A large woody grass related to lemongrass, citronella is the scent to beat when it comes to keeping your summer nights free from pesky biting insects. Not only can the bites be painful, but they can also carry several deadly diseases. With a lemon woodsy scent, citronella essential oil may possibly have the scent of summer, keeping you free from an insect invasion.

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A large woody grass related to lemongrass, citronella is the scent to beat when it comes to keeping your summer nights free from pesky biting insects. Not only can the bites be painful, but they can also carry several deadly diseases. With a lemon woodsy scent, citronella essential oil may possibly have the scent of summer, keeping you free from an insect invasion.

Looking for the Best Citronella Essential Oils?

Citronella Essential Oil Benefits

Well known for its ability to keep mosquitoes from biting you or invading your outdoor activity, citronella essential oil has several other health benefits as well. Whether you need relief from aching muscles or something to control a bout of athlete’s foot, citronella may be the oil for you.

1. Deodorize and freshen the air

Most unpleasant odors are caused when bacteria begin to break down organic matter. This happens in your kitchen trash and the soft surfaces of your house on which organic substances like skin or food particles often fall. Essential oils can help prevent and control these odors by killing the bacteria that would feed on this natural material and release the unpleasant scents into your home. Citronella has been shown to be effective against multiple types of bacteria and could be effective in controlling the odors found around the house. (1) The scent has also been shown to uplift the mood, adding a sense of cleanliness and the impression of fresh air.

2. Insect repellent

Though it may seem like mosquitoes and other stinging insects are generally just pests that leave behind irritating welts, they can also be responsible for spreading very serious diseases such as yellow fever and the Zika virus. These viruses cause millions of deaths in many countries around the world where people do not have access to commercial insect repellents. Essential oils like citronella are studied for their repellent ability without the side effect that many chemical products have, including producing insects that are immune to them. (2) The spread of infectious disease is reduced because mosquitoes will not approach humans as a food source, and regular use around living spaces can keep mosquito populations from forming.

3. Muscular and joint comfort

Minor muscle and joint aches can be caused by simple everyday overuse or be a chronic sign of an autoimmune disorder such as arthritis that can damage the joints over time. Many over the counter remedies for pain include a host of side effects that make them incapable of being used for a long period or have a window in which you can only use them once. Using essential oils such as citronella increases the ability to use the product more often without adding any side effects. Citronellal, a major component of citronella essential oil, has been shown to garner pain relief, even when applied topically, as it helps to block the pain signals that are moving along the nerves of muscles and joints. A 2013 study using mice showed that doses of citronellal inhibited the formation of a response to mechanical pain stimulation. Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antidepressant properties combine to help with overall body discomfort. (3)

4. Antifungal

Changes in body chemistry can cause an overgrowth of what is normally beneficial fungus found in or on the body. Humid environments found in shoes or skin folds encourage the formation of fungus that cause afflictions like yeast infections and athlete’s foot. While treatable with over the counter medications, sometimes they can persist. Citronella essential oil has been found to be effective in reducing the replication of infectious fungus and can be used in a diluted form to cure and prevent occurrences of athlete’s foot. It may also help control the body’s natural balance of candida yeast as well. (4)

Citronella Essential Oil Uses

You may be familiar with citronella oil when you refill backyard lamps every summer in an effort to keep your family gatherings mosquito-free. However, that is only one of the many uses for citronella essential oil around your house and family. Topically or aromatically, this oil may be a benefit in your life.

Aromatic Uses

  • Diffuse 5 drops each citronella and cinnamon to cleanse the air of molds and fungi that may cause respiratory distress.
  • Add 10-15 drops of citronella to dried flowers or potpourri. Place in areas you want free of insects.
  • Diffused 5 drops each citronella, tangerine, and grapefruit for an aroma to pick up your mood and increase energy.

Topical Uses

  • Add 2 drops citronella and tea tree to 1 tablespoon of carrier oil of choice and apply to feet and toenails to prevent athlete’s foot.
  • Add 2 drops each citronella, tea tree, and lavender to 1 tablespoon of carrier oil. Apply to underarms to prevent odor.
  • Melt ¼ cup of shea butter with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. After cooling slightly, add 15 drops of citronella, 10 drops of cedarwood, and 5 drops of each bergamot and patchouli. Apply to skin as an insect repellant.

What is the Best Citronella Essential Oil?

