Three Kinds of Citronella Candles and How to Use Them

Citronella candles differ in size, style, and substance. These three types of citronella candles ward off flying insects and offer other advantages over run-of-the-mill citronella candles.

Citronella helps repel mosquitos
Citronella candles are a great way to keep biting bugs at bay at your campsite.Ekamelev/unsplash

Oil of citronella, which is derived from several species of lemongrass plants, has long been known and used as a natural insect repellent. One of the most common applications is as an ingredient in outdoor candles to ward off flying pests. You light the wick and the resulting citronella scent wafts out, driving away mosquitoes and other airborne insects. They are popular because there’s no need to apply a solution to your skin that needs to be showered off at the end of the day, no concerns about developing a physical reaction to it, and no worries about contaminating food.

Not all citronella candles are created equal, though. Here’s a look at three different kinds and how you can use them.

1. A super-sized citronella candle, to use as a campsite-wide insect repellent.

Cutter citronella candle
Large setting? Go with a large, high-concentration citronella candle.Cutter

Some citronella candles are designed to ward off flying insects over a large area for an extended period of time. These bucket-style candles have several wicks and very long burn times, and often contain a higher-than-average amount of citronella oil, ensuring efficacy.

2. A tealight citronella candle, to use as a party decoration.

Tealight citronella candles
Add some stylish and mosquito-free atmosphere to your outdoor party with tealight citronella candles.Hyoola

Candles add mood to any setting, but one that comes in a large bucket may not lend the ambiance that you want. Fortunately, citronella candles are now available in tealight form, meaning you can use them to make a summertime gathering more festive. Additionally, some citronella tealights can be used indoors, making these ideal for use on a screened-in porch or enclosed patio.

3. A citronella candle made with other plant oils, to use as a scented candle.

Citronella candle made with peppermint and rosemary
Citronella candles made with other plant oils, such as peppermint and rosemary, have a pleasant scent and are effective at warding off flying pests.Murphy's Naturals

Some people don't find the scent of citronella very pleasing. A candle that contains other natural plant oils in it can emit a very pleasant aroma and ward off bugs at the same time, making everyone happy.