Does Citronella Repel Flies? (4 Different Ways)

does citronella repel flies

The fact that flies feed on rotting food, dead animals, and feces is no news. However, did you know that after doing this, they land on surfaces in our homes and spread disease-causing germs? For this reason alone, keeping them away from your surroundings is crucial.

Among the different smells with the ability to keep flies away, one smell that stands out is the scent of the citronella plant. This begs the question, does citronella repel flies?

Citronella can repel flies, an ability it owes to its strong lemony smell that masks any smell around your home that may attract flies. However, the effectiveness of your citronella fly-repellent remedy will depend on the way the citronella is used, as while some work best in a small and controlled environment, others work well when used outdoors.

In this guide, in addition to learning how to use citronella to keep flies away, you’ll also be shown several other tested and proven methods of keeping flies away.

Does Citronella Repel Flies? (4 Different Ways) pin1

Different Ways to Use Citronella to Repel Flies

When trying to keep flies away, citronella can be used in diverse ways, however, the important thing to remember when choosing a method is, whether the chosen method is suitable for indoor or outdoor use.

Now let’s dive into these different ways to use citronella to repel flies.

Electric Handheld Fly Swatter Indoor Bug Zapper

Original price was: $11.99.Current price is: $8.99.

3000V UV Light USB Charging Indoor Bug Zapper

Original price was: $19.99.Current price is: $14.99.

Upgraded 3000V TYPE-C Charging 3 in 1 Indoor Bug Zapper

Original price was: $33.99.Current price is: $24.99.


1. Citronella Candles

The use of citronella candles is a common outdoor method for repelling flies. This method is ideal for those of you who love camping and other outdoor activities. This way you do not need to worry about flies or mosquitoes raining on your parade.

When choosing citronella candles for outdoor use, it is crucial you take your time to choose the best as some burn better than others due to the high concentration of citronella infused in the making of such candles. This in turn causes the candle to release a stronger smell into the air, hence providing a greater fly-repelling effect.

N.B These candles are extremely volatile and the scent tends to evaporate in a few hours, so it is best to invest in a candle brand that adds enough citronella concentration to their products to last longer.

2. Citronella Incense

The citronella-based incense is a natural insect repellent you should consider when looking for harmless ways to repel flies. Some brands produce incense sticks with a high level of citronella; all it takes to keep those flies away is lighting up the incense, letting it burn, and spreading its scent into the air.

This method works best indoors and in controlled spaces like your room so that the scent can fill the room and take effect. This is because, unlike the candle which lasts a few hours after it is lit, with incense you only have a few minutes to spread the scent of the citronella-based incense around the room.

3. Citronella Essential Oil

Citronella Essential Oil1

Image Credit: apothecaryyyc

Citronella oil is an extract obtained from crushed citronella. This extract possesses a heavily concentrated scent that is very effective in repelling flies because the oil is raw.

After extracting the oil, one of the most common ways of using it to repel flies is by filling a spray bottle with the oil. This spray bottle serves as a repellent for flies and also a bug spray. All you need to do is spray a little occasionally so the scent remains in the air.

Additionally, you can also choose to use an aromatherapy diffuser. This is similar to placing an air freshener in your home because, with the diffuser, you only need to fill it up with the citronella oil or mix it with a carrier oil like coconut oil and place it in an aerated spot so that the scent circulates your environment.

Alternatively, some people prefer to rub this citronella extract directly on their skin to prevent flies from approaching them. It is no wonder this extract remains the active ingredient in many citronella products.

Upgraded 3000V Electric Bug Zapper Racket

Original price was: $31.99.Current price is: $23.99.

Portable Three-layer Safety Bug Zapper Racket

Original price was: $4.99.Current price is: $3.99.

Upgraded Electric USB Rechargeable Bug Zapper Racket

Original price was: $41.99.Current price is: $31.99.


4. Citronella Plant

The citronella plant is a variety of the Asian grass plant and its scientific name is Cymbopogon Nardus. This is the source of the active ingredient in the fly repellant, the oil extract.

