like that scent and will stay clear from the smell. I have also found several other oils that can be added to these candles to make them even more effective.

You can make these candles using just citronella essential oil, or you can add in more scents by choosing essential oils from the list below.

Homemade Citronella Candles (4)


  • Eucalyptus
  • Lemongrass
  • Cedarwood
  • Rosemary
  • Tea tree
  • Peppermint

Adding in eucalyptus and lemongrass will help to repel mosquitos, and cedarwood essential oil effectively repels ticks.

(Video) BUG OFF - Make your own Citronella Candles


To make bug repellent candles, you will need wax and essential oils. I like to use either soy wax or beeswax for candles.

Homemade Citronella Candles (5)


Both beeswax and soy wax will work for your bug repellent candle, but they do have a few differences. Beeswax is denser than soy wax, so you will get more burn time from it than if using the latter.

Beeswax has a very decent smell and has a pretty yellow color. You can purchase white beeswax, or you can use soy wax if you prefer a lighter colored candle.

I prefer to use soy wax for the citronella candles and I use beeswax for all of my other candle makings. Beeswax candlesmake an easy and thoughtful gift idea!

Homemade Citronella Candles (6)


It is important to note that it is going to take a sizable amount of essential oils to scent a candle. I suggest starting with a small-sized candle. If you end up wanting to use a larger candle mold, just be sure to add enough essential oils into it to make the scent strong enough to repel bugs.

Any essential oil can be added to candle wax. After melting the wax, you will want to give the wax time to cool slightly before adding in the essential oils. If essential oils are put into really hot substances, it can cause them to lose their therapeutic benefits.


You can make candles without buying a whole kit. All you really need are wax and wicks. Buying a kit can be helpful, though, as most come with containers to make candles in, wax, wicks, and tools to stabilize thewick as the wax dries.

(Video) Cheap & Easy DIY Citronella Candle Making Tutorial - THIS IS REAL LIFE

I have used mason jars, vintage crocks, and old mugs to make candles in the past. But for these mosquito repellent candles, I wanted to keep them small and make them the size of a tea light candle.

I found the perfect tea light candle containers to make these candles into on amazon. They were a perfect size, so I purchased the kit!

You can also use small silicone molds to make candles. Once the wax is hardened and the wick is in place, you can pop the candle out of the mold.


Homemade Citronella Candles (7)

Making candles is as simple as melting wax in a double boiler, adding in essential oils, and then pouring it into the candle mold or container you wish to use.

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  1. Pour the wax into a metal pitcher or metal can. I suggest keeping a metal pitcher or can on hand for all of your candle-makings because cleaning wax off of dishes is no fun, trust me!
  2. Place the metal container into a large pot of water and bring it to a boil. This is your double boiler! Turn heat down to medium, stirring occasionally until all the wax is melted. Be sure the water doesn’t splash into the beeswax container.
  3. Once the wax is completely melted, remove it from heat and stir in the coconut oil. (This helps the wax burn slower, resulting in longer burn time.)
  4. Add in 30-50 drops of citronella essential oil.
  5. Secure a wick at the bottom of the candle mold with a little glue and then fill the container with the melted wax and coconut oil.
  6. Use a pencil or bamboo skewers to tie the wick around and place horizontally over the jar. This will keep the wick in the center while the wax hardens.
  7. Once the wax is completely hardened, you can trim the wick, and it is ready to light.

Note: Wax will clog up sink drains. Drain excess wax into a plastic trash bag and dispose of it.


Homemade Citronella Candles (8)

If using all-natural ingredients to make candles, they can be safe to burn inside the home. However, these candles are meant for the outdoors to repel insects.

(Video) DIY All Natural Citronella Candles | Mosquito Repellent Candles | Nontoxic |

You can use multiple candles at a time to make them more effective. Place several candles around the border of the area you are sitting to keep the insects away.

If you enjoyed this quick candle recipe, you might enjoy this candle dipping for beginners recipe next.


  • Honey Vanilla Candles
  • Candle Wax Melts
  • All-Natural Bug Spray
  • Bug Bite Relief Roller Bottle
  • Anti-Itch Cream
  • Bed Bug Spray

Homemade Citronella Candles

Homemade Citronella Candles (9)
(Video) DIY Citronella Candles and Citronella Alternatives

Simple to make bug repellent candles using citronella essential oil.

