Citronella oil is a popular essential oil derived from the leaves and stems of the Cymbopogon nardus or Cymbopogon winterianus plants. It is well-known for its distinct citrus-like aroma and its various uses in aromatherapy, skincare, and insect repellents. In this blog, we will explore the benefits of citronella oil, learn how to use it effectively and discuss potential side effects and safety precautions.

Benefits of Citronella Oil

  1. Natural Insect Repellent: Citronella oil is renowned for its insect-repellent properties. It acts as a natural deterrent for mosquitoes, flies, and other biting insects. Using citronella oil in candles, diffusers, or topical applications can help protect against insect bites.
  2. Aromatherapy and Relaxation: The uplifting scent of citronella oil can promote relaxation and alleviate stress. Its aroma has been shown to have a calming effect on the mind and can be used in diffusers or added to bathwater for a soothing experience.
  3. Antifungal and Antimicrobial Properties: Citronella oil has potent antifungal and antimicrobial properties, which make it beneficial for addressing fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot, and preventing the growth of harmful bacteria.
  4. Skin Care and Deodorant: Citronella oil is often used in skincare products for its astringent properties, which can help control excessive oiliness and reduce the appearance of pores. It is also commonly found in natural deodorants due to its ability to neutralize odors.
  5. Mood Enhancer: The refreshing and invigorating aroma of citronella oil can uplift mood and improve mental clarity. It is commonly used in aromatherapy to promote a positive atmosphere and combat feelings of fatigue or low energy.

How to Use Citronella Oil:

  1. Topical Application: Dilute citronella oil with a carrier oil, such as coconut or jojoba oil, before applying it to the skin. This helps prevent skin irritation. Use it sparingly on pulse points or exposed areas of the body to repel insects or enjoy its aroma.
  2. Aromatherapy: Add a few drops of citronella oil to a diffuser or vaporizer to fill the air with its refreshing scent. This can help create a relaxing and insect-free environment.
  3. Skincare: Incorporate citronella oil into your skincare routine by adding a few drops to your facial cleanser, toner, or moisturizer. It can help balance oily skin and reduce the appearance of blemishes.
  4. Insect Repellent: Create a natural insect repellent spray by combining citronella oil with water or carrier oil. Apply it to exposed skin or clothing to repel mosquitoes and other biting insects.

Safety Precautions and Side Effects:

  1. Skin Sensitivity: Citronella oil may cause skin irritation or sensitization in some individuals. Always perform a patch test before using it topically and dilute it with carrier oil to minimize the risk of skin reactions.
  2. Phototoxicity: Citronella oil has the potential to cause photosensitivity when applied topically. Avoid direct sunlight or UV exposure after applying undiluted citronella oil to the skin to reduce the risk of skin reactions.
  3. Allergic Reactions: Some people may be allergic to citronella oil. If you experience any allergic reactions, such as itching, redness, or swelling, discontinue use immediately and consult a healthcare professional.
  4. Internal Use: Citronella oil is not intended for internal consumption. It is for external use only. Do not ingest or use it in cooking without proper guidance from a qualified aromatherapist or healthcare practitioner.
  5. Pregnancy and Children: Exercise caution when using citronella oil during pregnancy or on infants and young children. Consult with a healthcare professional before using it in these situations.


Citronella oil offers a range of benefits, from its insect-repellent properties to its potential in skincare and aromatherapy. However, it is crucial to use citronella oil safely and be aware of potential side effects. Dilution with a carrier oil, performing patch tests, and following usage guidelines are essential. As with any essential oil, it is recommended to consult with a qualified aromatherapist or healthcare professional for personalized advice and guidance. By understanding the benefits, usage, and precautions associated with citronella oil, you can incorporate it effectively into your daily routine and enjoy its diverse range of applications while ensuring your safety and well-being.