It would be easy for us to say you should simply plant the citronella plant if you want to repel flies in your backyard because many prefer this simple and natural option. However, we advise that you extract the oil first because it proves to be more effective.

Planting citronella in your backyard or garden to repel flies works only to an extent. The only method that is guaranteed to work 100% when using citronella to repel the flies in your yard is through the oil extraction method and this is because it is more concentrated and effective.

Other Natural Repellents That Keep Flies Away1

Other Natural Repellents That Keep Flies Away

Aside from citronella oil, other natural insect repellants are known to have the ability to keep flies away. Some of these natural repellents include;

  • Herbs
  • Essential oil and
  • DIY repellent sprays

1. Herbs

There are several herbs that can help you get rid of flies naturally and the interesting fact about these herbs is that you only need to have them naturally around you. They do not require any form of processing before they act as repellents.

  • Basil – The basil herb is known to keep flies at bay, making it a natural repellant
  • Cinnamon – The fact that people enjoy the fresh smell of cinnamon, especially when added to their recipes, does not mean flies share this feeling. They tend to stay away from any environment filled with the smell of cinnamon
  • Bay Leaf – we may enjoy the sweet aroma this herb adds to our meals, but flies and other little bugs, do not appreciate this scent

Pet Collar Tick Ultrasonic Pest Control Repeller

Original price was: $4.99.Current price is: $3.99.

P82D Electronic Ultrasonic Pest Control Repeller

Original price was: $36.99.Current price is: $27.99.

Portable USB Indoor Ultrasonic Pest Control Repeller

Original price was: $12.99.Current price is: $9.99.

2. Essential Oil

The essence of many plants is often extracted and we know them to be essential oils. These oils contain a concentrated amount of smell that helps you deter flies and here are the best ones to help you repel flies.

  • Lemongrass oil – this plant belongs to the citronella family and people often interchange lemongrass for citronella grass, so it is only fitting that they have the same effect on flies. Lemongrass oil is the most effective for this purpose
  • Lavender oil – as much as many of us will agree that we enjoy the sweet scent of lavender oil, many will argue that it has a strong smell, and the fact that flies avoid this smell is proof enough that this is true
  • Peppermint oil – flies avoid mint because the strong scent makes them uncomfortable. Having a peppermint plant or spraying peppermint oil is bound to repel flies

3. DIY Repellents

The problem with the mass-produced repellants is that they have high chemical levels and because we are looking for natural ways to repel flies that do not harm them, it makes it wise to know simple DIY repellents. Here are some of them to learn.

  • Natural Apple Cider Repellent

This repellent is quite easy to prepare once you have the right ingredients to mix. You will need a quarter cup of apple cider vinegar, a quarter cup of witch hazel, and a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil.

First, you should mix the apple cider vinegar with the witch hazel and shake well to make sure that they mix well after which you add a few drops of the essential oil. You may decide to put this mix in a spray bottle and spray on surfaces that fly perch or apply it to your body as a skin repellant.

  • Clove and Lemon Repellant

Here is a combination that not only serves as an effective repellent for flies but also a possible design piece for your homes. Flies do not fancy the strong smell of both lemon and cloves so a combination of the two is not ideal for these insects.

This repellent is easy to prepare, all you need to do is get a lemon and a few cloves. Slice the lemon into two equal halves and insert as many cloves as you can into each half. You can place this piece on areas you see flies the most and they will not only repel those flies but could be a design piece for this area.

N.B – You can use these other repellants together with citronella oil.

Final Thoughts

The most effective way to avoid flies is to ensure that there are no attractants in your environment. Flies are attracted to stinky smells like feces and bad food, so once you can avoid this, you will not have a lot of trouble with flies.

However, if there are flies in your surroundings, it will interest you to know that citronella is a natural insect repellent that can help control these flies, and below are some effective ways you can administer the solution.

  • Citronella Candle
  • Citronella Oil
  • Citronella Incense

Does Citronella Repel Flies? (4 Different Ways) pin2

Sharing is caring!