What Smells Do Gnats Hate? (Top 19 Scents)

What Smells Do Gnats Hate? (Top 19 Scents)

Many people use chemicals to get rid of gnats, but there is no need for that. Since numerous plants and essential oils are highly efficient against these menaces, you can pick out any of them for this purpose. The only thing to do is check what smells do gnats hate and use them as soon as they appear in your home or yard.

Gnats hate strong scents, so you can use them as repellents and make your surrounding fragrant and freshen at the same time. The best option is to hang a few plants in corners or drip essential oils to strategic places in your home. On the other hand, planting lavender, rosemary, or lemongrass can successfully keep gnats away from your garden.

What Smells Do Gnats Hate pin1

Smells gnats hate

Lemon essential oil
Lemongrass essential oil
Eucalyptus essential oil
Lavender essential oil
Cedarwood essential oil
Peppermint essential oil
Tea tree essential oil (melaleuca oil)
Lemon thyme
Mexican Marigold
Neem oil
No Natz
Softener sheets

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Reasons to Repel Gnats

Reasons to Repel Gnats1

Gnats are a group of tiny and harmless but highly annoying flying insects you can often find inside your home and in the backyard. They fly in clouds and typically don’t bite but can be highly aggressive. The additional problem is that they multiply rapidly.

It sounds unbelievable, but some species can lay a few hundred eggs on one piece of fruit. You can expect to see them in moist areas and around rot fruit and compost. Besides, they find human sweat incredibly attractive, making it difficult for people to work in the fields and orchards.

What Smells Do Gnats Hate?

Believe it or not, deterring gnats can be an effortless task, although it doesn’t seem so at first glance. Choosing the right scent can help you get rid of these pesky little insects, making your summer gathering with family and friends enjoyable.

1. Lemon essential oil

Lemon essential oil1

Unlike humans who enjoy the fresh lemon scent, gnats hate it. Therefore, you can use this natural aroma to repel these tiny flying insects from your home and backyard. Be careful when applying lemon essential oil since it is potentially harmful to cats and dogs.

The most effortless way is to mix a few drops of lemon oil and dish soap and dilute it with water. Use it to clean kitchen surfaces, deterring insects simultaneously. Another option is to make a spray and spritz it around where you commonly spend time.

2. Lemongrass essential oil

This oil is a natural repellent against gnats, thanks to a fresh and potent fragrance. Besides allowing you to enjoy summer without these annoying insects, it freshens and scents your home.

3. Eucalyptus essential oil

Eucalyptus essential oil is widely used in the cosmetics industry. It is one of the crucial ingredients in body lotions, massage oils, and flu medications.

People enjoy its therapeutic aroma, but that smell is highly irritating for gnats, making it an excellent gnat repellent. Make a water solution and spray rooms where spending most of the time during the summer.

4. Lavender essential oil

Lavender essential oil1

Lavender is a repulsive smell to gnats, so you can use it to eliminate these horrible insects from your home and yard during the summer.

It is on you to make a lavender essential oil water solution and spray it in critical places. Another option is to plant this lovely flower on your patio, porch, or yard and let its scent relax you and deter gnats.

5. Cedarwood essential oil

Cedarwood essential oil is non-toxic to cats and dogs, so you can use it to repel gnats without fear of harming your pet. Drip a few drops into a diffuser or make a spray convenient for indoor and outdoor use. You can also protect your skin from bites by applying a mix of cedarwood and olive oil on the face, hands, and ankles.

6. Peppermint essential oil

Peppermint essential oil is a well-known repellent most insects hate. On that list are also gnats, so you can make a water solution of 10 to 12 drops of peppermint oil and one cup of dish soap to keep your home free of these menaces. For the best result, spray the house inside and then do the same on the patio, balcony, porch, and deck.

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7. Tea Tree essential oil (melaleuca oil)

Tea Tree essential oil (melaleuca oil)1

Tea tree oil is known for its anti-inflammatory characteristics but is also an excellent repellent. Mix several drops of this essential oil and a half teaspoon of dish soap, and then make a spray by adding one cup of water.

