We Test 16 Home Remedies for Mosquitoes: Here’s What Works and What Doesn’t

The internet is littered with home remedies for every ailment under the sun and mosquitoes are no exception. And while we love scrappy little solutions as much as the next person – the truth is that many of these home remedies for mosquitoes simply don’t work.

So, in the interest of saving you some time, effort and mosquito bites – we went ahead and tested some of the popular mosquito repellent home remedies.

Here’s what works and what doesn’t.

Dry Ice

I don’t know about you, but we don’t usually have bags of dry ice lying around so if you’re not a dry ice hoarder yourself, this home remedy for mosquitoes will require a trip to the grocery store.

It’ll also require an actual mosquito trap in order to work. That’s ’cause all the dry ice does it provide a bunch of carbon dioxide, CO2, to lure mosquitoes.

dry-ice-mosquito-repellent

You see, one of the ways mosquitoes identify and track you down is by the CO2 you emit every time you exhale. Since dry ice is just frozen CO2, it’ll release plumes of it as it melts, creating thick clouds of gas no mosquito can resist.

But that’s all dry ice can do – attract mosquitoes. You also need a way to kill them once they’re there. Of course, you can always use your hands but we’re assuming you’ve got a job and hobbies and stuff. So get a mosquito trap.

Does it work? Sorta, if you have a mosquito trap to actually do the killing.

How easy is it? Once you got the mosquito trap and the bags of dry ice set up – really easy. All you have to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

White Clothes

This idea comes from the fact that mosquitoes are attracted to your body heat. Since dark colors retain heat, the thinking is that wearing light or white clothes will make you less heated and thus, less attractive to mosquitoes.

Does it work? No. Turns out white clothes won’t protect you if you’ve still got warm blood running through your veins, which we assume you do.

If you want to dress to protect yourself from mosquitoes, we suggest mosquito repelling clothing.

How easy is it? Really easy… but also one of the most ineffective home remedies for mosquito repellent. Plus, not a good idea if you’re not prone to stains.

Mosquito Repellent Plants

anti-mosquito-plants-indoors

Not only do their brighten our living space and keep the air fresh – there are some plants that also repel mosquitoes just by being themselves.

Some anti mosquito plants can be planted around your yard to keep mosquitoes off your property while some can live indoors with you to fight off mosquitoes and even feature in your pasta and teas.

Does it work? Surprisingly well. Plus, many mosquito repelling plants double as yummy herbs.

How easy is it? If you get starter plants and remember to give them water and sun – it’s easy, even if you don’t have a green thumb. Many of these mosquito repellent plants are low-maintenance and some are even weeds that’ll grow without much encouragement.

Dryer Sheets

dryer-sheets-keep-mosquitoes-away

Fabric softener sheets don’t just leave your clothes smelling fresh – they also help ward off mosquitoes. We’re not sure why mosquitoes find the smell of Bounce so offensive (note: any brand works), but hey, as long as it works. So…

Does it work? Surprisingly, yes. And it leaves you smelling lovely.

How easy is it? It’s not so easy if you rub this stuff on your skin – sure, it’ll work, but it might also irritate your skin. We suggest stuffing one or two into your pockets instead.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Ah, apple cider vinegar. This ancient elixir makes it on “top home remedy” lists for everything – warts, dandruff, acne, body odor, and now…mosquitoes.

Does it work? By all accounts, drinking ACV is pretty good for your health (and can help with weight loss), but no, it’s not really an effective mosquito repellent.

Well, at least not for adult mosquitoes – what ACV can be used effectively for is to kill mosquito larvae. So if you’ve got mosquito spawn lying around, you know what to do.

How easy is it? Easy, but not effective when taken internally. Use it on mosquito larvae instead.

Beer

beer-attracts-mosquitoesMosquitoes are highly attracted to beer drinkers. In fact, just a single 12-ounce bottle of beer can make you more appealing to these blood suckers.

And it isn’t because beer increases your body temperature or even because of the ethanol they can smell on your sweat – scientists don’t know exactly why but what’s for sure is that mosquitoes have a thing for beer.

So is a glass of cheap pale ale enough to lure them in?

Sure is, it turns out.

All you have to do is save your leftover beer bottles, pour a little bit of cheap beer in each one and leave them around mosquito infested areas.

The beer-loving pests will fly in for the beer and some will drown.

Does it work? Yes, mosquitoes seem to like the stuff. Just make sure you’re not also hanging out around the beer, drinking the stuff – you’ll get bit.

How easy is it? Very.

Mouthwash

It smells fresh, which seems like a good sign considering the other home remedy mosquito repellents have that in common, i.e. natural oils and dryer sheets.

And mouthwash does contain trace amounts of eucalyptol, which has been shown to be effective against mosquitoes, so…

Does it work? Depends. If you pour some Listerine into a spray bottle and directly spritz it on a mosquito? It will most likely die.

If you plan on spritzing yourself with mouthwash and going for a walk during peak mosquito season – mouthwash makes a crappy mosquito repellent. Although your skin will feel nice and cool.

How easy is it? Easy. But ineffective.

Avon’s Skin So Soft Bath Oil

avon-skin-so-soft-oil-for-mosquitoes

Originally intended to soften dry skin, Skin So Soft bath oil has gained a sort of cult following in the anti bug department. Not sure how it does it – but it does it.

And it’s not just great for repelling mosquitoes – it works against fleas, ants, flies, etc.

Does it work? Yes, and damn well.