Citronella seems to be everywhere during the spring and summer months, so much so that it can be overwhelming when trying to find the best citronella essential oil. We tested dozens of them so your work would be done for you. We’ve listed our top three picks for you below.

Plant Therapy Organic Citronella Essential Oil

This therapeutic-grade essential oil comes from the best cultivators that grow their bay leaves in the optimal soil and lighting conditions. Extracted using low-heat, this method helps to support the oil’s potency. However, this also means that this oil is very strong, and you want to dilute it to safe levels before you apply it. You also want to be careful when you use it with small children.

Best for: Kid-Friendly Insect Repellants


US Organic Citronella Essential Oil

This essential oil has been formulated using plant material source from farms that have been certified organic, leaving you with an oil that is then tested to be free from chemical pesticides or synthetic materials. This oil is ideal for using to keep your skin healthy.

Best for: Skincare


Aura Cacia Organic Citronella Essential Oil

Certified organic, this oil is tested to be free of adulterating chemicals, GMOs, or synthetic dyes. An independent company does the testing so you can be assured of its quality. This gives you an oil made with the best possible materials and may make it ideal for keeping your home fresh and deodorized.

Best for: Deodorizing Your Home


My Favorite Uses For Citronella Essential Oil

With scent being the sense most related to memory, is it any wonder that citronella has always been associated with hot summer nights spent playing in the yard? Its scent is immediately recognizable when using any kind of insect repellant, even the kind that uses other chemicals to keep bugs away.

I love burning candles or torches with citronella oil, though lately, I’ve taken to making my own beeswax candles, so I’m sure to be burning only the citronella oil and no other preservative chemicals. My kids are slathered down with a moisturizer that contains citronella oil and not much else, keeping their skin free from bug bites all summer long. This is especially important for me and my youngest. Our blood must be extremely tasty.

We use a spray around the yard to keep insects from finding any missed pools of standing water where they can spawn their young. The oil doesn’t harm my plants, and my pets are unharmed by it. In fact, the dog has lower incidences of fleas when this spray is used around the house and backyard where he plays.

With a refreshing scent that is slightly reminiscent of lemon, citronella is my featured oil during those warm summer nights, keeping my family and me safe from disease-carrying insects while we are forming lifelong memories together.

Recommended Citronella Oil-Based Products

1. Sierra Dawn Campsuds Outdoor Soap with Citronella

Sierra Dawn Campsuds Biodegradable Soap with Insect Deterrent Citronella, Lavender, Peppermint Oils...
  • Campsuds with Citronella, Lavender & Peppermint Oil: The essential...
  • All the cleaning power of Original Campsuds. Smells great too!
  • 100% BIODEGRADABLE – Created from a blend of purified water,...

Any time spent in the outdoors leaves you open to being stung by insects like mosquitoes. This soap is formulated of natural ingredients so as not to have a negative impact on the environment when you are out enjoying some time camping. It is also a concentrated formula, so less is required for completing your task. With essential oils like citronella and peppermint, this soap cleans your dishes as well as your hands and leaves your skin with a scent to repel bugs. Lavender soothes your skin and any bites that have already occurred. It can also be used as laundry soap, giving you further protection in your clothing.


2. Misty Mountain Soap Co. Doggie Shampoo Bar Soap

This handmade soap is created from all-natural ingredients, all safe for use with your dog. Natural oils are saponified to create a gentle cleanser that does not dry out either your dog’s skin or coat. Emollient oils then moisturize the skin without causing overproduction of oil. Natural essential oils keep down irritation and can help repel biting insects such as fleas, keeping your dog itch-free. The scent is reported to be more natural and less overwhelming than chemical shampoos. However, the company states that it is not safe for use on cats, so please use caution around your pets.


Caution of Citronella Essential Oil

  • Tisserand and Young (2014) report that undiluted citronella oil was found to be irritating to rabbit skin, depending on the variety of grass the distillation is from.
  • Citronella oil can be sensitizing to individuals who are allergic to its constituent chemicals.
  • Always choose quality citronella essential oil from reputable suppliers.
  • Do not use citronella oil orally as it may cause vomiting and convulsions.
  • Always store oil in a dark container away from direct light. Oxidized oils can cause skin sensitivities.


I hope you enjoyed learning about the benefits of citronella essential, many more beyond the well-known use for repelling insects. Please be sure to share this information with anyone looking to help manage muscle aches or deodorize their home. Leave your comments and opinions below, and let us know what you think.