Pour a solution into a spray bottle and sprinkle it throughout your house. Since only 7 to 8 drops of tea tree essential oil applied to the cat’s or dog’s skin can be fatal to these pets, you should be careful when using it.

8. Rosemary

You can use this beautiful plant in three ways to effectively deter gnats. Grow a bush in your yard or make a spray from essential oil and apply it over the house. The final option is to soak the crushed rosemary twigs in water and let them sit for a few hours before spraying the area with this fragrant liquid.

9. Lemon thyme

Lemon thyme is a scented plant herb that is highly unpleasant to gnats. Plant it in a pot and place somewhere in the kitchen as an excellent repellent. It can also thrive in the garden, so you can grow it on both sides of the house entrance, preventing these annoying insects from coming in.

10. Vanilla


Vanilla is one of the most popular scents you can find, but gnats hate it. Therefore, you can make an excellent repellent with this spice. Combine a tablespoon of vanilla extract with the same amount of water and soak a cotton ball.

Apply it to your exposed skin every 30 minutes, and gnats will ignore you. If you want to keep your home gnat-free, use essential oil, make a spray, and apply it over flat surfaces.

11. Citronella

Citronella grass is well-known as an excellent repellent against mosquitoes and gnats. You can plant citronella grass in your yard, use aromatic sticks, or make DIY candles.

One of the most popular options is to make an efficient water solution of citronella essential oil or its crushed leaves and a few drops of dish soap. Avoid using these products inside your home, but they are helpful outdoors, particularly during hot summer days.

12. Mint

Mint is a highly fragrant plant, so many people use it to repel gnats. You can choose any of the available types, including:

  • Water mint
  • Pennyroyal
  • Spearmint
  • Chocolate mint
  • Pineapple mint
  • Corsican mint
  • Apple mint

13. Mexican Marigold

Mexican Marigold1

Plant this beautiful flower and enjoy clusters of cream and yellow blooms throughout the summer. At the same time, Mexican marigolds will deter annoying gnats since they can’t stand their scent.

14. Geranium

If you have a yard, you can plant this fragrant flower containing citronella or let them thrive in pots. Besides, you can purchase candles with this ingredient or one of the efficient commercial sprays to get rid of gnats.

15. Garlic 

Garlic is a perfect and highly potent repellent against gnats. Since having a home smelling of garlic is pretty unattractive, you can use this veggie in your kitchen. Another option is to crush the garlic cloves and pour them with lemon oil. That way, you can freshen your home and get an excellent solution for deterring gnats.

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16. Neem oil

Neem oil1

This proven repellent for gnats disrupts laying eggs and larvae development. The best thing is that neem oil is harmless to your pets and plants.

Make a spray by combining one tablespoon of Castile soap with two tablespoons of neem oil and pour them into a cup of warm water. After applying it inside your home, you can do the same in the yard. It efficiently eliminates eggs laid around the plant roots, under mulch piles, and in compost. 

17. No Natz

No Natz is a natural, hypoallergenic, DEET-free spray made of several essential oils, including:

  • Rosemary essential oil
  • Citronella essential oil
  • Lemongrass essential oil
  • Geranium essential oil

Its advantage is that you don’t need to make an efficient repellent yourself. Spritz No Natz on your body and clothes, or light a candle to enjoy a gnat-free yard.

18. DEET

DEET is not an all-natural product, but it is an excellent repellent worth mentioning. It efficiently deters mosquitoes, gnats, and ticks, protecting people and animals from Lyme disease, Zika virus, and West Nile virus. Be careful with this commercial product since it can cause skin irritation and rash in direct contact.

19. Softener sheets

Softener sheets1

Dryer sheets are a convenient way to keep gnats away from your surroundings. Since they often smell like lavender, geranium, or lemon balm, you can efficiently use them instead of essential oils. On the other hand, these sheets contain chemicals that also deter bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds from your backyard.


Numerous scents keep gnats away, and you should pick out the one you like. The best way to protect your yard is to plant some aromatic flowers, while essential oils are ideal for homes. Experiment and discover which choice is the best for you and base it on your preferences and each repellent’s feature.

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