Citronella Oil - People and Pets

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Citronella oil is extracted from fresh or partially dried leaves of citronella grass,  Cymbopogan Nardus and Cymbopogan Winterianus .  Citronella grass is native to India and tropical Asia.   It's a tall perennial green grass with red base stems.  Oil is extracted, by steam distillation, producing Ceylon or Java type oil.  This oil is pale yellow in color with a thin consistency.  It is a strong, sweet, lemon citrus fragrance with some underlying woody tones.  The oil is used widely in commercial and homemade products including:  soaps, shampoos, candles, deodorants, lotions, gels, perfumes, insect sprays, towelette wipes and household disinfectants. 









Repel Insects;  Biting Mosquitoes, Gnats, Fleas and Flies

Helps Relieve Headaches or Migraines

Sanitize Surfaces with Addition of Vinegar

Combat Growth of Bacteria and Disinfect Surfaces

Eliminate Odors in the Air

Combats Excessive Perspiration; under arms or sweaty feet

Combats Oily Skin & Hair

Freshens Rooms

Helps Clear the Mind

Softens Skin

Rids Dogs of Fleas

Citronella oil is used a variety of ways for homemade skin care.   A homemade soap or homemade lotion, made with citronella oil, can be beneficial when working outside, or on a camping trip when surrounded by woody areas.  It repels biting, flying, pesky insects while softening skin.  It's  useful for fighting mosquitoes that can cause malaria.  A homemade deodorant can fight off excessive perspiration.  Feel refreshed again. Use this oil in a homemade shampoo for oily hair.   It balances and conditions oily hair and scalp conditions.


Citronella is found in soaps, sprays and massage oils for pets.  It helps rid dogs of fleas.  Keep your pet clean and free from pesky biting insects.  Just make sure the citronella soap, spray or massage oil does not irritate your pet's skin or cause any reactions.  The application will last a few days to a week.   CAUTION!  Certain dogs are susceptible to seizures when exposed to essential oils.  Small dogs should be watched, more carefully, for any signs of reactions.  CAUTION!  Cats should NEVER be exposed to ANY kind of essential oils, including citronella oil, due to their very thin skins.


Citronella oil may cause skin irritation or contact dermatitis in some individuals, especially those with sensitive skin.  If this oil is used as directed on the product label it is not expected to pose health risks on people or around the house.  Although, avoid this oil if you have heart problems, since it can increase the heartbeat.  Also, avoid using any essential oils when pregnant and do not use on small children.  Essential oils contain bioactive ingredients.  This means they contain natural chemicals that interact with biological systems.  They're potent chemicals and should be used with care.

CAUTION!  Never use large amounts of any essential oils externally, or internally.  Never use them straight.  They must always be diluted in carrier oil, or soap, lotion, or other buffering agent.  Finally, never use them without knowing what their bioactive compounds are known to do.


1 cup goat milk soap base (Melt & Pour)

1/4 cup Neem oil

1/4 cup water (if necessary)

10 drops citronella essential oil

5 drops eucalyptus essential oil

1 tablespoon dried, crushed, pennyroyal leaves

Mix all ingredients by stirring vigorously.  Pour into prepared soap making molds or hand mold into various sized balls.  Depending on how much extra oil you add, it usually takes a couple of hours for soap to set up.  Use after soap hardens.   Congratulations! You've made, melt and pour, citronella goat milk soap! 

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Susan Katchur has 1 articles online

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Citronella Oil - People and Pets

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This article was published on 2012/03/29