Essential Oil Flea Repellent for Humans – Aromatic Solutions for the Pest

Essentials oils are staples for aromatherapy. But aside from its relaxing effect, the same oils can be used to repel the dreaded fleas. It’s a safer alternative to insecticides and other synthetic sprays that have toxic fumes.  So for this post, we will list the best essential oil flea repellent for humans and how you can use it to fight the pest.

How essential oil works against fleas

Essential oils work wonders against fleas through its scent. Since these oils are aromatic and have an intoxicating smell, it will mask the host’s scent from the fleas.

Take note that essential oils only mask the scent of carbon dioxide and the chemicals on the person’s skin.  Body heat is another story. Nevertheless, these natural solutions are equally effective.

Some essential oils also have specific compounds that can kill fleas upon contact. Also, if the source plant is known to resist insect predators, it’s perceived to have essential oil that’s equally strong for secondary use.

essential oil flea repellent for humans

How effective are essential oils?

Essential oils are probably the safest method you can use to repel fleas on your skin. However, as much as these are widely used, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) doesn’t attest to the efficacy of these natural extracts.

Overall, experts conclude that essential oils can give moderate protection if used solely. However, if it’s blended with other repellents like Picaridin, it can protect you from fleas and other biting insects for hours.

If you’re not apt to mix your oils with synthetic chemicals, your best bet is combining multiple oils to boost each other’s effects.

However, you should check if the oils go well together. Also, not all essential oils can be applied to the skin. Some are better off sprayed around your bed or on areas where you usually stay.

Top 12 Essential Oils That Work Against Fleas

1. Lavender oil

Lavender is very effective in repelling – not killing – fleas. Also, it’s usually safe to apply directly into your dog or cat’s coat if diluted with water or carrier oil. You can also use the same mixture for your skin.

Moreover, lavender has a soothing effect on flea bites. Since it has an aromatic property, this will camouflage your skin’s scent against the fleas.

If you don’t want to use it topically, you can diffuse it at home for wider coverage.

The only downside to using lavender oil is it doesn’t kill fleas upon contact. Still, it will save you and your pet from the bites.

2. Rosemary oil

Rosemary isn’t just an aromatic herb; its oil is also an effective flea repellent. Like lavender, it only repels and not kills the fleas. Still, it’s a convenient solution, sans the harmful fumes of insecticides.

Moreover, rosemary oil helps ease flea bites while preventing the insects from giving you more. Always dilute this oil regardless of who and where you’re going to use it. Also, never use rosemary oil on cats since it’s toxic for the felines.

To boost the repellent effect of rosemary oil, you can blend it with other essential oils like thyme, cedar, or lavender.

3. Thyme oil

If you’re looking for a critical oil than can repel and kill at the same time, thyme oil is the answer.

Thyme is a Mediterranean herb that has been widely used for cooking and medicinal purposes. Its earthy, minty, and lemony scent makes it an effective repellent when diluted properly.

Also, you can use a potent concentration of thyme oil as a killer spray against the fleas. If diluted, you can spray this on your skin to protect yourself against the fleas and to soothe bites if there are any.

4. Cedar oil

Another exterminating and repelling essential oil is cedar. You can dilute this with coconut oil so you can spray it directly on the skin while avoiding the face area. Also, you can use coconut oil-diluted cedar oil as a rub for your dog’s coat mired with fleas.

Take note that cedar oil products aren’t made equal. Make sure that you look for one made for diffusers and home use. These have a milder concentration and it’s free form hazardous chemicals. To be safe, look for cedar oil extracted from Eastern Red Cedar or Texas Red Cedar.

essential oil flea repellent for humans

5. Pennyroyal oil

Pennyroyal oil is an effective essential oil flea repellent for humans, but you should never spray this directly on your skin or pet, regardless if diluted or not. This oil has a strong formula and can be toxic if applied topically.

To use pennyroyal oil, dilute it with carrier oils like avocado oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, and more. After that, you can spray it at the foot of your bed, furniture, and crevices where the fleas are hiding.

No matter how desperate you are, never apply this on your skin, let alone ingest it orally. 

6. Citronella oil

Citronella oil is a common ingredient among insect sprays and repellents. This is extracted from lemongrass and bears a highly acidic property. At all cost, you should never spray citronella oil directly to your skin or your pet’s coat without diluting it properly.

To dilute this oil, combine 15 drops of citronella oil with a bottle of water. Shake this well before applying all over your house, your skin, or your pet’s fur. Make sure that you seek the greenlight of a veterinarian before applying this to your pet.

7. Juniper berry oil

The spicy and woody scent of jumiper berry oil is effective in keeping away fleas from your skin. This oil is usually used as a cure for various conditions like skin flair-ups, indigestion, and insomnia.

When used as a topical solution against fleas, make sure that you dilute it with carrier oils or water if the former isn’t available.

Aside from the repellent property of juniper berry oil, it also has antimicrobial and antifungal benefits on the skin. Also, you can use this to get rid of foot odor and fungus.