Prep Time10 minutes

Active Time20 minutes

Total Time30 minutes


  • 1/2 pound of soy wax or beeswax
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • Tea light candle molds
  • Candle wicks
  • Metal can
  • Large pot
  • Bamboo skewers or pencils
  • Citronella essential oil


  1. Pour the wax into a metal pitcher or metal can. I suggest keeping a metal pitcher or can on hand for all of your candle makings because cleaning wax off of dishes is no fun, trust me!
    Place the metal container into a large pot of water and bring to a boil. This is your double boiler! Turn heat down to medium, stirring occasionally until all the wax is melted. Be sure the water doesn’t splash into the beeswax container.
  2. Once the wax is completely melted, remove from heat and stir in the coconut oil. (This helps the wax to burn slower and makes your candle last longer.)
  3. Add in 30-50 drops of citronella essential oil.
  4. Secure a wick at the bottom of the candle mold with a little glue, and then fill the container with the melted wax and coconut oil.
  5. Using a pencil or bamboo skewer, tie the wick around its center and place the skewer horizontally over the jar. This will keep the wick in the center while the wax hardens.
  6. Once the wax is completely hardened, you can trim the wick, and it is ready to light.
(Video) DIY Citronella Candles


How do you make citronella candles to banish mosquitoes? ›

Add 1 oz of citronella oil per pound of wax and augment the scent with 0.5 oz of other scents per pound. If you prefer just citronella, you can use 1.5 oz per pound. 5. Let the wax cool slightly and carefully pour into containers.

What are the ingredients in citronella candles? ›

Candles made of citronella have the active ingredient citronella oil. Citronella oil is derived from the drying of a grassy plant called Cymbopogon Nardus. It is a natural product as opposed to a chemical repellent such as is used in a bug spray repellent.

How much citronella oil should be in a candle? ›

Stir in citronella oil, adding roughly three drops per cup of wax.

What wax is best for citronella candles? ›

soy wax – Soy wax is the best wax for essential oil candles. I used Golden Brands 464 soy wax to create this citronella candle recipe. This soy wax burns cleanly, has a high fragrance load and will produce great looking candles.

What can I put in homemade candles to keep mosquitoes away? ›

You will need a lime, Lemon Eucalyptus 100% essential oil, fresh rosemary sprigs, a floating candle, a lemon, and a pint sized jar. Place two slices each of lemon and lime in your jar. Cut your rosemary sprigs to fit vertically in your jar. Pour about 10 drops of the Lemon Eucalyptus essential oil into your jar.

What repels mosquitoes better than citronella? ›

DEET, lemon eucalyptus oil best bets for repelling bloodsuckers.

What scent repels mosquitoes the most? ›

Topping the list of scents mosquitoes hare are garlic, basil, peppermint, and lemongrass top the list. Not precisely the aromas one associates with perfume, though peppermint and lemongrass might be tertiary notes in a few fragrances.

What essential oils do mosquitoes hate the most? ›

Those most closely associated with repellency are citronella oil, eucalyptus oil, and catnip oil, but others include clove oil, patchouli, peppermint, and geranium.

Can you make homemade citronella candles? ›

Stir in the citronella oil using roughly three drops per cup of melted wax (or about three drops per 8-oz. Mason jar candle). Artizen Citronella Essential Oil ($8, Amazon) is a good option for citronella candles, but any of your favorite essential oils will work.

How do you make citronella candles in Mason jars? ›

Fill the jars with water and citronella oil: Fill each jar 3/4 of the way full with tap water, then add in 10-20 drops of citronella essential oil. Add herbs and citrus: Add the herbs first, then top off with lemons and lime wedges.

What candle keeps bugs away? ›

Citronella candles are a brilliant non-toxic method of repelling insects, especially during the summer months. Made using citronella oil, these clever candles have a distinctive odour (usually lemon or lavender) that drives away bugs when burned in the immediate area.