How easy is it? Dump it in a spray bottle and spritz away – super eays.

Vacuum

We have to admit this is a seductive idea – you’re vacuuming the living room when you see a mosquito buzzing around and think…hmmmmm.

Does it work? Um, no.

How easy is it? It’s harder than you’d think to chase a mosquito around with a vacuum cleaner in your hand and even when you do manage to suck it up, it’ll find its way back out.

Anti Mosquito Apps

do-mosquito-apps-workMosquito Run, Anti Mosquito Sonic Repeller…all these mosquito repelling apps claim to keep mosquitoes away from your vicinity with just a touch of a button.

Sound too good to be true? That’s ’cause it is.

Does it work? Flat out – no. This is one of the worst mosquito repellent home remedies because not only does it not work, but it takes up valuable space on your phone. 

These apps are supposed to “emit a very unique high frequency sound that insects dislike and is so high-pitched that most humans will not notice anything.”

You won’t notice anything because nothing is happening. And you’ll continue to get bitten.

How easy is it? You just download the app and press a button so very easy – but expect to be itchy.

Matchsticks

Hate mosquitoes so much you’re willing to eat matches? Rumor has it that soldiers would eat match tips to ward off mosquitoes – the idea is that their sulfur content oozes out through your pours, discouraging mosquitoes from getting too close.

So, should you be eating match tip sandwiches?

Does it work? Um, maybe, maybe not. We weren’t willing to try this – and we recommend you don’t either because apart from the sulfur content, matches contain poisonous chemicals that were not intended for ingestion. As far as home remedies for mosquito repellent go, this one is the most dangerous – just don’t do it. 

How easy is it? The eating part probably isn’t too tough, but the internal poisoning probably is. Skip this one.

Eat Garlic

garlic-mosquito-repellent

Mosquitoes are picky when it comes to scent and they loathe the smell of garlic, which is why garlic mosquito repellent is so popular for landscaping.

So the idea is that if we eat a lot of garlic, garlic oil will be released from our pores, effectively forming a sort of mosquito barrier on our skin.

Does it work? Maybe, if you’re willing to eat A LOT – seriously, a lot – of garlic on a daily basis.

How easy is it? If you love garlic, the eating part is easy. The tough part will be socializing.

Garlic Spray

Hmmm, now we’re talking. The potency of garlic without having to radiate it from our pores? Sounds good.

Plus, it’s so very easy to do – just peel and crush a few cloves of garlic and then boil them for about 20 minutes. This will produce some very pungent garlic water. Go ahead and pour it into a spray bottle and squirt it where the mosquitoes are.

Does it work? Yes, surprisingly well. Will your house smell of garlic. Yes, unsurpisingly so.

How easy is it? Super easy to do, but not so easy to tolerate the smell of garlic on your furniture, clothes, hair, etc.

Essential Oils

No list of home remedies for mosquitoes is complete without mention of DIY mosquito repellents – all of them which use a combination of essential oils to keep the pesky bloodsuckers away.

There’s been a huge boom in natural mosquito repellents lately, thanks to most of us becoming aware of how rubbing chemical toxins on our skin daily might not be the best idea…but can simple plant extracts and oils keep mosquitoes away?

Does it work? It depends which essential oils you choose, of course. But if you combine the most effective natural mosquito repellent ingredients, yes – it works.

How easy is it? Ridiculously easy. The whole making your own natural repellent for mosquitoes will take you, oh, about 5 minutes. 

Neem Oil

While we’re on the topic of oily things, let’s move onto neem oil. This stuff has made it onto a lot of ‘top home remedy’ lists – and it’s not surprising why ’cause it has a lot of benefits, one of which is that it’s a natural insecticide.

This has resulted in a bunch of natural sites that like to tell you that neem oil work…but what they don’t tell you is that this stuff is seriously stinky. Like, offensively stinky. Imagine a pair of moldy gym socks that’ve been left to stew in a locker all summer – neem oil smells slightly worse than that.

Does it work? It works well enough to keep the mosquitoes away, but it’ll also keep humans, animals, and anything else with an olfactory sense away as well. Even you’ll be holding you head up as high as you can, trying to avoid having to smell yourself.

Of all the mosquito repellent home remedies in the world, this has got to be the stinkiest. 

How easy is it? You just have to get some neem oil, dilute it with a carrier oil and then spritz it on yourself so the process is easy. What’s not easy is having to live with yourself afterwards.

Dish Soap

dish-soap-mosquito-repellent

Mosquitoes have some strange preferences. Beer, we understand, but a fatal attraction to dish soap?

Since mosquitoes seem to be drawn to liquid dish soap, the idea here is to use it as a mosquito distraction to keep them occupied while you get on with your life.

Does it work? Can you actually use dish soap to get rid of mosquitoes? No, it actually attracts mosquitoes. You see, a few squirts of dish soap in a cup or saucer will draw a crowd, which can be lead to a productive massacre. But it’s not so much a mosquito repellent as it is a mosquito attractant.

Plus, there’s nothing about dish soap that magically kills mosquitoes. To die, the mosquitoes will actually have to land in the soap, which coats them in a sticky film to prevent escape. Doesn’t always happen – actually, rarely happens. Which means you’ll just be attracting a whole lot of mosquitoes.

How easy is it? To squirt some dish soap onto a saucer? Easy peasy. To kill all the mosquitoes who’ve swarmed on over and haven’t drowned in the soap? Will take you some time (and possibly, bites).

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