Peppermint Bug Repellent for the Garden

Get rid of garden insect pests quickly and effectively with this all natural peppermint oil bug spray. All you need are two simple ingredients! This is my go-to bug repellent recipe when I want to avoid harsh chemical pesticides!

collage of photos showing bugs and mint plants; text overlay "Peppermint Bug Repellent for the Garden"

My garden was in full bloom a few weeks ago when I noticed them…tiny green specks on my pea plants. And they were moving. APHIDS!!

Last year’s pea crop had no issues, but unfortunately this year the aphids discovered them! And if you’ve ever dealt with aphids, you know that they multiply rapidly and can quickly overwhelm your crops.

Some of the recommendations for getting rid of aphids include spraying them with water or smashing them by hand. I tried both of those methods, but the aphids continued to thrive.

That’s when I knew it was time for some of my trusty peppermint oil spray!

Why Do Bugs Hate Peppermint?

Peppermint oil is a gardener’s best friend! That’s because most bugs HATE peppermint!

Peppermint has a strong odor that most insects will avoid. It makes a wonderful natural deterrent if you’re looking to avoid pesticides.

An interesting fact I learned while researching my peppermint bug spray is that stick bugs use a peppermint odor to repel predators! They’re already onto the peppermint repellent trick!

Is Peppermint Oil Safe to Use on Plants?

You’ll want to dilute peppermint oil before you apply to plants. Pure peppermint essential oil is quite strong, so you don’t want to risk damaging plants. It’s usually not advised to apply directly to human skin, so it makes sense that you wouldn’t want to apply directly to plants either.

Also, diluting helps a little bit of peppermint oil go a long way. Peppermint oil has a strong fragrance, so you really only need a few drops. Diluting with water allows you to make enough spray to apply to your entire garden, or the plants that need help.

As with any pesticide, natural or otherwise, it’s important to spot test before applying to the entire plants. Diluted peppermint oil is safe for most plants, but you always want to make sure first.

ingredients to make peppermint oil bug spray

Peppermint Bug Spray Ingredients

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You only need a couple simple ingredients to make this natural garden pest repellent.

Tools Used

How to Make Peppermint Oil Bug Spray

I’ll show you two different recipes and you can chose the one that works best for your needs:

If You Just Want to Repel Potential Pests…

Peppermint oil is a great preventative. I apply every month or so (or after a drenching rain) to keep potential insect pests away from my garden.

For this method, simply fill a spray bottle with water and add 10-15 drops of peppermint essential oil. Mix well and spray lightly on plants. (Remember to spot test first!)

If Your Plants are Already Infested…

You’ll need something a little stronger! For example, my pea plants that were covered in aphids were past the repellent stage. I also needed to get rid of the bugs that were already there.

In this case, I added 1 Tablespoon of dish soap to my spray bottle, along with the water and peppermint.

The dish soap penetrates insects’ exoskeleton and kills ’em dead. It’s a key ingredient in my favorite DIY ant spray too!

Be sure to use dishwashing liquid and NOT dishwasher detergent, which is completely different formulation. Dishwasher detergent won’t help your bug problem and may actually kill your plants instead.

Again, remember to spot test your plants to ensure they don’t react negatively to the spray.

What Type of Bottle to Use

When working with essential oils, the best choice for container is glass. Essential oils can actually deteriorate plastics over time.

glass spray bottle with bug homemade bug repellent for the garden

Peppermint Garden Bug Repellent Recipe

Time needed: 5 minutes.

Peppermint Oil Bug Spray

  1. To Make a Bug Repellent

    Fill a spray bottle with water. Add 10-15 drops of peppermint essential oil and mix.

  2. To Make Bug Repellent and Killer

    Fill a spray bottle with water. Add 1 TB dish soap and 10-15 drops of peppermint oil.

Does Mint Attract Insects?

While peppermint is generally a bug repellent, there are some types of insects that are actually attracted to the smell of mint and/or mint plants. The really neat thing is that the insects mint attracts are actually beneficial! So we have a plant oil that gets rid of “bad” bugs and attracts the good ones!

Certain types of wasps and flies are attracted to mint. At first it would sound like you wouldn’t want those around, but here’s why you might…

Wasps are helpful pollinators and having them around can actually increase fruit production. Even better, wasps lay eggs inside of caterpillars (a huge garden pest) and may even eat pest insect eggs!

Related: 5 Ways to Attract Pollinators to Your Garden

Just another reason that I not only make sure to grow mint plants in my garden, but to keep a bottle of peppermint spray at the ready!

More Ways to Keep Bugs out of the Garden


  1. Thank you for suggesting peppermint oil. Hopefully this will keep ant out of the cat food bowl.

    1. Peppermint oil is not safe for use around cats or their food bowl. Please do not do this.

  2. Thanks for info. Suggestion: identify the volume of spray bottle that you add ‘x’ drops of peppermint oil.

  3. 10 to 15 drops to a spray bottle of water?? What size bottle?? How much water??

    1. I generally use a 32oz spray bottle. It doesn’t have to be exact, but somewhere in that range.

  4. how much H20…for 1TB DAWN & 10-15 DROPS OF PEPPERMINT OIL?

    1. I generally just fill up the bottle!

  5. How often should I spray?

    1. As needed. And always spot test first to make sure your plants are ok with it!

  6. What do you do if you used too much peppermint oil on your plants? Accidentally spilled undiluted drops on them

    1. I would dilute by hosing the plants down with water. Probably will be fine!

  7. Does this recipe work as a spray to repell mosquitoes outside on a concrete deck?

    1. This is not intended to be used as a mosquito repellant. It is a spray to use on plants in the garden. Hope this helps

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