Making DIY Citronella Candles

Last Updated:

The one thing that can ruin a lovely summer evening is the buzz of mosquitoes. Those little pests seem to have a single goal in their lives, to irritate us beyond all reason. However, you can use these diy citronella candles to rid yourself of these nasty pests, as candles can be made with essential oils that repel mosquitoes.

This guide will also detail some of the different oils you can use to make your candles.

diy citronella candle for a mosquito repellent

Mosquito candles are known as citronella candles because most of the candles available in stores use citronella oil as a repellent. However, other essential oils are effective in repelling mosquitoes as well, so you can change the scent of your candles for some variety.

Best Essential Oils to Repel Mosquitoes

So the most frequently used essential oil in homemade mosquito candles is definitely citronella, which has a pleasant, citrus fragrance. Citronella is probably preferred because its insect repellent properties have been verified and confirmed by scientific research.

However, this doesn’t mean that it is the only efficient essential oil you can use.

Other frequently used essential oils that have been used efficiently in DIY mosquito candles include clove, cedar wood, lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, rosemary and lemongrass. You can mix and match these different fragrances to create your own signature mosquito candles to suit your preferences while still repelling insects.

For example, some people may want to avoid citronella because it also appears to repel cats. If you have cats in your home, they may not appreciate the smell and avoid coming near the house while your candle is burning.

Making Citronella Candles

The technique used for making diy citronella candles is identical to my basic candle making. The only difference is that you will be using different essential oils with mosquito repellent properties. You can use them on their own, in combination with citronella, or any of the other oils.

Ingredients & Materials

ingredients for diy citronella candles


I’m using soy wax for this citronella candle so you will need to refer to my soy candle making page to determine how much to use. If you want to make pillar candles you will also need a mold, or you can opt for a jar candle similar to those sold in stores. I prefer jar candles, they are usually better because the wax remains in the container and it continues to permeate the air with the insect repelling essential oils.

For this demonstration I’m using an old Yankee candle jar, I’m simply refilling it at a substantially lower cost.

Step 1 As with other types of homemade candles, you will need to use and prepare the mold or jar with a wick suitable for the wax you will be using. For a large jar or bucket you may want to think about using more than just one wick.

To make your own pillar citronella candle, thread the wick through the hole in the mold, and then seal the hole with mold seal, pressing it down firmly to prevent the wax from leaking out of the mold. Place a stick or pencil on the top of the mold and wind the wick around it; this will help to keep the wick in a central position. For more info on using molds take a look at the basics of candle making.

For a jar candle or container candle, use a hot glue gun to fix the wick down into the center of the base.

use a hot glue gun to fix the wick down

Step 2 Place the wax in a double boiler and heat.

Place the wax in a double boiler and heat.

Step 3 Then add any dye you may be using for your diy citronella candle.

Then add any dye you may be using for your diy citronella candle

Step 4 Next add your choice of essential oils (see below for an explanation of the best oils to use).

add your choice of essential oils for a diy citronella candle

Step 5 Pour the wax into the mold. Making sure to keep the wick in place as you pour.

pour the wax for your citronella candle

Step 6 Support your wick using a bamboo stick or pencil.

Support your wick using a bamboo stick or pencil

Step 7 As the wax cools it contracts and begins to sink, so once the wax is half set you will need to pierce the wax in several places. Then top up with more wax, if you are using a mold that you will need to remove your candle from, make sure you don’t go over the original line of wax.

fixing sink holes in your diy citronella candle
topping up your citronella candle

A jar or bucket candle made with paraffin wax will also need topping up, but you don’t need to worry about the wax being too cool or going over the sides of the original wax line. Allow your candle to harden for approximately one day and then it’s ready to burn.

Now you can relax in peace in your backyard. Light your diy citronella candles in the evenings to provide a lovely ambient feel to your yard and keep the insects away at the same time.

diy citronella candle for a mosquito repellent

For a longer more detailed candle making tutorial check out the basics of candle making guide.

learning how to make mosquito repellent candles is so much fun because of the freedom you have to experiment. Even if you can find recipes for different essential oil mixes, most of the fun is in creating your own.

Join the conversation