As promised from yesterday’s article about relief for itching bites , I’ve compiled a big list of recommendations and home remedies for mosquito repellent suggestions (including some homemade bug spray recipes).
A few things to note first:
- You pretty much have to stop breathing to not attract the attention of these annoying critters, a big attractor for them is the carbon dioxide from your breathing.
- It also seems they are attracted by scents like perfumes, sweat, body odor as well as body heat. Unless you stop using shampoos, soaps, deodorants and detergents–it’s hard to be scent free.
- From what I understand, DEET has proven to be the most effective repellent. DEET is pretty crazy stuff though, so if you’d like to try less harsh solutions, there are plenty of tips below for you to give a shot.
Something to keep in mind: Since some people seem to be a mosquito magnet while others around them don’t get a single bite, I have the suspicion that there could be a personal body chemistry factor involved. And that could explain why a remedy that works for one person, may not work for another.
I suspect that’s why some people swear by the Bounce sheet method, or the Avon Skin So Soft solution, while others have a different experience. Bounce nor the Avon SSS did a thing for me btw, but I did include them in the list below. I know a few people who SWEAR by them.
- Wear light colored clothing, these critters are attracted to dark clothes
- Keep your body covered as much as possible (including wearing a hat), although they can find their way through the fabric–it does cut down on bites
Home Remedies, Bug Sprays & Tips
- Vanilla Extract: A few different recommendations for this one, each contradicting the other. Some say to dab Vanilla Extract on your pulse points, others say to rub it all over your skin & dab your clothes. Some say the cheap stuff is what you have to use, others say the real, pure Vanilla is the only thing that will work. Some say to apply it full strength, others say you can dilute it with water and spray it on. Play around with Vanilla to see what gives you best results–there are plenty of believers for this one so I think there’s something to it.
- Garlic: This isn’t a favorite thing to do day-to-day, but if you’re going camping or hiking through heavily infested areas, try a garlic powder and water paste. Apply to pulse points, behind knees, on shoes and ankles and a dab or two on your cheeks or somewhere on your face and neck. Remember–keep out of eyes. And maybe stay out of public places too ;).
- Essential Oils: Mix choice of essential oils with rubbing alcohol, or witch hazel, or distilled water and spritz on body or directly on cloth to rub on body (shake before each use). Or add a few drops in baby oil or olive oil then rub on skin. You can also apply drops along a strip of fabric (cotton) and tie around wrist. *Make sure to avoid mouth and eye areas when using essential oils. I’ve listed them in the chart below…
*Seems to be strongly recommended.
If you’re interested in experimenting with making homemade mosquito repellents, here are a few different recipes that you can try.
Most of these have been sent in by readers and they’re all easy enough to make (thank you for sharing guys!). A few are made with assorted essential oils but there is one shared by Jennifer that uses simple ingredients (garlic cloves, mineral oil, water and lemon juice) so the expense is really minimal.
Here’s a tip sent in by Angela for her tried-and-true solution:
This is a recipe given to me by my aunt, I find that it stores well but should be used within the year.
1/4 cup vegetable oil mixed with these essential oils (mix and store in a spray bottle):
8 drops cedar
5 drops eucalyptus
4 drops lavender
2 drops rosemary
2 drops juniper
1 drop peppermint
1 drop cinnamon
1 drop clove
Here’s one from Mark:
I like this because it only needs a few items and it’s a breeze to put together. Make sure you shake it up for a few minutes each time before you use it. I hope your readers try it because it does work just as well as bought and it’s better to use on your body than those poisonous sprays that they try selling us in stores.
2 cups witch hazel
1 teaspoon vegetable glycerin
20 drops citronella essential oil
20 drops lemongrass essential oil
Instructions: Mix in a spray bottle and shake well before use.
Jennifer sent this one in:
Mosquitoes hate garlic and so when I saw this in a magazine a few years ago I clipped it, tried it and found that it did a good job keeping me bite free.
Directions: Mince a few cloves of garlic then cover with mineral oil. Allow it to sit for at least 24 hours. Next you take a teaspoon of *just the oil* and mix it with 2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Strain through a cheesecloth if you have any floaties then pour into a spray bottle. Shake before each use.
Here’s another recipe from Mother Earth News that used to be online but I can no longer find:
Since the 1999 appearance of West Nile virus in North America, it’s more important than ever to keep these pests at bay. You can outsmart them with this homemade, Earth-friendly solution.
It couldn’t be easier to make, ingredients needed are any combination of these essential oils: basil, cedarwood, citronella, juniper, lemon, myrrh, palmarosa, pine, rose geranium and/or rosemary mixed with 190-proof grain alcohol (Everclear). Quantities: 2 1/2 tsp of essential oil mixed with 1 cup of the alcohol. The mixture of assorted EO’s makes this an effective option for fighting a variety of mosquito species and other insects.
Here’s one from another source no longer available online…
Yarrow Bug Spray
Fill a jar with fresh yarrow flowers and leaves (cut into small pieces) or use 1/2 jar full of dried yarrow. Cover with vodka, seal jar with lid and allow to brew for a week. Strain, fill a spray bottle 1/2 full with the infusion liquid then top up with water. Add a few drops of catnip essential oil (adjust as needed for effectiveness). Shake well before each use, may need to reapply every hour or so.
Plants That Repel Them
Break off leaves and crush them roughly, rub them all over your clothes and skin. Toss the bruised leaves around the perimeter of your deck or patio. Also plant these in pots and arrange them around the patio. You could also infuse these in water and then use that as a spray.
- Lemon Thyme
*(other than DEET items)
- Avon’s Skin So Soft (straight or mix 50/50 with rubbing alcohol)
- Bounce Sheets (hanging out of a pocket or waistband)
- Listerine (mixed 50/50 with household vinegar then sprayed all over body)
- Vicks VapoRub
- You can purchase citronella torches to stand in the ground or set on table tops
- Spray garlic powder and water all over the yard and bushes. Use a fertilizer hose attachment. Will need to be done bi-weekly (approx) or after a heavy rain.
- Another trick you can try is to spray Listerine on the lawn or around the deck or campsite.
Items to Eat
Apparently the smell that comes out of your pores from a steady diet of the below deters mosquitoes. The items aren’t meant to be combined, they’re just different suggestions.
- B1 Vitamins
- Brewers Yeast