Do you hate getting bit by mosquitos? So do I! That’s why I’ve put together a list of the 10 essential oils that are most effective at repelling these pesky bugs.
These oils can be used in a variety of ways, from diffusing them in your home to applying them topically. Keep reading for more information on each oil and how you can use it to keep the bugs away!
What to look for in natural mosquito repellents
Some essential oils naturally repel insects such as mosquitos because of their strong scent. Other chemical components in the oils can also repel bugs such as Citronellal and Citronellol. When choosing essential oils to use as mosquito repellents, be sure to look for ones that contain these ingredients.
1. Lemon eucalyptus oil
Lemon eucalyptus oil has been used since the 1940s and is one of the most well-known natural repellents. Lemon eucalyptus oil has been granted CDC clearance as a viable component in mosquito repellent.
In a test conducted by Mosquito Mate, the company’s proprietary insect repellent combined with 32 percent lemon eucalyptus oil provided more than 95 percent protection against mosquitoes for 3 hours.
Make your own
You may make your own combination by combining 1 part lemon eucalyptus oil with 10 parts sunflower oil or witch hazel. Researchers at the University of Florida advise against applying the mixture to infants under the age of three.
Citronella is a well-known natural and highly effective essential oil that protects you from mosquitoes. It’s an active component in a lot of mosquito repellents because it’s made up of herbs. Citronella candles can give up to 50 percent more protection when used outside.
The active components in citronella are also causing debate among experts. The concentration of these chemicals, according to the manufacturer, influences how effective it is. When the product is prepared correctly, it’s just as efficient as DEET and can last up to 2 hours. If the combination isn’t correct, citronella may evaporate quickly and leave you unprotected.
3. Cinnamon oil
Cinnamon is more than just a topping for applesauce or oatmeal. Cinnamon oil, according to a study in Taiwan, has the potential to eliminate mosquito eggs. It can also shield you from adult mosquitoes, including the Asian tiger mosquito.
Make your own
To make a 1% solution, combine 1/4 teaspoon (or 24 drops) of oil for every 4 ounces of water. Spray the liquid on your skin or clothing, around your home, and into upholstery or plants. Cinnamon oil should be applied with caution because a strong dose might irritate your skin.
Lavender flowers that are crushed produce a scent and oil that repels mosquitoes.
Lavender oil was found to help repel adult mosquitoes by a team of researchers from the University of Guelph, Ontario who conducted the study. Adult mosquitoes were less attracted to lavender-scented environments, and fewer eggs emerged from infected mice housed with lavender oil.
Lavender has anti-inflammatory and antifungal effects, which means it can help reduce irritation from mosquito bites. It also has soothing properties that may help calm and relax the skin.
Make your own
You can plant lavender in an outdoor garden or inside pots. Crush the flowers and apply the oil to your ankles and arms, which are sensitive to biting. Also, place some lavender oil on a clean cloth and massage it over your skin.
5. Tea tree oil
Melaleuca oil, often known as tea tree oil, is a common essential oil produced in Australia. This oil is well-known for its antiseptic, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory qualities. However, tea tree oil has also been studied in lab conditions and shown to be an effective mosquito repellent.
Mosquitoes, bush flies, and biting midges are all repelled by formulations containing tea tree oil.
6. Greek catmint oil
Nepeta parnassica, a member of the mint family and similar to catnip, can protect you from mosquitoes. The flowers are white and pink, measuring up to 18 inches in height. It’s the extract and oil from crushed leaves that are most valuable.
Researchers at Iowa State University discovered that catnip oil has a repellent ability against mosquitoes for up to three hours. Researchers at Iowa State University also found that catnip was 10 times more effective than DEET at repulsing mosquitoes.
7. Thyme oil
Thyme oil is one of the most effective at keeping malarial mosquitoes at bay. In 2002, research was done on mice to determine whether thyme oil could prevent or treat malaria.
Thyme oil, when applied to the skin of hairless mice and exposed to UV radiation, provided a 91 percent protection rate against cell damage.
You may also want to toss thyme leaves into a campfire.
According to a study performed in the journal Burns, 55% of participants who were burned on the face reported pain relief after being exposed to 90 minutes of burning thyme leaves.
Make your own
For a medicinal brew, use 4 drops of thyme oil to each teaspoon of base oil, such as olive or jojoba oil. Combine 5 drops of thyme essential oil with 2 ounces of water to make a spray.
8. Soybean oil
Bite Block Kids (2 percent soybean oil) may provide long-term protection from mosquitoes, according to the University of Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory.
Make your own
You may also add a bit of lemongrass oil to your household blend. Natural DEET-free bug products will be applied to the home.
9. Neem oil
Even though neem oil is marketed as a natural remedy, there are various opinions on its efficacy.
Research conducted in Ethiopia found that neem oil provided greater than 70% protection for 3 hours.
Neem oil is not recommended as a topical repellent because it has the potential to irritate the skin. When traveling to a country where mosquitoes can spread viruses, such as Kenya or India, you should still apply DEET.
Make your own
Dilute 50 to 100 milliliters of neem oil in water, oil, or lotion to use as a mosquito repellant. It’s also vital to pick pure, cold-pressed neem oil rather than refined neem oil.
Geraniol is a kind of alcohol that’s sometimes used as a fragrance or taste. Plants like citronella, lemongrass, and rosemary provide it. It works for 2 to 4 hours in mosquito repellent depending on the species.
Keep this oil at arm’s length and try to avoid using it if you have sensitive skin. Geraniol might induce eye and skin discomfort.
Potential risks of essential oil mosquito repellent
Essential oils should not be directly applied to the skin. They’re usually mixed with a carrier oil, such as almond oil, and are usually diluted to 3-5 drops of essential oil in 1 ounce of carrier oil.
Essential oils are not governed by the FDA.
Doctors recommend using a chemical mosquito repellent if you will be spending time in an area where mosquitoes are known to spread diseases including malaria, yellow fever, or the Zika virus.
It’s also possible to have an allergic reaction to the active components in essential oils. Before you apply any new product, test it on a small area of your skin for one hour or two to ensure that hives or burning sensations don’t develop.