Citronella Candles: Uses, Ingredients, and How to Make Your Own

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During the summer, the hours of enjoyment sitting on your porch are something that almost every homeowner looks forward to. But rather quickly those hopes of enjoyment are diminished when the buzzing of mosquitoes fill your ears. Before you know it, you will find yourself slapping mosquitoes and the next day you will find those itchy bumps appear on your skin. And then the thought of West Nile Virus comes to mind…

One way to help keep your summer evenings enjoyable is to place citronella candles in areas near where you are outside. Citronella candles will not kill the mosquitoes as some pesticides do, but instead, they will repel the pests away. Citronella candles are not toxic, which means that they are safe around humans, pets, and even insects. But while it may not bother humans, the insects will become annoyed by the smell and smoke coming from the citronella candles. Today I will share with you what citronella candles are, how to make them, the ingredients found in citronella candles, common questions, and how effective citronella candles are. I hope this article helps make your summer evenings even more enjoyable. So let’s get started.

What Are Citronella Candles? 

Before we get started on how to make citronella candles, we first need to know, “What are citronella candles?” To answer this question, we need to know what citronella oil is. Citronella is an essential oil obtained from the leaves and stems of different specifies of Cymbopogon, also known as lemongrass. Citronella oil is a plant-based insect repellent. It has been registered for use in the United States since 1948. The citronella oil has strong antifungal properties, and it is effective in calming barking dogs. Citronella oil can also be used on hair and skin to increase sweat (which will remove toxins) and fight dandruff.

It is common for people to wonder what citronella is and how effective is citronella? While citronella oil can be used for many reasons, including to help with stress, its best feature is that citronella repels mosquitoes. It is common to see citronella candles out during the summer because many people want to naturally get rid of insects and mosquitoes in and around their homes.

Ingredients Found in Citronella Candles 

Citronella candles usually do not contain many ingredients. Some brands of citronella candles contain ingredients like paraffin, hydrogenated palm oil, hydrogenated soy oil, and citronella oil. But if you want to make your own homemade citronella candles, you will only need three ingredients: soy wax, citronella oil, and crayons.

How to Make Your Own 

Making citronella candles is very easy to do. As I stated above, you only need three ingredients. Before you begin making citronella candles, first gather the ingredients and a bowl, scissors, mason jars, wicks, tape or hot glue, and a double boiler. Let’s get started on learning how to make your own citronella candles. Have fun!

Step 1:

Select Mason jars of any shape or size from which to make your citronella candles. Start by anchoring a wick to the bottom of each jar using tape or hot glue. Once the wicks are in the jars, set the jars in the oven to warm. By warming up the jars, you will ensure that the wax will cool evenly. Make sure the oven is set its lowest temperature.

Step 2:

Measure how much wax you will need and then place it into a double boiler. From here, heat the double boiler containing the wax until the wax melts. When the wax melts, it should look clear and similar to olive oil. Next, add the citronella oil to the melted wax. Make sure you add three drops of citronella oil for each cup of wax. Then, add a couple of crayons into the melted wax so that your citronella candle will be colorful.

Step 3:

Pour the melted wax into the prepared mason jars. You may want to wrap the wick around a pencil and lay the pencil across the top of the jars so that the wicks stay in the center.

Step 4:

Once the wax has cooled, trim the wicks so that they are half an inch or an inch from the top of the mason jar.

Step 5:

Light your citronella candles and place them nearby the areas outside where you will be and enjoy having a peaceful evening without fighting the mosquitoes.

Good Places to Buy Citronella Candles 

After learning how to make your own DIY citronella candles, you may be wondering where to buy citronella oil for candles you wish to make. Or you may rather wish to buy pre-made citronella candles. There are many places to buy citronella candles locally where outdoor furniture and equipment are sold. There are many citronella candles and citronella oils that you may want to try that may be purchased online such as Amazon.

Light In the Dark Votive Citronella Candle

This citronella candle comes in a pack of 72. Crafted from quality paraffin wax, each candle will burn for ten hours when placed in a candle holder. The candle holder is not included. The candles are 1.5″ in diameter x 1.25″ in height, and will fit into most standard candle holders, lanterns, mason jars, and other decorative holders. These citronella candles are made in the USA and contain a 100% lead-free wick.

Tiki Brand Triple-Wick Galvanized Citronella Candle Bucket

The Tiki Brand Triple-Wick Galvanized Citronella Candle Bucket is currently available for $15.34. This citronella candle is 28 ounces and will burn up to 32 hours. It comes in a galvanized bucket, along with a plastic lid to protect the wax that makes it easy to store.

Patio Essentials 22495-SPK Citronella Candle

These citronella candles come in a pack of three. Each candle is 17 ounces and is made from all natural wax. You will receive three different colored candles: red, blue, and green. When lit, these candles create a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The citronella candles contain 3% citronella, which has been tested to have the highest efficiency rating for deterring mosquitoes. These candles will burn for 40 hours.

