Making oils

How To Make Citronella Oil At Home

Mary Smith
By Mary Smith. Updated: January 20, 2017
How To Make Citronella Oil At Home

Citronella is a medicinal plant that provides many health benefits, as it has analgesic, antiseptic, antibacterial, fungicidal, sedative and tonic properties. It is also used in aromatherapy as a relief for anxiety. Citronella oil is derived from the leaves and stems of nard or lemon grass and it is widely used as a non-toxic, natural insect repellent, used in lotions, candles or lamps to keep mosquitoes away. You can also plant citronella directly in your garden. If you're asking yourself how do I make citronella oil, at OneHowTo we'll offer you a practical guide that is very easy to use.

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Steps to follow:


Citronella oil is available in health food or beauty shops but these commercial goods don't keep all their natural properties and, apart from being expensive, contain processed oils through steam distillation. Therefore, it is better to use homemade DIY citronella oil to get a natural result that provides you with all of the benefits of citronella.


The first thing you should do is to get the necessary tools and ingredients that you are going to use to make homemade citronella oil.

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • One slow cooker
  • 1/4 cup citronella
  • 1 cheesecloth or gauze
How To Make Citronella Oil At Home - Step 2

Next, to make citronella oil you should mix the olive oil with the citronella leaves and stalks inside the slow cooker. Once boiled, strain the mixture using gauze or cheesecloth, always with a container underneath to collect the citronella oil, and discard plants that are left in the strainer.

Finally, repeat the process with the resulting mixture, using fresh citronella leaves and stalks but without changing the olive oil. This way you get oil with an even purer aroma. Afterwards, simply keep the citronella oil in a dark container and store it in a cool, dry place.


Bear in mind that citronella oil can be kept in optimum condition for an average of 6 months. You should not consume or use it during pregnancy and it also cannot be applied directly onto the skin as it can cause irritation. So, to be able to apply it as a lotion it should be premixed with soft oil like olive or coconut oil.


If you do not have nard leaves or stems, they can be replaced with lemongrass. Also, if you want to learn how to ward off insects with this aroma, we recommend our article on how to keep mosquitoes away with citronella. However, remember that citronella does not kill insects but repels them.

If you want to read similar articles to How To Make Citronella Oil At Home, we recommend you visit our Beauty & Personal Care category.

Write a comment
What did you think of this article?
Can I use coconut oil as a substitute to olive oil??
OneHowTo Editor
Yes, it should be fine to use as a replacement!
Maria Oviedo
I want to be able to use it on my skin as a natural mosquito repelent. The thing is I did follow the recipe and once I had already put it in the slow cooker I read that it can irritate the skin.
The recipe is simple but the premixing the leaves with oil should've been the first step to make this oil. Now what should I do ? I turned the slow cooker off and let the leaves soak in the oil for a while? Before boiling them ? Should I use new oil? Or the same ?
After following the above directions, you’ll have a concentrate that can be mixed with a “carrier oil” and then applied to your skin. A carrier oil can be olive, coconut, almond or other oil.
Karina Ann
What is the time in the slow cooker and since my cooker doesn't boil things, which setting is best. I would assume low since we are dealing with leaves. Thanks.
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Karina,

The time in the slow cooker depends on the amount you use, but we would say anything from 4 to 7 hours on the low setting will produce great results. Any less and it won't be infused properly and any more will be a waste.
Ellen Quintana
very helpful. thanks.
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How To Make Citronella Oil At Home