19 Wonderful Uses of Citronella Essential Oil

Citronella essential oil has long been used to repel mosquitos and other pesky insects (buy it here). We buy it in candle form and by the gallon to put in our tiki torches to protect ourselves when we are out enjoying the summer evening weather. There are so many other uses for it, though. It is a remedy for athlete’s foot, bacterial infections, muscle spasms and underarm odor.

All of these wonderful uses and more are due to its proven beneficial properties. Citronella contains antiseptic, antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, diuretic and antispasmodic properties. Go ahead and keep buying it for your tiki torches, but get some to keep in your medicine cabinet, too.

1. Treat or Prevent Bacterial Infections

Put citronella essential oil on wounds and cuts to prevent or treat bacterial infections. Its antimicrobial, antiseptic and antibacterial properties are great for this. It will also help relieve pain and inflammation. Mix the citronella oil with a carrier oil first. You only need 1 to 3 drops per teaspoon of carrier oil for it to be effective. Any carrier oil can be used. Coconut oil is great for this as it has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, too.

2. Alleviate Urinary Tract Infections

Massage citronella oil blended with a carrier oil into your lower back and abdominal area to treat bacterial infections in the urinary tract. A 1% to 3% blend (1 to 3 drops of citronella to 1 teaspoon of carrier oil) should work just fine. You can use a stronger dilution rate, but work up to it gradually. Rub the oil in over your bladder and up over your lower abdominal area then from about the kidneys or waist down on your back. The wonderful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties will quickly be absorbed into your system, giving you fast relief. Be sure to keep using it a couple times a day for 10 days to 2 weeks. Bacterial infections can be stubborn. Drink plenty of water, too, so your system has what it needs to flush out the infection.

*Stronger dilution rates should only be used for 10 days to 2 weeks at a time. The 1% to 3% dilution rate (1 to 3 drops per teaspoon) is fine for everyday use.*

3. Get Rid of Digestive Tract Infections

Use citronella EO to treat digestive tract infections. Massage the 1% to 3% blend into your entire abdomen, starting at the top and working your way down, then apply it to your lower back. You can take very high quality citronella oil orally to treat digestive and urinary tract infections, too. However, make certain it is only the highest quality, pure citronella essential oil and take only 1 to 2 drops per day.

4. Treat Bronchitis

Practice citronella oil aromatherapy to get relief from bronchitis and other upper respiratory infections. Just add 2 to 3 drops to your diffuser along with 1/2 to 1 cup of distilled water and run it for 30 to 60 minutes at a time. You can do this as often as four to six times a day, if necessary. Citronella’s anti-inflammatory properties will reduce inflammation in the airways. Its expectorant and antibacterial properties will help clear chest congestion and kill the infection. Don’t leave the diffuser on 24 hours a day, though. That’s too much of a good thing. You can also massage the 1% to 3% blend into your chest, back and ribs to get relief. It will soothe sore chest and back muscles, too.

5. Soothe Muscle Cramps and Spasms

Rub citronella essential oil into muscles when you get a cramp or spasm. It will quickly quiet the cramp and soothe away pain and inflammation. The 1% to 3% blend should work fine.

6. Reduce Swelling

Apply the 1% to 3% citronella blend to any swelling to reduce the inflammation and bring down the swelling. It will also provide pain relief to tender skin and muscle tissue.

7. Relieve Arthritis Pain and Inflammation

Massage the 1% to 3% citronella oil blend into painful joints to get relief from the pain and inflammation of arthritis. Coconut oil is a great carrier oil for this but jojoba, sweet almond and argan oil can also be used. If you need to make it a bit stronger, you can do that. Just build up to it gradually and only use the stronger blend for up to 2 weeks at a time.

8. Alleviate Pain

Gently rub citronella oil into areas where you are experiencing pain for quick relief. This is great for the back of your neck or your back, in general and any other painful areas. The 1% to 3% blend should work. If you have a headache, massage the oil into your temples and forehead. This is also great for sore, tired feet at the end of a long day. Add a few drops of citronella to a warm bath for all-over pain relief.

*Do not get essential oil in your nose, where it will come in contact with sensitive mucous membranes, or in your eyes.*

9. Reduce Inflammation

Massage citronella oil into any inflamed area to quickly reduce inflammation. This could be inflammation from a bump or bruise, inflammation in your shoulder from carrying something heavy or inflammation in your lower back from standing on your feet all day. Use the 1% to 3% blend up to several times a day, if necessary.

10. Improve Circulation

Practice citronella aromatherapy or apply the 1% to 3% blend to improve circulation. Adding 2 to 3 drops to your diffuser and running it for 30 to 60 minutes will improve your circulation in general. If you have a particular area that needs a boost, like your legs or arms, apply the oil in that area and on your chest to get your circulation going at the source.

