Flies

What Essential Oils Repel Gnats?

Essential oils are known to repel gnats. While these small flies don’t carry diseases, they can become a problem in the spring.

Not all essential oils work against gnats. However, some pungent essential oils such as lavender oil are a natural alternative to insecticides against gnats.

Lavender oil, lemongrass oil, and eucalyptus essential oils repel gnats. Peppermint oil is also known to deter gnats. Neem oil can also be used against a wider range of flies and bugs including gnats.

Natural formula is one of the best reasons to use essential oils against gnats. Spraying insecticide is not safe for children and pets.

9 essential oils to use against gnats

The following essential oils are easily available and proven against gnats. They’re typically mixed with water and sprayed around the house. Using an essential oil diffuser is a backup solution to keep the small flies out.

What Essential Oils Repel Gnats?

1 – Lavender oil

Lavender is an aromatic plant known to repel gnats, bugs, and other insects. This plant is grown around homes invaded by gnats each spring, but it can also be used as an essential oil.

Lavender oil is a concentrated mixture made from aromatic lavender flowers. It’s so potent that it needs to be diluted in water and then sprayed around windows and doors for it to create an invisible barrier against gnats.

Applying it once every 1-2 weeks is best, at least until summer fully settles as this is the time gnats go away.

Lavender plants can also be grown as a more permanent solution against gnats. Planting lavender in the garden or pots around home entryways is best to keep gnats out.

The essential oil has the advantage of practicality as you can spray it all around the house, unlike potted lavender plants, which only deter gnats over a smaller perimeter.

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2 – Lemongrass oil

Lemongrass is one of the fast-growing plants that repel gnats. While gnats may be initially attracted to the shrub of lemongrass, they’re repelled by its aroma and essential oil version.

Lemongrass is part of a wider group of citrus-like essential oils that repel flies. Citronella and lemon essential oil is known to keep these flies away. Lemongrass is considered the superior option as it keeps more flies away.

Lemongrass is always sprayed in a diluted form as it’s very potent and acidic. It can be diluted with water or with vinegar.

A few drops of lemongrass essential oil are mixed with water or similarly with vinegar for a more potent formulation and then sprayed around the house.

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3 – Peppermint oil

Peppermint oil is a potent natural deterrent for flies and bugs. It brings together the smell of mint with the smell of pepper in one of the most potent natural scents that keep gnats away.

Like lemongrass oil, peppermint oil is also very potent and not recommended undiluted. Furthermore, both lemongrass and peppermint oils can lead to skin irritation if you spill them on your hands undiluted.

As a result, peppermint essential oil is always recommended in a diluted form, which is considerably friendlier but still potent against gnats.

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4Tea tree essential oil

Tea tree oil is less potent than peppermint, but it can still kill gnats on the spot when sprayed directly on the flies.

You can spray it around the house as a preventive measure but you can also spray tea tree oil on gnats in the kitchen or in the sink to kill them on the spot.

Tea tree oil is also diluted when used with a sprayer. You can alternatively use an essential oil diffuser to spread out tea tree fumes around the house.

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5Rosemary oil

Rosemary is one of the herbs grown in gardens to keep bugs and flies away. Rosemary essential oil maintains the same repelling qualities of the rosemary herb to the extent it needs to be diluted in water.

Rosemary doesn’t make for a good essential oil to be diluted with vinegar. It has a complex and pungent aroma that deters gnats on its own.

You can mix rosemary essential oil with water to spray it on tile, around windows, and under doors to keep gnats out.

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6 – Neem oil

Neem oil is one of the most common essential oils used against bugs. It also works against gnats and it has the advantage of being less irritating than other citrus essential oils.

Neem oil is often sprayed on plants to keep bugs from eating them. You can spray it around the house both indoors and outdoors to keep gnats out.

Gnats love fruits and vegetables. This is why you can spray the vegetables outside of the house with neem essential oil to keep these flies out.

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7Cedarwood oil

Cedarwood oil has a strong aromatic wood scent profile. Its anti-bacterial action is one of its top strengths.

Aromatic cedarwood essential oil is commonly used against gnats.

Given you have no decaying fruits or vegetables in the house, you can consider using cedarwood essential oils in an essential oil diffuser to keep flies out.

The diffuser acts as a deterrent for all types of flies.

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8Cinnamon oil

Cinnamon oil has pungent smell gnats hate. A combination of cinnamon sticks and sprayed cinnamon oil around the house is sufficient to keep these flies out.

Some gnats might still consider entering a house looking for organic decaying food. But they quickly look for an escape whenever they encounter a strong cinnamon scent.

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9Geranium oil

Geranium is grown in gardens all around the world. Its aromatic floral profile is known to keep gnats away.

You can consider geranium oil against gnats if you want your house to have a floral smell. Known to soothe the skin, geranium is less pungent than cinnamon and more pleasant for home residents.

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How to repel gnats with essential oil

All of the essential oils above need to be diluted when sprayed around the house. Undiluted essential oils might cause mild allergic skin reactions and eye irritation.

Mix essential oils with water

Mixing essential oils with water is one of the ideal methods of keeping gnats out while also saving. Up to 10 drops of essential oils per sprayer are recommended for a potent formula against flies.

For essential oils to work you also need to remove decaying fruits, vegetables, and other organic matter around the kitchen and around the house.

Use vinegar

Vinegar is often mixed with essential oils and water in a more potent formulation that lasts a few weeks before you need to reapply.

5 drops of essential oils and 2 tablespoons of vinegar are mixed with a sprayer of water for a potent mix. This is then sprayed in key areas but not on walls as essential oils and vinegar can leave visible stains.

Consider an essential oil diffuser

Essential oil diffusers are an alternative if you fear essential oil marks won’t get out. Some people might not want to spray essential oils on delicate surfaces such as hardwood floors.

As a result, using an essential oil diffuser is recommended as a backup solution. The problem with using a diffuser is that the barrier against gnats is limited to the time the diffuser works. Odors fade away quicker.

Combine essential oils against gnats

Most essential oils can be used on their own against gnats. Some people prefer to mix essential oils for a stronger formula before adding it to water and spraying the house.

You need to reduce the number of drops you add to water when you use multiple essential oils. 2-3 drops of essential oil are sufficient when you mix 2 essential oils such as cedarwood and lavender.

1-2 drops of essential oils are sufficient when you mix 3 or more types of essential oils such as lemongrass, cinnamon, and geranium essential oils.

Where to spray essential oils against gnats

Gnats lay eggs in the fruit. As the fruit ripens gnats start to appear and even make their way indoors. They mostly use windows and doors to enter homes.

Around windows

You can spray essential oils around all windows of a home to keep gnats out. This is one of the proven methods against multiple types of flies. You should spray windows at least every week or every 2 weeks to keep gnats out efficiently.

Around doors

Doors are entryways for gnats. Gaps under doors are particularly known for attracting gnats as they can easily fly or squeeze their way inside of the house, mainly in the kitchen.

You need to spray essential oils around all doors and consider spraying your kitchen space as well. This is where food attracts most gnats.

Near air vents

Air currents are sometimes used by gnats to make their way indoors. They use air currents whenever the weather changes to seek shelter. Make sure to spray essential oils next to air vents to keep gnats out.

Summary

Multiple types of essential oils can be successfully used against gnats. They need to be mixed with water and sprayed around the house, particularly next to entry points such as doors and windows.

Essential oils have a pungent aroma that smells nice to people but which repels a series of flies. This includes gnats and other common flies attracted to food inside the house.

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