Do Citronella Candles Work? Check it Out

Citronella candles are a popular alternative to traditional candles, particularly in the summer months, to ward off annoying and pesky insects that could ruin your time. But do citronella candles work?

What’s the best way to use a citronella candle if it does work? And, if you’re going to be around them this summer – should you go unprotected?

If you’ve ever wondered whether these candles can help keep mosquitoes away, let’s look at some facts to determine if using a citronella candle is the right way to keep your space pests-free while enjoying those leisure hours, outdoor barbecues, or patio parties.

What is Citronella Candle?

A citronella candle is a type of candle that is used to repel insects, mainly mosquitoes and flies. They are often called Mosquito candles or Bug-B-Gone candles. They are typically made from Citronella oil, commonly known as lemongrass oil.

This oil is derived from the plant called lemongrass or Cymbopogon nardus. This essential oil is extracted from dried leaves of lemongrass by steam distillation method. The insect repelling properties of citronella oil come from the oil’s active ingredient, which is citronellal and geraniol.

This made citronella candles an all-natural insect repellent, which has made them a hugely popular choice amongst homeowners, garden enthusiasts, and artisans. They have been used for centuries in many countries to keep unwanted pests away.

The citronella oil used in the candles has high levels of lemon and geranium, the natural and active ingredients used to kill mosquitoes and other insects.

This substance is a natural insect repellent that is most effective when vaporized by candle or torch heat, thus making it unpleasant for insects to be around you.

do citronella candle works


Do Citronella Candles Work?

Citronella candles are sold in the summer to repel mosquitoes. But do they work?

The short answer is yes; citronella candles do work. Citronella oil has been found to kill adult flies, mosquitoes, and moths. However, these candles are not effective for all bugs. While they may help repel some biting insects, they will not keep your patio clear of ants or spiders.

The aroma of citronella makes it so effective at keeping away certain insects. The scent is strong enough that many insects will not venture near it. However, the smell does not travel far in the air, so you must be near the candle to benefit from it.

One study found that citronella candles with a petroleum base had an effective range of about 2 meters (about 6 feet). This means that you must be within this distance of the candle to feel its effects. Other forms of citronella, such as DEET, have proven more effective in repelling insects for longer hours.

A report from the EPA states that citronella candles are 95 percent effective in repelling mosquitoes. Bees and other stinging insects don’t like it either, making them great for outdoor barbecues and other events.

Of course, some still find themselves bitten after lighting a citronella candle. The best way to know if they work for you is to try them out yourself. It can’t hurt to be prepared after all. If you are just getting to know about citronella candles, check around online for good deals. For example, Amazon offers various citronella taper candles at an affordable price.


Do Citronella Candles Work for Flies

Families have long used citronella candles to keep pesky insects away. However, can they repel flies? Here we query where the name “mosquito candle” came from and look at their effect on different flies.

While citronella candles are primarily considered to be a viable way to ward off flies, it is essential first to understand what these candles do. This is achievable by examining the scientific properties of green-based candles and their action methods.

Humans and animals have a fantastic sense of smell, allowing them to find food, track predators, or identify potential mates. Oil of citronella repels target pests rather than killing them.

It works by masking scents that are attractive to insects. Thus, insects find it difficult to locate their target to feed. Oil of citronella may also work by masking odors attractive to animals.

A relatively small amount of molecules in the air can effectively bind with receptors in our noses and brains that interpret smells for us. However, some molecules are large enough to block these receptors completely.

It turns out that certain chemical compounds such as citronellal, LTN, geraniol, and citral cannot bind effectively with olfactory receptors even when they are present in high concentrations.

While there is no scientific evidence to support this particular fact regarding how green-smelling candles work, its simple logic leads one to believe that they must impact insects in some way or another rather than just masking their presence through overpowering floral scents.

What smell will keep flies away

What smell will keep flies away? Not one; there are many smells that repel house flies at home. They can be annoying when too many of them are in an area.

Some of the smells fly hate which is non-toxic and safe to human and pets, include but is not limited to;

  • Mint, lavender, and marigold essentials or plants
  • Basil oils, or plant
  • Cloves oils, or plant
  • Lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, and lemongrass essential oils
  • Cinnamon oils
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Pine Oils

Having some of these plants in your home, outdoor space, or indoor area will keep flies away from them. Their oils can be used when spending time away from home, such as when going to outdoor games.

