DIY: Natural Homemade Insect Repellent Recipe

This recipe for homemade insect repellent has been used for generations in our village. It is the same recipe that we use in arathi thattu for weddings. When my son was a baby, everyday I used to put him to sleep in thooli / Indian baby hammock. I followed all the traditions that was practiced for generations in raising a baby. Though at first I didn’t understand the reason for certain traditions, I just followed them, trusting my elders.

Now that I am researching into our home remedies and traditions, I am so glad I followed the instructions of my elders. Now all these customs and traditions are backed by science and I am able to understand the reason for these traditions much better now. One such custom is placing a bowl filled with navadhanya grains, slaked lime and turmeric paste under the Indian baby hammock/ thooli.

I never under stood the meaning for this ritual, but since I am a firm believer of our traditions, I used to religiously keep the bowl under his bed. Now it has been proven that this mixture is one of the best homemade insect repellent recipes and it helps to protect the child from insect bites. Navadhanya grains is used mainly for navagraha pooja and it contains nine cereals combined together.

The navagraha pooja is a prayer offered to the nine planets and the navadhanya grains are said to be effective in purifying the energy field of the place. We get navadhanya grains already mixed together in markets. To make this homemade insect repellant, first get fresh turmeric paste by rubbing a turmeric over a coarse stone.

Mix together navadhanya grains, turmeric paste and water in a bowl. Now to the turmeric and navadhanya mixture, add slaked lime till the mixture turns red. Place this homemade insect repellent mixture under the thooli/ Indian baby hammock. You can also use this recipe for making arthi during ceremonies.

Natural Homemade Insect Repellent Recipe

1. Rub a piece of turmeric on a coarse stone to get turmeric paste.

2. These are the navadhanya grains.

3. Mix the navadhanya grains, water and turmeric paste to make a very runny mixture.

4. Add the slaked lime to the mixture till it turns red.


  • You can use good quality turmeric powder, instead of turmeric paste for this homemade insect repellent.
  • If you have bought a large pack of navadhanya, dry it well in sunlight for a day then store it.
  • We change this mixture every day, but you can use it for 2 to 3 days too.



  1. Anonymous
    September 21, 2014 / 12:05 pm

    Anything on ant repellant

  2. Ramya Venkateshwaran
    September 21, 2014 / 3:17 pm

    Mix edible camphor with water and sprinkle over the area, usually it does the trick…..

  3. Priya Ramanathan
    February 21, 2015 / 7:00 pm

    hi anything for mosquitoes? 🙂 thnx learnt a lot from ur blog:)

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      February 22, 2015 / 3:10 pm

      Priya, There is a recipe for mosquito repellent in the blog that is neem based. I will be posting a few more very soon….:)

  4. Anonymous
    April 3, 2015 / 9:25 am

    while googling for karpooravalli,i got to your blog.A very nice one.Keep posting.

  5. Jyothi A
    April 27, 2015 / 9:45 am

    Amazing blog Ramya… Cud u tell me wat is slaked lime n wer to get it

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      April 27, 2015 / 3:52 pm

      Thanks a lot Jyothi. Slaked lime is the regular chuna or sunnambu that we use along with betel leaf……

  6. Unknown
    September 28, 2015 / 4:30 pm

    Hi Ramya,This is my second comment on your blog…Thanks again for such a wonderful blog….I do not know whether my question is appropriate to this blog…On reading the above article on insect repellent, you have mentioned that you had practised all the traditional ways in raising up your little son..I am a new mom and my son is four months old….Can you share the traditional ways (such as keeping navadhaniyams) in bringing up the child…..Even if not s elaborate, can you give atleast few points on this ? Am very keenly looking foward for your reply…My email id is a heap once again…

  7. Anonymous
    October 18, 2015 / 7:51 pm

    Thanks for your wonderful insect repellent. I was wondering if you have something for bed bugs. .I'm ashamed to ask you. . but I'm badly in need of one. Thanks once again.. Deep regards. .

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      October 21, 2015 / 5:40 pm

      I am very sorry, I don't know any repellent for bed bugs…

  8. kavya N.K
    December 28, 2015 / 3:43 am

    Ramya,luv ur there any remedy for fruit flies or will this method ward these flies off??

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      January 15, 2016 / 4:57 am

      Dear kavya, I am so very sorry for the late reply and I am very glad you find the blog useful :). For fruit flies, you can try a diffuser with essential oils like camphor or eucalyptus or citronella essential oil..

  9. Anonymous
    January 11, 2016 / 7:14 am

    Will this method effective for getting rid of cockroach …pl..i badly in need of cockroach repellent..

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      February 2, 2016 / 3:22 pm

      No this method will not get rid of cockroach, I will post remedies for it very soon..

  10. Romilda Gareth
    December 7, 2016 / 10:10 am


  11. hm
    January 29, 2017 / 7:22 am


  12. Meena
    February 9, 2017 / 4:30 pm

    Hi Ramya, This is a wonderful blog.I love our age old traditions. You have done your bit to keep it for ages. Thankyou. I would like to ask you if you have posted the method for cockroach repellent.

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      February 11, 2017 / 3:21 pm

      Dear Meena, I am so very glad you find the blog useful. I haven't posted about cockroach repellent still, planning to make a video about it very soon…:)

  13. Romilda Gareth
    June 2, 2017 / 8:41 am

    nice blog

  14. Enndery Ashwin
    October 11, 2017 / 7:48 am


  15. Anita Sabs
    March 19, 2020 / 10:18 am

    Dear Ramya
    What is navadhaya

  16. Rawraj
    December 19, 2021 / 10:58 pm

    It needs multiple remedies. First is boric acid powder. This will reduce their population slowldriving them extinct. But you will have to apply to entire house for a month and then continue only under bed. Camphor powder also helps.
    If you have wooden bed and lots of nooks and cranies then either polish the wood and seal it or soak it in any wood oil even kerosene works. Just see you don’t bring a flame near it.

    The eggs can remain dormant for a while so continue treatment and do kerosene cleaning once in 15 days.
    Also try to repaint the house if it’s old and has cracks.
    Bed bugs travel through humans. So if you have bed bugs and say your relatives neighbors visit and sit on your bed then their house will get infested. You do some treatment and your house is bug free but if they visit your house they will get the bed bugs back or if you visit their house too.
    So one has to be careful and talk with people who visit your house and sit on the bed. See if they have too then both should do the treatment together to eliminate it forever.
    When you visit unknown houses try not to sit on beds and sofas and if you do then see you remove your clothes and wash immediately. Don’t sit on your sofa or bed .

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