Some people are prone to mosquito bites, which may be due to a combination of scents, humidity, light, and heat. Such people are often seen with itchy bumps here and there in the body. Different species of mosquitoes prefer different factors, such as ones that carry malaria prefer to sweat and bacteria, and some are attracted to carbon dioxide and hand odors. To avoid mosquito encounters one needs to apply DEET-based chemical repellents. These chemicals have the potential to cause health and environmental problems. These can cause sensitivity issues with children.
8 Natural Mosquito Repellents
Natural repellents are at any time better than chemical-based mosquito repellents and work best for children. Here is a list of 8 natural mosquito repellants.
1. Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
Lemon eucalyptus repellent is one of the most well-known mosquito repellents and is approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an effective ingredient in mosquito repellents(1). A study showed that a mixture of 32% of lemon eucalyptus oil provided more than 95% protection against mosquitoes for up to 3 hours(2). It can be made at home by mixing one part of lemon eucalyptus oil with 10 parts of sunflower oil or witch hazel. However, this mixture should be used with caution on children below 3 years of age(3).
Crushing lavender can produce fragrance and oil that can be helpful in repelling mosquitoes. A study done on hairless mice found lavender to be effective in repelling adult mosquitoes(4). Lavender is known for its analgesic, antifungal, and antiseptic properties, which makes it effective not only in repelling mosquitoes but also in calming and soothing skin. Lavender flowers can be easily grown in the garden. These flowers can be crushed and applied to the bite-sensitive area in the body. Its oil can be taken on a clean cloth and rubbed onto the skin.
3. Cinnamon Oil
Cinnamon can be thought of for more than just an oatmeal topping or an ingredient in herbal tea. Its oil plays a role in killing mosquito eggs(5). It is also effective as an adult mosquito repellent. ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon oil can be mixed with 4 ounces of water and its spray can be used on skin, clothing, around home, and onto plants to keep away mosquitoes. Its concentrated dose can irritate the skin, so make sure you dilute it before using it.
4. Thyme Oil
Thyme oil can be best in repelling malarial mosquitoes. A study found, applying 5 percent thyme oil to the skin of hairless mice provided 91 percent protection(6). Also, burning thyme leaves can provide 85 percent protection or 60-90 minutes(7). Thyme oil spray can be made by mixing 5 drops of thyme oil with 2 ounces of water.
5. Soybean Oil
Citronella is a natural and effective essential oil that is known to work best against mosquitoes. It is a mix of herbs and is used as an ingredient in many mosquito repellents. It can provide 50% protection indoors. Research shows citronella can be as effective as DEET and can provide protection against mosquitoes for up to 2 hours(7). If the formula is made is not proper it can evaporate easily leaving you unprotected from mosquito accesses.
7. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is known for its antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties. It can also be used as an effective mosquito repellent. A field testing showed the repellents containing tea tree oil are effective against bush flies and mosquitoes(10).
8. Neem Oil
Neem oil as an alternative to DEET has mixed results. A study showed it to be effective against mosquitoes and provided 70% protection for 3 hours(11). It is not approved to be used as a topical repellent, as it causes skin irritation. 50-100 milliliters of neem oil can be diluted in water, lotion, or oil for use.
How to Treat Mosquito Bites?
Even after using any kind of mosquito repellent, there are chances of getting mosquito bites.
Mosquito bites can be treated in the following ways:
- Rubbing apple cider vinegar at the site
- Taking a slice of raw onion and putting it on the bite
- Using over-the-counter anti-itch or antihistamines(12)
If there is an infection or allergic reaction after a mosquito bite, contact the doctor.
The effectiveness of natural mosquito repellents has sufficient studies to support it. They can be used on children, pregnant females, and on those who are sensitive to DEET.