Cedarwood is known to relax the mind, body, and has many uses from religious, to medicinal.

It has been used by Sumerians and Egyptians for centuries. In ancient Egypt, oil from cedar trees was used to embalm corpses and ward off insects. It was first distilled from the Cedar of Lebanon in the western mountains of the Middle East.

Cedarwood cone

How Does Cedarwood Oil Work?

Cedarwood oil is a natural product made from the foliage, wood, roots, and stumps leftover from timber. It is extracted from the wood of several different kinds of cedar trees.

Although it’s primarily used for aromatherapy, it can also be used for: 

  • Repelling insects
  • Preventing mildew and bacteria
  • Improving mental alertness
  • Relaxing the body
  • Enhancing concentration
  • Reducing stress and tension
  • Encouraging quality sleep

The element in cedarwood oil that repels insects is cedrol. Different types of trees have varying degrees of cedrol, which can determine the effectiveness of a product.

Cedarwood wards off fungal infections and insects such as:

It works extracting moisture from insects and other bugs, leaving them to dry out until they die. It’s strong smell also interferes with insect pheromones. This disorients them, and makes it difficult for them to breathe and mate.

In spiders, cedarwood penetrates their shell, and dissolves their exoskeleton. 

Is Cedarwood Oil Safe For Humans?

Yes! This is a natural product, with no known adverse or long-term effects on humans.

Always be sure to read and follow the label of any product you’re using. Keep all products away from eyes and mouth.

Use extra caution if you are pregnant or are breastfeeding. Do not use cedarwood essential oil on children younger than 6 months old unless directed by a healthcare professional.

Some individuals may have adverse allergic reactions to cedarwood oil. If you find that you are having an allergic reaction after using cedarwood oil, be sure to wash the affected area thoroughly, and contact a healthcare professional if your symptoms worsen. 

Is It Safe For Animals and Other Wildlife?

Cedarwood oil is known to be toxic to cats. If your cat has been exposed to cedarwood oil, observe your cat for:

  • Heavy breathing
  • Tremors
  • Difficulty walking
  • Low body temperature
  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Reduced heart rate

If you see your cat experiencing these symptoms, contact your vet immediately.

Dogs have only been known to have mild skin irritation to cedarwood oil, but always use caution upon first use and observe your pet carefully.

There are no other reports of cedarwood oil being harmful to other wildlife such as birds, lizard, fish, bees, and other pollinators. 

Products that Use Cedarwood Oil

Similarly to citronella, cedarwood oil is commonly found in essential oils, but can also be found in other products like lotions, sprays, and candles.

Always read and follow the label of any product you’re using and look out for signs of adverse reactions. 

Making Cedarwood Insect Repellent

To make your own DIY cedarwood insect repellent, mix together:

  • 1/2 cup witch hazel
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp of cedarwood oil

Funnel the mixture into a clean spray bottle and spray all over your body, or your garden. Be sure to avoid your eyes and mouth, and look for any adverse reactions.

Cedarwood Oil vs Other Products

There are lots of products out there to help you ward off pests. Let’s look at some other natural products that compare to cedarwood oil.

Neem Oil

Both are holistic and natural approaches to repelling and killing pests in your garden. Cedarwood oil is ideal for “drying out” pests that require moisture like mollusks.

If your garden becomes infested with mosquitoes and other aphids, neem oil may be a better route. 

Eucalyptus Oil

This has a stronger, medicinal smell than cedarwood, and has very similar medicinal effects. If the smell of cedarwood is too strong, or would like to try another option, try eucalyptus oil


If you have a cat and need a good natural pest repellent that won’t harm your pet, try citronella! To learn more about it, check out our citronella page.  

If you’re unsure if cedarwood oil products are the right solution to protect against pests in your garden, call a local exterminator at (833) 431-0401 to see what other solutions they recommend.