Raise your hand if you don’t want itchy, bumpy skin this summer. We assume all of you are raising your hands, which means that you need to find some excellent mosquito repellent, especially if you live in a hot, humid environment. Different species of mosquitos are attracted to specific bacteria, sweat, carbon dioxide, and other odors that the human body emits. As you may well know, mosquitos are also put off by certain scents, but there are ways to repel mosquitos that don’t involve spraying DEET on your body.
DEET is a chemical-based repellent that has the potential to cause serious health and environmental problems. It isn’t safe for the body and we do not encourage using chemical bug sprays; rather, many essential oils serve as natural mosquito repellents. From clove oil to geranium oil, myriad essential oils can be applied to the body to keep mosquitos away. Note that you will have to apply essential oils more often than bug spray, roughly once every hour. Read on to find out which essential oils are best for repelling mosquitos.
The carvacrol and alpha-terpinene compounds in thyme oil have demonstrated that they have mosquito-repelling properties. Thyme oil is not effective at repelling all species of mosquitos, but most topical applications offer 89% efficacy for about an hour. You must dilute thyme oil in a carrier oil, such as coconut oil or castor oil, because it can cause skin irritation when directly applied.
Lemon Eucalyptus Oil:
This is the most effective natural mosquito repellent. In fact, several studies have found that this essential oil is almost comparable to DEET and picaridin. It is the only natural repellent that is recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for human safety and effectiveness. The odor of this essential oil can be too pungent for some people, but the fresh smell of lemon and eucalyptus is off-putting to mosquitos. Dilute it in olive oil and apply it every two hours for mosquito protection.
Many people know that citronella candles are a commonly lit to repel mosquitos, but they only have a 50% reduction rate. Citronella oil is derived from the citronella plant and several studies have found that it is nearly as effective as DEET when it comes to repelling mosquitos. The primary problem with its effectiveness is that it can evaporate quickly, especially if you sweat. The candles are not as effective as pure citronella oil, which should be diluted in a carrier oil before topical application.
While geranium oil is not registered with the EPA for repellent ingredients, studies show that it can help repel mosquitos. More research needs to be conducted on the efficacy of geranium oil against mosquitos to be used as a registered repellent. Other findings have revealed that combing coconut oil with geranium oil contributes to a higher success rate.
This oil is known for its potent scent, but it also happens to be an effective essential oil for repelling mosquitos. One Chinese study found that it offered protection for two hours, but more research needs to be done on how often it should be applied for complete protection. There have been no associated hazards with direct application to the skin, but use a carrier oil as a precautionary measure.
Bonus DIY Mosquito Repellent Bars
Carry these repellent bars with you to help naturally keep mosquitos away.
- 1 tablespoon organic beeswax
- 4 tablespoons organic Shea butter
- 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
- 10 drops citronella oil
- 5 drops peppermint essential oil
- 5 drops lemon essential oil
- 20 drops lemongrass essential oil
- Fill a medium saucepan halfway with water and place over medium-high heat. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low.
- Add all of the ingredients to a stainless steel or oven-safe glass bowl and place on top of the saucepan with the simmering water.
- Stir the ingredients until they are all melted and combined. Remove from heat and pour into your desired molds. If you want to accelerate the hardening process, place the molds in the fridge.
- Once the lotion bars are solid, store them in an airtight container in a cool dry place.
- Use the lotion bars like a bar of soap when you go outside this summer. You’ll smell wonderful, but the mosquitos won’t think so and they’ll leave you alone.