The whole point of us making the effort to grow our own veggies is to avoid all of the toxic sprays that commercial farmers use, right? The problem is, caterpillars (and their mates!) love our fresh produce almost as much as we do. As well as checking leaves (the underside mainly), and catching the little buggers, you may find this Natural Homemade Pest Repellent useful. It will need a fair bit of attention from you, with reapplication after rain and watering, but it definitely makes a difference!


Makes: 500 ml Prep time: < 5 min.


• 6-8 whole small hot chillies
• 1 whole head of garlic
• ½ cup | 125 ml water (see recipe notes)
• 20 drops of lavender essential oil
• 20 drops of patchouli essential oil
• 20 drops of lemongrass essential oil
• 20 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
• 1 tsp liquid castile soap
• 1 ½ cups | 375 ml water – additional (see recipe notes)

Extra equipment required

Muslin cloth or nut milk bag


1. Using a blender or food processor, blend chillies and garlic until very well chopped.
2. Scrape down sides, add ½ cup | 125 ml water and blend again for 1 minute.
3. Pour mixture into a muslin cloth or nut milk bag and, using gloves, squeeze liquid into a bowl. Discard pulp.
4. Add chilli-and-garlic liquid and remaining ingredients to bowl, and mix until combined.
5. Transfer into container of choice.

To Use

Spray onto plants, including the underside of leaves. Repeat as necessary – especially after rain or using sprinklers. Store in the fridge between applications. Discard after 7-10 days. Shake well before each application.

Recipe Notes

Water should be distilled, purified or pre-boiled and cooled to extend shelf life.
I find the combination of essential oils in this recipe effective at repelling pests, however, you can leave them out if you don’t have them, or don’t want to use them for an outdoor application.

Krissy Ballinger

Krissy Ballinger


Krissy wants to see a world where people make conscious choices that honour both humans and habitat. It is her mission to gently guide people towards this beautiful way of life. With a background in education and health promotion, she devotes her time to increasing awareness on common and avoidable toxins, as well as educating individuals on simple ways they can adjust their lifestyles to better serve themselves, and the planet. Natural DIY is Krissy’s speciality, and she has sold over 80,000 copies of her recipe books, including her latest book, The Lifestyle Edit, the award-winning, Naturally Inspired - Simple DIY Recipes for Body Care and Cleaning, and her kids book, Make & Play - Natural DIY Recipes for Kids.

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