Keep Mosquitoes at Bay with Homemade Citronella Candles
Nothing spoils a warm summer evening on the patio like mosquitoes ruining the vibe. While brands like Off! or Citronella may help, insect repellents can contain harsh chemicals. For a natural alternative, try making your own citronella candles at home.
The citronella plant has an aromatic oil that helps mask human scents, making it difficult for mosquitoes to detect you. Burning citronella oil in candle form allows the scent to permeate the area, creating a bubble of protection from pesky bugs. Plus, homemade citronella candles make for an easy, affordable DIY project you can customize.
Gather Your Candle Making Supplies
Making citronella candles requires just a few supplies:
- Wax - Paraffin, soy, or beeswax. Paraffin is inexpensive but not eco-friendly. Soy wax is a cleaner option ( my preferred option).
- Wicks - Pre-tabbed wicks make it easy. Opt for braided cotton or hemp.
- Citronella essential oil - Use 100% pure oil, not synthetic versions.
- Containers - Canning jars, glasses, or metal tins make great vessels.
- Double boiler - This gently melts wax on the stove.
- Thermometer - Monitor wax temperature of 180-185°F.
- Spoons for stirring - Basic kitchen tools help mix and pour wax.
- Decorative items (optional) - Dried flowers, glitter, seashells, etc.
Choosing Your Wax and Wick
When selecting wax, consider cost, availability, and eco-impact. Paraffin is inexpensive but made from petroleum. Soy wax is cleaner and vegan but more expensive. Beeswax adds a lovely honey scent. As for wicks, adhere to width guidelines for your candle diameter. braided organic wicks complement citronella.
Mixing the Citronella Scent
100% pure citronella essential oil can be quite strong undiluted. For 1 lb of wax, use 1-2 ounces of citronella oil combined with 2-4 ounces of a carrier oil like coconut, olive, or almond. This helps mellow the scent. Feel free to experiment with ratios - some love strong citronella, while others prefer it subtle.
Personally for me I like strong candles, so I'd opt for an 8 - 10% fragrance load.
Steps for Citronella Candle Making
Once you have your materials, you're ready to make magic happen:
- Set up your double boiler to melt wax gently at 180-185°F.
- Add citronella oil blend to melted wax and stir thoroughly.
- Thread wick through container bottom and secure in place with melted wax.
- Carefully pour wax into container, leaving 1⁄4 inch of space at top.
- Allow candle to fully set up overnight before trimming wick to 1⁄4 inch.
- Optionally, decorate exterior with dried flowers, seashells, or other embellishments.
- Enjoy your homemade citronella candles! One pound makes about two 8oz candles.
Tips for Best Results
- Add any colorants before citronella oil to avoid uneaven coloring.
- Warm jars before pouring to prevent cracking or frosting.
- Pour wax at 160-165°F for best surface finish.
- Cool candles slowly away from drafts. Too rapid cooling leads to sinkholes.
- Allow candles to cure 48 hours before burning. This stabilizes scent throw.
Personalize your citronella candles with unique vessels, shapes, or decorations:
- Recycled glassware like wine or jelly jars
- Silicone molds for fun shapes like seashells
- Layer wax colors for a striped effect
- Press dried flowers, coffee beans, or glitter into the top
- Add a contrasting layer of plain wax before citronella
Maximize Mosquito Protection
To make the most of your homemade citronella candles:
- Place candles near seating or dining areas outdoors
- Position citronella candles upwind so scent moves outward
- Use citronella candles in combination with torches or coils
- Extinguish candles if unattended to avoid potential fire hazard
Send Skeeters Scramming
Don't let mosquitoes ruin your outdoor fun. With some simple supplies and DIY spirit, you can easily whip up homemade citronella candles to create a pest-free zone. Get creative with decorative touches to make candles that are both functional and fabulous. Your patio, picnic table, garden, or camping spot will become a mosquito-free oasis when lit with the power of citronella.