Furthermore, MedicineNet explains various home remedies to get rid of flies, and this is what every homeowner should have to keep their environment safe from these pesky insects.

Also, we explain the various ways and methods to keep bugs and flies away from your outdoor space. With this, you will have a peaceful space to lounge.

citronella candle

Do Citronella Candles Work For Gnats

Without wasting your time, the answer is YES. Gnat is a species of flies; definitely, citronella will also keep gnats away from your space.

So when next you need an affordable and natural way to repel mosquitoes, gnats, and other flying pests from your patio, deck, or backyard area, then citronella candles are a perfect choice.

However, don’t forget to sit close to the candle because the farther away from it, the less effective it becomes, especially when using it outdoor.

Do Citronella Candles Work Indoors

Yes, citronella candles work indoors and are more effective in these areas. This is because there is little to no escape of air indoors which makes the smell of citronella fill the room.

When using citronella indoors, you don’t have to sit close to it, unlike using it outdoor. The scent of the citronella may not seem strong to us, but it is incredibly effective at repelling mosquitos so much that they will not come near you.

Are citronella candles safe for dogs?

We all love our pets, especially dogs, as they have proven to be loyal and friendly; for these reasons and more, we want to keep them safe and away from dangers.

But what about the citronella candle on your patio? Can Fido touch it? Can he get any of that citronella on his paws? Is it poisonous to canines? The short answer is NO. Citronella is not toxic to dogs when used in a candle.

The long answer is maybe. While citronella is not toxic, it is possible that melted wax could cause some irritation if your pup licks or chews on those areas. If that happens, try washing the wax off with soap and water and see if Fido shows signs of irritation like redness, swelling, or discomfort.

Call your vet right away; it’s better to be safe than sorry if he does. However, If he doesn’t show any symptoms of irritation, you’re probably good to go. Just make sure that Fido doesn’t have access to the candle when it’s lit or after it has burnt out; like other candles, fire is dangerous around dogs.

Are citronella candles the best way to keep bugs away?

Citronella candles are used by many people to combat pesky insects, but they’re not as effective as non-burning alternatives.

You can buy citronella candles at many retailers, including Amazon, Target, or Walmart. Even citronella bug spray products are designed for pesky insects like mosquitoes and ticks. If you are not satisfied with these candles, explained here in detail are some other ways to keep your home and outdoor safe from pesky insects.

However, if you are looking for some quick solution to make your space free of these pesky insects, below are some natural repellant sprays or creams you can use.

Murphy’s Naturals Lemon Eucalyptus Oil Insect Repellent Spray

As recommended by, lemon eucalyptus oil is one of the best bets for repelling bloodsuckers. Murphy’s repellent spray comes with 30% lemon Eucalyptus and 70% distilled water.

do citronella candles work

This spray can be used on the skin and cloth to provide up to 6 hours of mosquito protection and 4 hours of protection against ticks and other bugs. With this, you can enjoy your time outdoor any time of the day, sleeping, reading, partying, or barbecuing.

All Terrain Herbal Armor

The Terrain is another trusted repellent spray with over a thousand positive reviews to certify its credibility of this spray. This spray is made of 6 various organic oils to ensure it is safe for use. It is DEET-free and GMO-free and also suitable for sensitive skin. 

insect and bug repellent spray With this, you are about to enjoy your outdoor games and time without worrying about pesky insects. This spray is available in different sizes and will protect you from bugs and insects for more than 10 hours.

SALLYEANDER No-Bite-Me Natural Bug Repellent

Repellent cremes are another alternative to ward off pesky insects while passing time outdoors. Sallyeander is a wonderful cream for this purpose. Unlike bug spray, this cream is multi-purpose cream as it helps repel bugs and treat bugs bit as well.

do citronella candle work

After a bug bite, you can apply this cream to prevent itching. This cream comprises 16 essential oils to create a strong mint and herbaceous scent that help keep bugs at bay for up to 4 hours. “No-Bite-Me” is entirely safe, and Deet free to protect even the smallest adventurers.


What I found by researching this topic was that citronella candles do indeed work. The antifungal and antibacterial properties of the oil are evident when you read the various testimonials around the internet. That is a piece of evidence that people use these candles to keep insects, primarily mosquitoes, at bay.

And whether you use them inside or outside, they seem to work amazingly well. However, it is necessary to stay close to the candle to benefit from it when using it outdoor. Also, having a bug zapper to eliminate the ward off flies is a perfect idea.