What is a good carrier oil for citronella? ›

Dilute citronella oil in a carrier oil, like jojoba oil or coconut oil. The NAHA recommends adding 15 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil for a 2.5 percent dilution. For sensitive skin, you may want to use a one percent solution (6 drops per ounce of carrier oil).

How much oil do you need per candle? ›

A: The industry standard is considered 0.5 ounce of fragrance per pound of wax. For double-scenting, you would use 1 ounce of fragrance per pound of wax. For triple-scenting your candles you can use 1.5 ounces of fragrance per pound of wax.

Why can't I burn citronella candles inside? ›

It is generally recommended that you do not use citronella candles indoors for a few reasons. Although the scent is very pleasant for you as the candles burn, you may find that these oils work their way into interior fabrics. Also, the citronella candles tend to have a slight more smokey burn than ordinary candles.

What candle scent do mosquitoes hate? ›

Citronella, an essential oil distilled from a type of lemongrass, has long been regarded as a “natural” mosquito repellent. Citronella oil is used in many different forms—from tabletop candles to oil diffusers to 5-foot tiki torches—to attempt to keep the pests at bay.

How long should the wick be on a citronella candle? ›

Trim wick to ½ inch or less before each lighting. Keep candle free of matches and all material. Do not burn on cold, wet, or unstable surface(s). Burn away from drafts.

Does Vicks Vaporub keep mosquitoes away? ›

The smell of the menthol in it will repel the insects away. You can also rub it on any mosquito bites you may already have and it will relieve the itching.

What do professionals use to keep mosquitoes away? ›

Mosquito control professionals use different types of synthetic pyrethroids to kill adult mosquitoes using ULV spraying. Examples of synthetic pyrethroids include permethrin , sumithrin (d-phenothrin ), and deltamethrin .

Do dryer sheets repel mosquitoes? ›

Although dryer sheets haven't been officially proven to repel mosquitoes, their effectiveness hasn't been disproven, either. It's possible these common household items are a successful mosquito-repellant.

What do mosquitoes absolutely hate? ›

Mosquitoes hate the smell of lavender, citronella, clove, peppermint, basil, cedarwood, eucalyptus, peppermint, lemongrass and rosemary. They also hate smells such as smoke, for further insight, see our exploration on, does smoke keep mosquitoes away?

How do you make homemade candles stronger? ›

Let the entire wax surface melt

You should always leave your candle burning for at least two hours. This is so that you allow enough wax to melt that it can produce a stronger scent. If you want your scented candle to fill a room quickly, then your best bet is a candle topper.

What is the main ingredient in citronella? ›

Citronellol and geraniol are major components of oil of citronella.

What can I add to my candles to make them smell stronger? ›

Add fragrance oil at 185Fº and stir gently and thoroughly with the melted wax. This is the optimal temperature for the wax and fragrance to bind in order to provide the best scent throw. Let your candles cure before test burning them.

Why is my candle burning so weak? ›

If your candle wick won't stay lit or the flame is getting very low, it's mostly likely because the wick is too long or needs to be trimmed clean of charred material.

Why doesn't my homemade candle smell? ›

Little or No Scent Throw: Scent is less than expected when candle is burning. Possible Causes: Too small amount of fragrance oil used, poor quality of fragrance oil, adding fragrance at too low or too high temperature, not letting your candles cure after pouring, type of wax used, improper wick or wick sizing issue.

What happens if you put too much essential oil in a candle? ›

Add too much fragrance: Using more fragrance oil does not always guarantee a stronger scent throw. Each wax has a recommended fragrance oil load and going beyond that limit can cause the fragrance oil to separate from the wax which could be a potential fire hazard (not to mention the ugly "gooey" spots it can create).

How many drops of essential oil do you put in an 8 oz candle? ›

We recommend using 30 to 40 drops of essential oils for a single eight-ounce candle. Remember that soy and beeswax aren't known for their ability to throw scent. If you're concerned that your candle will be too strong, start with 30 drops.

Can you use straight essential oils in candles? ›

The answer is yes, essential oils can be used in candle making, but there are a few things you should know first. Essential oils are notorious for not playing nicely with candle wax. Unlike fragrance oils, essential oils oftentimes have very low flash points which cause them to evaporate when added to hot candle wax.


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