11. Fight Free Radical Damage

Use citronella essential oil to prevent cellular damage from free radicals. Its very high levels of antioxidants like geraniol are extremely efficient at isolating and removing free radicals. Citronella aromatherapy is excellent for this. Put a few drops of the oil in your diffuser and run it for 30 to 60 minutes each day to enjoy this wonderful benefit.

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12. Cleanse the Liver

Massage the citronella 1% to 3% blend into your abdominal area to cleanse the liver. Start at the upper right, just above the liver, and slowly work your way down to get the whole digestive tract moving more efficiently. You can also take citronella orally for this. It kills parasites, helps remove toxins from the liver and facilitates elimination of uric acid, sodium, fats and toxins. Try adding 1 to 2 drops of citronella, 1 teaspoon of raw honey and the juice of 1 to 2 lemon slices to 1 cup of hot water. Drink it like a cup of hot tea. The citronella will likely cause you to sweat and urinate more frequently due to its wonderful diuretic properties.

**Apply a small amount of a 3% citronella oil/carrier oil blend to an inconspicuous area and wait for at least a few hours to see if you get a reaction before you begin using it all over.**

13. Treat Anxiety

Practice citronella essential oil aromatherapy to reduce anxiety. Add 2 to 3 drops to your diffuser and run it for 30 to 60 minutes for relief. If you suffer from anxiety attacks while away from home and your diffuser, keep the bottle of citronella with you in your pocket or handbag. When you feel your anxiety increasing, take a few deep breathes directly from the bottle. Breathe it in deeply through your nose, into your sinuses and into your lungs then exhale through your mouth. You will quickly feel your anxiety fading away.

14. Relieve Stress

Practice citronella aromatherapy to reduce stress. Keep a diffuser and citronella oil in your office for stress-relieving aromatherapy throughout the day. It will also help you calm down and reduce stress at the end of a long, hard day. A citronella bath is great for this, too.

15. Treat Depression

Use citronella essential oil to alleviate depression and fatigue. It is a natural antidepressant. You can do citronella aromatherapy to lift your spirits or massage the 1% to 3% blend into your chest and upper abdomen.

16. Get Rid of Excess Water Weight

Practice citronella EO aromatherapy to alleviate edema or excess water weight. You can also massage the 1% to 3% blend into areas where you tend to carry fluids, like the ankles, legs or abdomen. Citronella oil is a natural diuretic that works by increasing circulation, sweating and urination. The citronella, honey and lemon tea can be used to alleviate this problem, too.

17. Improve Skin Health

Add a few drops of citronella essential oil to your favorite lotion to improve your skin health. It is a great natural treatment for everything from eczema to boils, acne and even warts. You can use a cotton swab to dab straight citronella oil on pimples and warts a few times a day. To slow the signs of aging, put a few drops in a teaspoon of jojoba oil and use it as a face moisturizer. You can also add it to your favorite face wash. Treat athlete’s foot and other fungal infections with the citronella/carrier oil blend. Apply it several times a day. You can use a stronger dilution rate, if necessary. You can even use citronella oil as a deodorant. Simply apply the 1% to 3% blend to your underarms when you get out of the shower.

18. Repel Insects

Combine 2 to 3 drops of citronella EO per teaspoon of coconut oil and rub it on exposed skin to repel insects. You can also add a few drops to some water in a spray bottle and spray it on. If you prefer a roll-on, mix a few drops of citronella into a lighter carrier oil like argan and put it in a roll-on bottle for application. You should reapply every 30 to 60 minutes for best results.

19. Clean Your Home

Add 5 to 10 drops of citronella oil to 1/2 to 1 cup of water, put it in a spray bottle and use it to clean and deodorize your home. It is especially effective in the kitchen and bathroom but you can use it on any hard surface. It kills germs and fungal spores, leaving behind a fresh fragrance.

Was this list helpful to you? I was really impressed by all of the wonderful uses of citronella essential oil. It is made from a type of grass, either Ceylon (Cymbopogon nardus) or Java (C. winterianus). They have similar medicinal components; however, Java is preferred as it contains higher levels of geraniol and citronellal. Citronella oil has a lemony fragrance similar to lemongrass essential oil, which is made from Cymbopogon citratus. Most people love the scent, but it can be a bit overwhelming.

Please leave a comment to let me know if this list helped and share your own experiences with citronella essential oil. We can all learn from each other’s experiences and keep adding to the on-going list of its great uses. Be sure to share, too, so that others can become aware of all the uses for this essential oil.


1 Dr. Axe: Citronella Oil: Repel Insects, Pain & Stresshttps://draxe.com/citronella-oil/

​2 Organic Facts: 15 Incredible Benefits of Citronella Essential Oilhttps://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/health-benefits-of-citronella-essential-oil.html