When it comes to mosquito repellent, many people are hesitant to use dangerous-sounding chemicals like DEET and Picaridin. Luckily, there are natural mosquito repellents that can get the job done. But how do you pick out the best natural mosquito repellent or bug spray?
The best natural mosquito repellents use peppermint, lemongrass, rosemary, and garlic oils. These oils have been proven to ward off mosquitoes but are also safe for humans and their pets. Citronella is another common ingredient found in natural bug-repelling products like candles and sprays.
If you’re looking for a natural mosquito repellent for your skin or your yard, there are some key factors to keep in mind. Let’s take a look at what you need to know so that you can get the best (and most effective) option available.
What’s the Best Natural Mosquito Yard Spray?
The best thing about most natural mosquito yard sprays is that you can make them yourself, and you don’t have to worry about any suspicious ingredients. In this section, we’ll go through a couple of different natural mosquito yard sprays and give you directions on how to make them yourself.
Lemon eucalyptus oil has been shown to be an extremely effective deterrent for mosquitoes. In fact, a 2014 study in Queensland, Australia found that lemon eucalyptus oil proved to be more than 95 percent effective in protecting against mosquitoes for three hours.
However, it’s important to note that researchers have cautioned against using lemon eucalyptus oil around children under 3 years of age.
Cinnamon oil is another reputable natural mosquito repellent. A study in Taiwan found that cinnamon oil can both repel mosquitoes and kill off their eggs, preventing their population from growing in your yard.
When making your own spray, it’s recommended that you develop a solution that’s only 1 percent cinnamon oil. In order to do this, simply mix a fourth of a teaspoon of cinnamon oil (on Amazon) with every 4 ounces of water. Concentrated doses of cinnamon oil can irritate your skin, so be careful when spraying it.
Citronella is certainly one of the most popular natural mosquito repellents. Research has shown that citronella can be as effective as popular mosquito repellent chemicals like DEET.
You can grow your own citronella plants at home (and use the oil they produce), or simply purchase ready-to-use citronella products. This 8-pack of citronella candles (on Amazon) is a great place to start.
If you want a natural mosquito spray, but don’t want to have to make your own, there are some great options you can buy. Aunt Fannie’s Mosquito Spray is made using a mixture of citronella, lemongrass, peppermint, soybean oil, and vitamin E.
Aunt Fannie’s Mosquito Spray claims to protect you from mosquitoes for four hours after application. It’s also a spray that won’t break the bank. You can find a bottle of this spray here on Amazon for around $10.
Another natural mosquito repellent that you might like is Murphy’s Naturals Mosquito Repellent Balm. This balm is made using a mixture of lemongrass, rosemary, and peppermint — no chemical included. Murphy’s Naturals’ balm is supposedly very effective in warding off mosquitoes and it’s also relatively cheap. You can find it for around $10 here (on Amazon).
However, because this is a balm, it’s not so easy to apply. You might therefore choose to use Murphy’s Naturals Mosquito Repellent Balm on just some body parts, such as your face, and then use a spray to supplement it.
Most natural yard sprays take advantage of the mosquito repelling properties of essential oils. We mentioned cinnamon oil and eucalyptus oil in the previous section, but there are many more. Other essential oils that have been found to repel mosquitoes include peppermint oil, catnip oil, tea tree oil, and clary sage oil.
You may also have noticed a bit of overlap in the ingredients of Aunt Fannie’s Mosquito Spray and Murphy’s Naturals Mosquito Repellent Balm.
This is because there are several plants that are natural mosquito repellents. These plants include rosemary, lemongrass, peppermint, and garlic. Planting these in a garden can be a good natural way to keep mosquitoes out.
Natural Mosquito yard sprays are often more expensive than chemical based yard sprays. For a simple comparison, a 32-ounce bottle of Cutter Backyard Bug Control (on Amazon) costs under $10, while a 32-ounce bottle of Wondercide Outdoor Pest Control (on Amazon), which is made using natural essential oils, is around $35.
This price difference is similar for body sprays. A 3.38-ounce bottle of Aunt Fannie’s Mosquito Spray (on Amazon), made with essential oils, costs about $10.
Meanwhile, a pack of two 8-ounce bottles of OFF! Deep Woods Insect Repellent (on Amazon), made with the chemical DEET, is also around $10. That’s almost 5 times the amount of spray for a similar cost.
When debating whether to buy natural or chemical based yard spray, you need to weigh the pros and cons of each to decide whether or not using a natural spray is important to you, and price is only one of these factors.
One of the most important things to consider when selecting a yard spray are the effects they may have on your pets. When it comes to yard sprays, the things you need to look out for are the chemicals DEET and Picaridin.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), when in contact with DEET, both dogs and cats can suffer hypersalivation, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, excitation, ataxia, and seizures. When looking for yard sprays that your pets can be around, DEET is definitely a chemical to stay away from.
Next is the chemical Picaridin. Unlike DEET, Picaridin doesn’t have an extensive list of horrible side effects that it causes for dogs and cats. However, there’s no study that states that the chemical is 100% safe for your furry friends. Thus, many pet owners choose to err on the side of caution and avoid the chemical.
You may be relieved to find out that all natural bug sprays don’t use DEET or Picaridin. When looking for pet-safe yard sprays, stick to ones that are made using peppermint oil, garlic oil, rosemary oil, or lemongrass oil.
These are essential oils that the EPA has designated as “minimum risk pesticides.” That means that they pose little to no risk to human health or the environment, including pets.