Humco 194391001 Citronella Oil

Are you wanting to make your own DIY citronella candle? If so, you will need to purchase the citronella oil. The Humco 194391001 Citronella Oil is a great buy if you are shopping for citronella oil. Not only does this citronella oil repel mosquitoes, but it can also be added to shampoo and conditioner to help eliminate excess oil and greasiness of hair. This citronella oil can also be used to help calm barking dogs, help fight dandruff, increase sweating so that it draws toxins out of the body, and be a stress reducer.

How Effective Are Citronella Candles? 

It is debatable whether citronella candles actually work or not. While citronella candles are well known for their ability to repel mosquitoes, many people have questioned if this is actually true. Although the smoke and scent from the candles will help get rid of mosquitoes, it may not be strong enough to actually prevent mosquitoes from wanting to live in your yard. It may be helpful to put out a large supply of citronella candles. The more smoke and scent there is, the more annoyed the mosquitoes will become, and the better the chance is that you will have many peaceful evenings during the summer.

Common Questions 

Now it is time to go over some common questions. Hopefully, the answers to the questions will help you as you decide whether or not to purchase or make your own citronella candles

Does citronella repel mosquitoes?

Yes. That is the whole purpose of citronella candles. While it is questionable as to what degree citronella candles work, citronella candles are definitely helpful for repelling mosquitoes.

Why does citronella repel mosquitoes? 

You may have wondered how citronella works. Citronella candles work by masking the scents that mosquitoes are attracted to, such as carbon dioxide and lactic acid in humans. So rather than killing the mosquitoes as many pesticides do, citronella candles repel them away naturally.

Should I try organic citronella candles?

It is not necessary to purchase organic citronella candles. However, if you like buying organic, you will definitely want to buy organic citronella candles. A good organic citronella candle to try is the Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve Organic Natural Mosquito Repellent Candle.

Does citronella repel flies?

Yes. While citronella candles are made for mosquitoes (and are often called citronella mosquito repellent), citronella candles can also repel flies.

Where do I put my citronella candles?

Are you wondering where to place your citronella candles? The answer is simple: place them in areas where you don’t want mosquitoes. Such places could be around a window or door, on the porch, or even if you are camping, you could place the candle right outside of your tent. Find out if your candles are labeled outdoor citronella candles. Some citronella candles can be placed and lit inside. If purchasing your own, read the label to see if yours can be used indoors or not so you know where to place the citronella candles.

Is citronella toxic? 

No, citronella is not toxic. However, be careful when using citronella around your eyes, skin, or mouth. It may irritate your skin and eyes and can be harmful to breathe.

What does citronella smell like? 

The smell of citronella has been described as a grassy or a floral scent. The best way to describe the smell of citronella is to say that it has a natural smell.

Does citronella attract bugs or repel bugs? 

While some people may think citronella attracts bugs, citronella actually does the exact opposite. Rather than attracting insects, specifically mosquitoes, citronella repels them away.

Do tiki torches keep bugs away?  

Some citronella candles are called tiki torches. Because citronella candles and tiki torches are very similar, the answer to this question is yes, tiki torches do keep insects away.

Are citronella candles also called mosquito candles? 

Yes, citronella candles are often called mosquito candles. You may often hear citronella candles referred to as citronella mosquito repellent, bug candles, citronella candles for mosquitoes, and citrus candles. While these names often replace the name citronella candle, citronella candle is the proper word.

Does citronella kill mosquitoes? 

Unlike other pesticides, a citronella candle does not kill mosquitoes. Instead, it repels them.

Is citronella safe for humans? 

Yes, citronella can be safe for humans. However, it is important that you use citronella properly. If you will be applying citronella oil onto your skin to repel insects, you may want to apply just a small amount at first in case you are allergic to any of the ingredients. Also, it is a good idea to read the ingredients beforehand (I have listed common ingredients found in citronella candles earlier in this article). One thing you must never do is breathe in citronella oil. Citronella can cause lung damage. Citronella may also hurt your eyes, throat, and skin if you are around it too long.

Citronella candles vs oil: Which is better? 

The answer to this question will depend on how you want to use the citronella. If you want to light a candle and let the scent of citronella repel insects, then citronella candles are definitely recommended. But if you want to apply citronella to your skin and perhaps use it for other reasons, such as to reduce stress, you may want to purchase citronella oil.


I hope that this article has helped you understand more about citronella candles. As you can see, citronella candles are a great way to repel mosquitoes naturally. While some people have questioned whether or not citronella candles will repel mosquitoes, it is definitely a great thing to try before you turn to harmful pesticides. One of the best features of citronella candles is that they are not toxic to humans, pets, or even to mosquitoes. For all those pet lovers (and insect lovers) out there, you will appreciate how natural and safe citronella candles are. In this article, I shared with you the steps to make your own citronella candles. I also recommended several citronella candles to purchase online, such as Amazon. And lastly, I discussed the common questions that many people ask regarding how citronella candles work. Now, go get started on making your own citronella candles or purchase some of your own. Help make those long summer evenings of more peaceful without the worry of mosquitos.

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