7 Natural Mosquito Repellents to Try

These essential oils are effective in keeping mosquitos away.


DIY, Health
Enjoy your outside space without getting mosquito bites.

(Gorodenkoff / Shutterstock.com)

Spring is here and that means warmer weather, longer days and spending more time outdoors. It’s time for barbecues, hikes, bike rides and other fun activities. But spending more time outdoors also means more mosquito bites especially if you are a magnet for bites.

You can turn to one of the many products that contain DEET-based chemical repellent but using these products can be hazardous to your health and to the environment, according to Healthline. But unless you are going to places that have a high risk of mosquito-borne diseases, it is best to avoid using DEET, especially on children.

Here are seven natural repellents that are safe and effective to use. You may have to experiment on which scent works the best for you. 

You can always depend on citronella. You can light citronella candles on your patio but you will get the best protection if you use citronella essential oil, according to Medical News Toda. Citronella is as effective as bug repellant sprays but because it evaporates quickly, it is best for shorter-term use.

A study published in the Malaria Journal found that that using 100 percent citronella oil topically, can protect against three types of mosquitos for up to 120 minutes in a laboratory setting. But be cautious and dilute before using because high concentrations of citronella oil could cause skin irritations. 

Neem oil 
Neem oil is also an effective natural mosquito repellent. In a 2015 study published in the Malaria Journal, researchers tested neem oil against DEET and found that a concentration of 20 percent of the oil provided protection for three hours during prime biting time (dusk to dawn). DEET provides the same percentage of relief but lasts for up to 8 hours.

Lemon eucalyptus
Lemon eucalyptus oil is one of the most well-known natural mosquito repellents, according to Healthline. It’s actually CDC approved! Besides being 95 percent effective in preventing bites for up to three hours, it’s also very easy to DIY  your own lemon eucalyptus repellent. Just mis one part of the oil with 10 parts sunflower oil or witch hazel. It is not recommended to use this mixture on children. 

Thyme oil is also a very effective mosquito repellent. You can make an effective spray by mixing  five drops of the essential oil with two ounces of water. It is also, like citronella, an effective way to clear your yard from those pesky biters. Just throw thyme leaves in your fire pit or campfire for 60 to 9- minutes of protection.

Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is an essential oil that comes from Australia and has many beneficial uses. The oil is a natural hand sanitizer, deodorizer, and mouthwash because of its antibacterial properties, according to Real Simple, and it is an effective natural insect repellent.

The scent of lavender can repel mosquitos so you can dilute lavender essential oil and use it on your skin, according to Medical News Today. That’s because Lavender contains linalool which is similar to the active ingredient in DEET but it is much safer to use. The oil also has antiseptic and analgesic properties, so if you do get a bite, the oil can help calm and soothe your skin.

Catnip and other mints like peppermint are also effective mosquito repellents and it’s not just for cats. A study from Northwestern University that was published in Current Biology found that this common plant could be as effective as DEET. That’s because its active ingredient nepetalactone actually irritates the pesky insects so they stay far away.

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