8. Peppermint oil

Peppermint oil is a tried and tested insect repellent, thanks to its strong minty smell. It also speeds up the healing of insect bites.

Make sure that you dilute peppermint oil with coconut oil or water before spritzing it on your skin. You can also blend it with other aromatic oils listed here to boost the repellent, or even the exterminating effect of the spray.

If you’re planning on using this oil on your pets, do so for large breeds only. Also, apply it on isolated spots where the itching is taking place.

9. Basil oil

Basil oil is an aromatic substance that you can use as a spray against fleas. Take note that this should only be applied on surfaces and never on your skin or pet.

The aroma of basil will work by masking your body’s scent. You can also diffuse the diluted basil oil to protect your entire home. However, seek the opinion of a veterinarian first before doing so.

10. Rose geranium oil

The essential oil from rose geranium is very potent flea repellent. Aside from fleas, this oil is also effective against ticks and other crawling insects.

This essential oil flea repellent for humans is extracted from the perennial shrub of the same name, which is native in South Africa.

Moreover, rose geranium oil is very concentrated that a few drops can go a long way. Make sure that you dilute it well before the application.

11. Cardamom oil

Cardamom oil is used to treat various bacterial and fungal infections. This potency is also effective against fleas. It’s also a natural digestive aid for various conditions.

Due to the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of cardamom oil, it also soothes flea bites if diluted or mixed with water. You can also use jojoba oil to dilute this before applying on the skin.

12. Helichrysum Oil

The helichrysum oil is a potent repellent against fleas, plus it also speeds up the healing of your flea bites. And since it also bears analgesic properties, it can also reduce the pain due to the bites and irritation brought by fleas.

If diluted properly, it will also moisturize your skin. Also, you can re-apply it once a day for the best results.

How to make an essential oil flea repellent for humans

Using some of the essential oils listed above, you can come up with a potent repellent spray not just for fleas, but also for ticks, mosquitoes, ants, flies, and other insect pests.

Things that you need:

*Dark-colored spray bottle

*1 ounce of grain alcohol

*3 ounces of drinking water

*Geranium essential oil

*Lavender essential oil

*Cedarwood oil

How to make it:

Step 1. Pour the grain alcohol into the dark-colored spray bottle. We need to use a dark bottle so UV rays won’t degrade the potency of the mixture.

Step 2. After that, add 30 drops of cedarwood oil, 30 drops of geranium oil, and 10 drops of lavender oil.

Step 3. Place the bottle cap tightly and shake the mixture well.

Step 4. Apply it directly to your clothes, carpet, shoes, bed frame, and other areas where fleas tend to hide. Make sure that you shake it after a few sprays to keep the ingredients from settling at the bottom of the bottle.

Step 5. After spraying, store the unused mixture on a dark area at room temperature.

NOTE: This spray mixture isn’t made for direct skin application. If you want to make a skin repellent, skip the grain alcohol and use oils typically applied during aromatherapy and massages (e.g. lavender oil, geranium oil, cedar oil, rosemary oil).

Essential oil safety tips

*Not all essential oils can be applied on the skin

Since fleas bite humans, the common notion when using essential oils is to slather it all over the skin. This works, but for specific oil types. The likes of citronella and peppermint should never be applied directly on the skin. In addition, these oils have very abrasive compounds that may trigger irritations.

The rule of thumb is this: if the essential oil can be used in massage therapy, then it’s safe for your skin.

*Always dilute essential oils when applying on skin

Regardless if it’s the gentle-scented lavender, you should always dilute it in water or other carrier oils (coconut oil is the best!) before application. This way, the concentration will be milder on the skin without compromising the repellent effect.

*Mind who uses it

If you’re applying the essential oil mixture to a pregnant woman or a nursing mother, you should consult a doctor first. Do the same for people with seizures, serious respiratory problems, and skin sensitivities.

Also, you should be careful when applying essential oils to kids. Children have more sensitive skin that even diluted oils can still trigger sensitivities.

*Mix the oils you can apply within 2-3 days

Essential oils are placed on brown bottles for a good reason. This is to retain the quality of the oils and prevent damages brought by plastic and other chemicals.

So when making the spray mixture we discussed above, make sure that you can spray all of it in two or three days. Otherwise, you can slash the amount of the ingredients by half or a quarter.

*Avoid minty oils to kids below 2 years old

Two-year-old kids and below are slow-breathing. If you use mint, peppermint, wintergreen, and other minty oils, it could make it difficult for them to breathe. This is particularly crucial when the child is sleeping.

*Don’t forget about your pets

Some essential oils are beneficial for humans but harmful to dogs. Also, dogs have unique sensitivities. With this, you should ask the advice of a veterinarian before using any of these oils to repel fleas.

Such a move is very important if you’re planning to apply the oil mixture directly to your dog or cat’s coat.

Final words

An essential oil flea repellent for humans is a safer alternative to insecticides. Aside from the repellent effect, most of these oils also have healing properties to aid the bites. Also, all of them smell great!

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