Type to search

Bedroom Home Living Room

Can Citronella Candles Be Used Indoors: Read This Before Using Citronella Candles 


Can Citronella Candles Be Used Indoors

The citronella candle is popular as a natural mosquito repellant. And there are claims it is effective for other flying insects. 

Citronella candles are a breeze to use. Just light the candle and let it burn slowly. And as it burns, the scent will make the environment unpleasant for the mosquitoes and other insects that may want to feed on you. 

Citronella candles are also commonly used outdoors. But many are considering the possibility of using them indoors. Now, this leads us to the question. 

Can citronella candles be used indoors?

No, please don’t. Avoid using citronella candles inside your house. Instead, use other mosquito or insect repellants considered safe for indoor use. 

Citronella candles are not ideal indoors for numerous reasons. Firstly, their oily scent can easily work its way into your furniture’s fabric. And when this happens, it would take some time to rid your house of the citronella scent.

Secondly, citronella candles can get very smoky when burning, making them highly uncomfortable and unsafe for most persons. So, unlike ordinary candles, citronella can irritate one’s skin and eyes. It can also cause most people to suffer an allergic reaction following constant exposure. 

Burning citronella candles indoors would reduce the air quality in your house. Keep reading as we shed more information on citronella candles. 

What Are Citronella Candles

Citronella candles are regular candles composed of an extra ingredient. And that ingredient is citronella, an essential oil. 

This essential oil is usually extracted from the popular fragrant Asian grass, a member of the Cymbopogon genus. And citronella candles boast a generous amount of the ingredient citronella. 

Now, before you ditch your bug spray for some citronella candles, keep reading. You might find more reasons to place more value on your bug spray. 

Are Citronella Candles Effective Mosquito Repellants?

It is common to find plenty of citronella candles burning in backyards during summer nights. Most people strongly believe it repels mosquitoes and that they are effective too.

In reality, citronella oil does repel mosquitoes to some extent. The candles are the ones not effective in this regard. Why? The amount of citronella produced by the candles is not enough to keep mosquitoes at bay. It is almost similar to burning regular candles. 

Here is a 2017 study in the Journal for Insect Science that shows citronella candle doesn’t scare off mosquitoes as claimed.

Furthermore, keep in mind that some natural insect repellant sprays that boast citronella do keep bugs like mosquitoes at bay. But they’re not as effective and as long-lasting as DEET. 

The truth is that the scent produced by the citronella candle isn’t potent enough to mask your yummy smell, which attracts the mosquitoes, but DEET can. 

So, are the citronella candles effective mosquito repellants? No, they’re not. The scent they produce might be appealing, but they don’t wade off mosquitoes as expected. You’ll eventually get bitten if you rely on these candles to keep mosquitoes at bay. 

Are Citronella Candles Toxic To Pets?

The citronella oils and candles are touted as a potent mosquito or bug repellants. However, as earlier explained, the candles are ineffective in repelling mosquitoes. 

The scent citronella candles produce when you light them might be pleasant to the nostrils. But while they may not be highly harmful to humans, your pets could be at risk. In other words, citronella can be toxic to your pests. So, mind how you store citronella plants or oils in the home. 

Keep them away from your pets. And if you have citronella plants in your garden, ensure your pets do not have access to them. Protect your pets by keeping them away from any citronella plant.  

So, how poisonous is citronella to pets?

Firstly, remember that citronella belongs to the scented geranium family. Thus, it has linalool and geraniol, considered highly poisonous to dogs. They can cause your canine friend to experience gastrointestinal distress, such as vomiting.

Ingesting a large amount of citronella can also adversely affect cats and dogs. These include loss of muscle coordination, hypothermia, muscle weakness, and even depression. 

The ASPCA (American Society for Prevention for Cruelty to Animals) has reported that citronella candles are harmful to dogs. The smell attracts dogs, and when ingested, dogs can develop breathing problems too. 

So, if you adore your pets, stop using citronella candles around the house. Pets can inhale the scent and become sick, forcing you to make avoidable visits to the vet.

A Handy Tip: Cats are reportedly more susceptible to citronella toxicity than dogs. 

Nevertheless, if you notice that your dog or cat has consumed the citronella plant, get in contact with your veterinarian as quickly as possible. 

Can Citronella Candles Keep Flies At Bay?

Having too many flies around the house can be very discomforting. These flies make it difficult to eat outside the home. 

Interestingly, flies don’t like the citronella smell. So, if you light up a few citronella candles around your house, you should be able to keep flies at bay. 

The only issue with using these candles is that one candle can only cover a small area. Thus, you would need plenty of citronella candles to keep flies away from a large area and even for a long time. 

So, before you consider using a citronella candle to scare flies away, consider the cost. You’ll require multiple candles, and that will mean spending more money.

Can Citronella Candles Repel Spiders?

Yes, it can. Citronella candles are a wise choice if you wish to repel spiders naturally. Once they start burning, rest assured spiders will take to their heels. 

Spiders hate the scent of citronella and will run away the moment the candles start burning. You can also add some drops of citronella essential oils to your regular candles or work some into your air filters. You’ll find spiders avoiding these areas. 

Can citronella candles kill spiders? Unfortunately, there’s not been any report indicating that smoke produced by burning citronella candles can kill a spider. The scent from the burning candles will only scare spiders away. 

Where Should You Place Your Citronella Candles Outdoor?

You have to consider several things when deciding where to place your citronella candles. The first is to mount the candles somewhere you can get the best protection. 

So, where can you place your candles for the best protection? Put one or more candles in the center and let them spread out. By the way, the scent scares the bugs away, not the flame. 

Additionally, you can form a protective perimeter with the citronella candles, especially when protecting a larger area. But that would mean using multiple candles.

You’ll find bugs running away when the candles start burning, though mosquitoes may not be one of such bugs. The smell from the citronella candles cannot mask your yummy smell enough to make you invisible to mosquitoes. 

Again, you have to consider rain and wind when looking for where to place your candles. Place it where it is not so windy. Otherwise, your candle might burn off faster. 


Can citronella candles be used indoors? The answer to this question is no. You cannot use these candles indoors, as they would reduce the air quality in your house

Furthermore, citronella candles are not that effective in keeping mosquitoes at bay. So, it would be a waste of time burning them indoors with the hope of scaring mosquitoes away. Instead, use a professional mosquito control company to get rid of mosquitoes.

The citronella essential oil is even more effective than the candles in repelling mosquitoes, though not very effective. DEET can do a better job. 

However, citronella candles can repel spiders and flies. But keep in mind that the citronella plant is toxic to pets, such as dogs and cats. Inhaling the scent produced by burning candles can also be an issue for your pets. 

Jacob Lindsey

Jacob is a home remodeling guru having worked over 15 years in construction in Reno, NV, mainly focused on home renovations. He likes taking ideas from his clients and making them a reality.

  • 1

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *