Mosquitoes can be annoying and their bites can be very itchy, painful, and can possibly even carry diseases like West Nile virus and malaria.
But there is no need to stay cooped up inside. Luckily, there are plenty of repellents out there that are effective at keeping away mosquitoes.
Below you will find several options for mosquito repellent.
There are natural mosquito repellents like oils and plants as well as traditional repellents like sprays and citronella candles. There are even new ways to keep mosquitoes at bay like insect repellent clothing.
Keep reading to find out what attracts mosquitoes and tricks to keep them from buzzing around you.
- Mosquitoes are attracted to lactic acid. Lactic acid forms as we use our muscles. So when you are exercising, you are going to be more attractive to mosquitoes.
- Water is another attractor for mosquitoes. They often lay eggs in standing water. Empty anything around your house that gathers water.
- Carbon dioxide also draws mosquitoes. Carbon dioxide is what we breath out. Check out the link below to find out about using dry ice to distract mosquitoes.
Dry Ice Distraction
- Dry Ice Uses
Dry Ice is the frozen form of carbon dioxide. Since it attracts mosquitoes, it can be used to distract them from you. Place pieces of it around the perimeter of the area you will be in. It will draw the mosquitoes and help keep them away from you.
What to Avoid
One of the easiest ways to avoid mosquito bites is simply not to wear clothing and products that will attract them.
When you are going to be outside, avoid wearing scented products that might attract mosquitoes. If possible, try to use unscented toiletries.
These products can attract mosquitoes, especially if they are floral or fruit scented.
- body sprays
- scented soaps and body washes
Dark clothing will attract mosquitoes because it is easier for them to distinguish and because it will absorb more heat causing more sweat that also draws them in.
Wear light colored clothing and long sleeves and pants if it won't be too hot. The less skin area you have exposed, the less the mosquitoes will have to snack on.
Prime mosquito feeding times are around dusk and dawn. Stay inside during those two peak mosquito times to avoid bites.
Mosquito Repellent Clothing
There is specially made insect repellent clothing available now. It is made from a synthetic version of the chemical found in chrysanthemums called permethrin.
The permethrin is actually woven into the fibers of the clothing making it an insect repellent. The bugs are actually "knocked out" when they come into contact with it.
It has been EPA tested and approved as a safe and effective insect repellent.
You can buy shirts, pants, jackets, hats, and other articles of clothing that are made from the repellent. The clothing is machine washable and won't lose the repellent ability for up to 70 washings.
Bug Sprays and Rub on Products
- Repellents with DEET are only recommended when you will need heavy bug protection. Unless you are going to be in a heavily wooded area or a spot where there is a very high mosquito population, bug sprays with DEET aren't necessary. DEET is a powerful chemical and isn't always the best choice in mosquito repellents.
- OFF! Skintastic sprays and lotions work very well most of the time. You will just need to reapply every hour or two to make sure you stay covered. Most of the OFF! products are light and smell pleasant. The lotion is better to use because it covers a bit better because you rub it in. If you use the spray, lightly spray your clothing also so you will be even less appealing to bugs.
- Avon Skin So Soft products are another mosquito repellent. They are safe to use and don't have toxic chemicals. As an added benefit, they are also great moisturizers for your skin. There is Skin So Soft spray, lotion, and bath oil. There is even a special line of bug repellants. Like with other sprays and lotions, they will become less effective as they get rubbed off or washed away with sweat. Reapply frequently to maintain their effectiveness.
Bug Snacks Poll
Dryer Sheets as Repellent
Scented dryer sheets are a safe and reasonably effective mosquito repellent. They work because they distract the mosquitoes from your scent. Fresh linens scents work the best. Try to avoid floral scents. Some people claim Bounce dryer sheets work the best because of a higher pH content.
For the best protection, use the dryer sheets as dry your clothes. You can also rub them on your body and clothes before you head outside. Then rub yourself periodically to reapply the scent. You can keep one in your pockets for continued protection.
Make Your Own Mosquito Repellent
Natural Oils as Repellents
There are essential oils that act as natural mosquito repellents. You can buy pre-mixed oils that can be applied or you can mix your own repellent from oils.
You can mix the essential oils with a base like olive oil, witch hazel, vodka, or rubbing alcohol. Then you can just put it into a spray bottle to apply it. Mixing more than one oil is the most effective method because different types of mosquitoes react differently to some oils.
Here are oils that are mosquito repellents:
- castor oil
- catnip oil
- cedarwood oil
- cinnamon oil
- citronella oil
- eucalyptus oil
- geranium oil
- lemongrass oil
- peppermint oil
- rosemary oil
- tea tree oil
Mosquito Repellent Plants
There are several plants that naturally repel mosquitoes. You can plant them in your yard or place pots with these plants in your house or on your porch to discourage mosquitoes from coming around.
Mosquito Repelling Plants:
Citronella is a plant that is a natural mosquito repellent. Lighting citronella candles is usually an effect mosquito deterrent.
You can buy citronella candles in most department stores, especially during the summer. You can also find citronella tea lights and oil for torches.
If you are going to be in just one area outside, citronella candles are a way to get rid of mosquitoes. The downside is that their effectiveness goes down the further away you are from the lit candle and wind can also blow their scent away.
But in general, citronella candles work as a great backup mosquito repellent for outdoor activities.
What Doesn't Work
There are so called repellents out there that don't really work or that aren't very effective for most people. Here are repellents with spotty track records that you should avoid:
- Any repellent that uses sounds to keep mosquitoes away.
- Phone apps that claim to repel bugs.
- Other electronic devices that are supposed to repel bugs.
- Bracelets that are worn as a repellent.
If you have doubts about a mosquito repellent product, check the review on sites like Amazon before you buy it.
Keep the Bugs Away!
Let's hear the buzz!
Caroline Guillermo from Bataan, Philippines on May 01, 2020:
I hate the smell of mosquito coils and insecticides. I don't want to use any mosquito repellants that needs electricity to dissolve them to conserve electricity.
I use citronella candles and it was proven to be effective even it's not light up, the citronella oil in the candle repels its smell even it is not heated/light up.
It's very useful to have some as in case of power outage, you hit 2 birds in 1 stone, having a candle light and mosquito repellant at the same time as mosquitos usually lingers on dark areas.
Mea Herera on August 02, 2018:
Thank you for this article! I had to move recently and my new place is full of mosquitos. I will try some of your methods and see the progress.
BugZapperWorld on June 26, 2014:
Peppermint soap indeed works!
noenhulk on May 26, 2014:
I am from tropical country and we were able to get rid of those mosquitoes. You can plant trees that distract mosquitoes like the madre cacao.. you can apply natural mosquito repellent and the best, always clean your backyard and see to it that every corner are sprayed with air freshener after being cleared of garbage, it works.
vibesites from United States on May 28, 2013:
Since I live in a tropical country, mosquitoes are more prevalent here, and I have to take extra caution. I try not to wear dark clothing or dab a perfumed lotion except when I had to go out. Thanks for your repellent suggestions. I will apply any of these oils on my skin especially when I go to sleep. Thanks again. :)
Alex Munkachy from Honolulu, Hawaii on May 24, 2013:
Peppermint soap has worked great in situations without bug spray.
Ronald E Franklin from Mechanicsburg, PA on May 07, 2013:
Great tips. Just the idea that floral and fruit scents attract mosquitoes is one that would help a lot of people.
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on February 05, 2013:
enkindler - Eucalyptus is definitely a good oil to repel mosquitoes. You could try adding in another of the repellant oils that smells nice so you have an effective bubble that smells good, too. Thanks and hope you stay mosquito-free!
enkindler on August 10, 2012:
I mix eucalyptus oil and water, then spray liberally wherever I am. It's like I'm in a mosquito-free bubble until I have to re-apply! Dr. Oz showed it in action and explained how it worked (I think masking your smell so you're invisible, not actively repelling them). Anyway, I'm going to have to try some of your methods, since eucalyptus isn't exactly the best smell...
Thanks for the detailed, well-written hub!
Candace Bacon (author) from Far, far away on August 01, 2012:
Marcy Goodfleisch - How lucky are! My area is full of mosquitoes. Thanks so much and hope it can come in handy one day!
Marcy Goodfleisch from Planet Earth on July 28, 2012:
I need to print this out for the next time I camp or picnic in the woods! We don't have many mosquitoes in Austin (thanks to our beloved bat colony), so I forget how annoying they are when I am in a place plagued by them. Terrific information here - voted up and up!