How Many Citronella Candles Do You Need?

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Citronella oil is one of the most effective and popular ways to handle mosquitos, bees, and other bugs while camping. You can choose from sprays, lotions, candles, and more. Since candles don’t require putting anything on the skin, many people lean on them for long-lasting protection from bug bites and buzzing.

In general, you need between two to five citronella candles.

The effectiveness of citronella candles can be affected by factors such as wind, temperature, the size of the area you’re trying to protect, the concentration of citronellal in the candle.

While citronella candles can be effective at repelling some types of bugs, their effectiveness is widely discussed.

In this article, we’ll talk about the debate and disagreement about how effective they are, their theorical range, and how you should use them.

What is the Range of a Citronella Candles?

Citronella candles generally work up to a four-foot circle around themselves as long as there is no wind to disperse the scent.

As their effectiveness can vary depending on a large number of factors, don’t be afraid to light more candles than you originally planed.

Place a candle on nearby tables, benches, or portable stools you brought for the trip. Make sure the surface is stable to prevent the candle from tipping over.

So, how can you get the most out of your citronella candles?

  • Put more than just one. Repel Citronella Candle are worth looking into because they have an impressive 30-hour burning time and are cheap. Furthermore, they’re made without any harmful chemicals or dyes.
  • Combine your citronella candle with sprays or lotions that contain DEET, citronella, lavender, and other natural ingredients. While citronella candles can be effective (most of the time they’re not), they’re limited to a short-range. Bob Vila shows you have to stand within four feet of a citronella candle to be protected from bugs.
  • Place the candles well above the ground. Unless you’re near stagnant water, you’ll soon discover that most of the insects are flying a couple of feet in the air. It’s best to keep the candles where they’ll spend most of their time to prevent them from biting, buzzing, or looking for food.
  • Keep the candles closed when you’re not using them. The oils can drain or dry, making them useless. Closing the lid will keep your citronella candles in good condition, especially if they’re filled with other natural oils that can break down. The same goes for lotion, spray, and other forms of citronella.

As you can see, there are a few things to remember when using citronella products to repel mosquitoes and other bugs. As long as you follow the tips mentioned above, you’ll be in the clear. If you’re unsure where you should place the candles, read on.

Repel Insect Repellent Citronella Candle, Triple Wick, 20-Ounce

Repels mosquitoes and other flying insects in outdoor areas.

A 20-ounce candle provides up to 40 hours of protection.

If you make a purchase, you support by allowing us to earn an affiliate commission (no added cost for you).
Related Articles:
How to Get Rid of Gnats While Camping
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Should You Use a Citronella Candle in a Tent?

Where Should Citronella Candles Be Placed?

Citronella candles should be placed on a flat surface that’s elevated a few feet above the ground. You can place these candles near stagnant pools of water, garbage cans, food containers, and other locations where insects hang around. Most campers put at least one citronella candle on the campsite’s table if possible.

Keep these rules in mind when placing the candles:

  • Never put a citronella candle directly on the ground. This is one of the primary mistakes people make. It’s less effective and drastically increases the chances of burning nearby debris. According to Mind Body Green, citronella candles can reduce mosquitoes and other bugs from coming to your campsite by an astounding 35%.
  • Ensure the candle is on a stable surface. Rocking chairs or old, unstable tables might not be the best place for a citronella candle. Not only is it a fire risk, but it’ll likely blow out the candle. You can bring a portable table or chair if you’re worried about the campground not having adequate candle surfaces.
  • Keep the candles away from your tents, but don’t shy away from putting them near food, trash, and other locations that could attract bugs. The last thing you want is to have citronella oil and sparks pouring on your tent or sleeping bag. Blow out the candles before going to bed. You can keep them lit from morning to night, though.
  • Make sure you’re allowed to light candles at the campsite. Some places don’t allow fires, including small candles. There are numerous states that employ fire restrictions during windy, dry weather. Ask the campground host if you’re unsure if you’re allowed to bring citronella candles.

The proper placement is equally as important as choosing the right citronella candles. Unfortunately, those little tea-light candles aren’t the best. Not only do they have a much shorter burning time than large candles, but they don’t have the right concentration of citronella oil (yet another reason some people don’t think they work).

How Does Citronella Candle Repel Insects?

The active ingredient in citronella is citronellal, which is a naturally occurring oil found in a variety of plants, including lemongrass, lemon eucalyptus, and citronella grass.

Citronella works as an insect repellent by masking the scents that attract insects, such as carbon dioxide and lactic acid. When insects are unable to detect these scents, they are less likely to be attracted to the area.

Are Citronella Candles really working?

In a Youtube video, Inside Media tested various mosquito repellents to see which ones were the most effective at preventing mosquito bites.

The results showed that DEET-based repellents and mosquito repellent with lemon eucalyptus oil were effective at preventing mosquito bites, while anti-bug bracelets and citronella candles were not effective.


Citronella candles are often misused since people think they only need one of them for a whole campsite.

This common mistake is why some campers don’t think they’re reliable. However, using several candles around your campsite in the right condition can make a difference.

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