Can You Use Citronella Wax Melts Indoors?

What Are Citronella Wax Melts?

Citronella wax melts are a type of scented wax made from citronella oil, an essential oil derived from distilling lemongrass leaves. The main ingredients in citronella wax melts are typically:

  • Citronella oil – This natural insect repellent oil gives citronella melts their distinctive lemony scent.
  • Paraffin or soy wax – This provides the wax base that melts when heated.
  • Additional essential oils – Other oils like lemon, eucalyptus, or geranium are sometimes added for fragrance.

Citronella wax melts are commonly used for repelling mosquitoes and other insects when placed in an oil burner or wax warmer. The heat helps diffuse the citronella scent throughout the room. Citronella melts are a popular natural alternative to insect repellent candles or chemical sprays.

Benefits of Citronella

One of the main benefits of citronella is its natural insect repellent properties. The citronella plant contains citronellal, an oil that has been shown to repel mosquitoes, black flies, and other insects when diffused into the air. Unlike synthetic insect repellents like DEET, citronella is plant-derived and considered a gentler, non-toxic option. When citronella wax melts are used indoors, the aroma can permeate the room and act as a natural deterrent against bugs flying and landing inside.

In addition to repelling insects, citronella also has a pleasant scent for many people. The aroma is fresh, lemony, and grassy. For those who enjoy natural fragrances, citronella can provide a light, uplifting citrus scent when the wax melts are used indoors. The scent is not overpowering and mixes well with other natural oils like lemongrass, eucalyptus, and tea tree. Using citronella wax melts can add a subtle, spa-like aroma to a room.

Potential Concerns with Using Indoors

While citronella wax melts can help repel mosquitoes and other insects, there are some potential concerns with using them indoors that you should keep in mind.

One issue is that the citronella scent can be quite strong and overpowering when used inside. Citronella has a distinct, lemon-like aroma that not everyone enjoys having concentrated inside their home. The intensity of the smell may give some people headaches or feel overwhelming.

There are also possible safety concerns to consider, especially for those with allergies or respiratory conditions like asthma. Inhaling too much of the citronella scent indoors could potentially trigger allergic reactions, asthma flare-ups, or breathing difficulties for sensitive individuals. The aroma molecules may further aggravate these conditions.

Those with perfume allergies or chemical sensitivities may also react negatively to the potent citronella smell circulating indoors. It’s a good idea to test out citronella wax melts briefly first to see how you respond before using them for prolonged periods inside.

Tips for Using Citronella Melts Indoors

If you want to use citronella melts indoors, there are some tips to follow for safety and effectiveness:

  • Use in well-ventilated areas – Make sure to keep windows open or use fans to allow airflow. This helps prevent too much fragrance from building up.
  • Start with 1 melt and increase as needed – Begin with a single citronella melt and see if that provides adequate insect repellent coverage. You can gradually increase the amount if bugs persist.
  • Place away from high traffic areas – Position citronella melts in corners, along walls, or other low foot traffic spots. This prevents the melts from getting knocked over or people from breathing concentrated fumes.

Following these recommendations allows you to leverage the mosquito-repelling properties of citronella indoors while minimizing potential issues. Monitor the smell levels and adjust melt usage accordingly to find the right balance for any room.

Ideal Rooms for Citronella Melts

When used indoors, citronella wax melts work best in larger, more open areas of the home where the scent can permeate widely. Some ideal rooms include:

  • Basement – Basements tend to be large, open areas perfect for allowing the citronella scent to spread. The musty smell often present in basements also pairs well with the fresh, lemony aroma of citronella.
  • Garage – Similar to basements, garages provide an expansive space for citronella fragrance to fill. The strong scent can help mask odors from cars, gasoline, paints, etc. Just be sure to keep melts up high and out of reach of pets or children.
  • Enclosed patio/sunroom – Semi-outdoor spaces like screened-in patios or 3-season sunrooms allow good airflow for the citronella smell while keeping bugs at bay when entertaining or relaxing.
  • Large living room/family room – For indoor rooms, opt for a more open floor plan space like a living room or den versus small confined bedrooms. The citronella scent will spread better throughout larger connected rooms.

Avoid using citronella wax melts in stuffy, poorly ventilated areas or very small enclosed rooms where the strong fragrance could become overpowering.

Alternative Indoor Insect Repellents

While citronella wax melts can be an effective way to repel insects indoors, there are some other options to consider:

Essential Oil Diffusers

Essential oil diffusers allow you to diffuse certain oils like lemongrass, lavender, peppermint and citronella that can act as natural insect repellents. Diffusers gently distribute the oils through the air without the need for a burning flame. They are safe, easy to use, and distribute scent effectively through multiple rooms in a home.

Insect Repelling Plants

Certain houseplants contain natural oils that can deter insects from entering your home. Some top choices are lavender, basil, mint, rosemary, marigolds and chrysanthemums. Planting these around your house can create an unpleasant environment for bugs trying to get inside.

DIY Repellents

You can make your own natural insect repellents at home too. Try mixing essential oils like citronella, peppermint, eucalyptus or lemon grass into a carrier oil like coconut or jojoba oil. You can use these DIY repellent recipes in a spray bottle or rub them directly on your skin.

Outdoor Use of Citronella Melts

Citronella wax melts can be a great option for outdoor spaces like patios, porches, and decks. When used properly outdoors, citronella melts release a pleasant citronella scent that helps repel mosquitoes, flies, and other pests.

Here are some tips for using citronella melts outdoors:

  • Place the melts in an outdoor wax warmer or citronella candle to allow the scent to diffuse.
  • Position the melts near seating areas or high-traffic zones where bugs are a nuisance.
  • Avoid placing near food, as some find the citronella smell strong and don’t want it to mix with their food’s aroma.
  • Replenish melts frequently, as the scent fades faster outdoors. Reapply every 4-6 hours.
  • Consider pairing melts with other insect-deterrent plants like lavender, marigolds, basil, and mint.
  • For safety, keep wax melts in a ceramic or metal warmer and away from flammable materials.

By using citronella wax melts properly on outdoor spaces like patios, you can create a more comfortable area to relax and entertain during warmer months when insects are active.

Citronella Melt Safety Tips

When using citronella wax melts, it’s important to take precautions to ensure safety, especially around children and pets.

Citronella oil can be toxic if ingested, so store melts up and away out of reach of kids and animals. Keep lids tightly sealed and discard used melts promptly.

If wax melt liquid does come in contact with skin, wash area with soap and water. If irritation occurs, apply hydrocortisone cream. For eye exposure, flush eyes thoroughly with cool water for 10-15 minutes.

If a child or pet ingests citronella oil, call your local emergency number or poison control center immediately. Do not induce vomiting unless instructed to do so. Symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, and lack of coordination.

By keeping citronella melts properly stored and being mindful during use, you can safely reap the insect-repelling benefits of these products indoors.

Top Citronella Melt Products

When looking for a top quality citronella melt, there are a few key things to consider. First, make sure the product contains a decent amount of citronella oil, which is the active ingredient that helps repel mosquitoes and other insects. Many citronella melts contain between 5-15% citronella oil. The higher the percentage, the more effective it will likely be.

You’ll also want to check reviews and opt for a product with mostly positive feedback from customers about its ability to repel insects. Look at the melt’s burn time – longer burn times obviously provide more hours of protection. A melt that lasts 4-6 hours is good, while some premium options offer 10+ hours of burn time.

Some top rated citronella melt products include:

  • Cutter Natural Insect Repellent Candles – These provide 10 hours of protection with natural active ingredients like citronella, lemongrass and cedarwood oils. They have a 4.5/5 star rating from over 3,500 reviews.
  • Murphy’s Naturals Mosquito Repellent Citronella Candles – Made with 15% citronella oil, these 6 oz candles offer bug protection for up to 20 hours. Reviews mention their pleasant, not overpowering scent.
  • Repel Insect Repellent Citronella Bucket Candle – This extra-large citronella candle contains 5% citronella oil and provides 120+ hours of burn time. It emits a lemon-lime scent reviewers say isn’t harsh.
  • Thermacell Patio Shield Mosquito Repeller -Uses patio mats soaked with allethrin instead of candles/melts. Provides a 15 ft radius of protection from mosquitoes. No open flames, smoke or mess.

Take some time to read reviews and product details to determine which citronella melt suits your needs and offers the best mosquito and insect repelling power.


Citronella wax melts can be used indoors but require some precautions. While citronella oil is an effective mosquito repellent, it contains chemicals that may cause irritation or allergy symptoms in some people when used indoors. The strong scent may also be overpowering inside a home. If using citronella melts indoors, keep windows open for ventilation, limit use to larger rooms like living rooms or kitchens, don’t use near bedrooms, and extinguish after a few hours. Only use unscented melts in bedrooms. It’s best not to use citronella products continuously or let them burn overnight. Take care with placement near pets and watch for any signs of irritation. Overall, citronella melts can be used cautiously for short periods if airflow is good, but they are likely safer for outdoor use.

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