If there’s one thing that all of humanity can universally agree upon, it’s this: mosquitoes are crazy annoying. And not only are they annoying, but they’re also dangerous.
In fact, they’re known to be the most dangerous animal on earth.
Thanks to our ever-pressing need to keep these little buggers away from us, there exists a burgeoning industry of effective mosquito repelling products.
The only problem is – many of these products aren’t just toxic to mosquitoes, they’re pretty toxic for humans, too.
If you’d like to keep mosquitoes and toxins away from your skin, not to mention your child’s – rejoice ’cause there’s a bevy of natural mosquito repellents out there.
Here are your best options to stay mosquito- and toxin-free!
Most Effective Natural Mosquito Repellent Ingredients
Guess what? Just ’cause it’s natural – it doesn’t mean it’s not effective. In fact, some of the best natural mosquito repellents work even better than DEET minus the toxins.
Even better news? These natural mosquito repellents are essential oils and plant extracts that are safe for your skin, children and pets so you don’t have to worry about toxic chemicals as you use them. Here’s the best all-natural ingredients to look for when choosing a natural repellent for mosquitoes:
- Lemon eucalyptus – get it here! You’ll find this on the ingredient list on the most effective natural mosquito repellents for good reason – it works. And it’s not just anecdotal evidence, ‘though there’s plenty of that – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has approved eucalyptus oil as an effective mosquito repellent and a recent study shows that a mixture of just 32% lemon eucalyptus oil gave more than 95% protection against mosquitoes for up to three hours. Amazing, but there’s one downside – it’s not recommended for children under 3.
- Citronella – get it here! The ingredient most people associate with natural mosquito repellents and for good reason – it was shown to be one of the most effective essential oils against mosquitoes. Go for repellents with at least 10% citronella. It’s also better when combined with another ingredient – citronella oil combined with vanilla extract was shown to provide complete repellency at least 3 hours.
- Lemongrass – get it here! In one study, lemongrass was found to be an effective insecticide against 3 species of mosquitoes.
- Catnip – get it here! Your cat loves it and mosquitoes hate it. One study found that catnip oil keeps mosquitoes away for two to three hours while researchers from Iowa State University found catnip to be 10 times more effective than DEET at repelling mosquitoes!
- Thyme – get it here! One of the best natural ingredients to protect against malarial mosquitoes, one study found that 5% thyme oil on the skin of hairless mice gave them a 91% protection rate.
- Cinnamon – get it here! Not only does this smell delicious, it’s been shown to be a potent mosquito larvae killer as well as an effective repellent against the Asian tiger mosquito.
Peppermint oil, Clove oil, Patchouli oil, and Cedarwood oil are also amongst the most effective natural mosquito repellents and have been found to repel malarial, filarial, and yellow fever mosquitoes for up to 3 hours.
Soybean oil is another natural mosquito repellent that’s been shown to provide longer lasting protection from mosquitoes, according to the University of Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory. Use it together with the essential oils above – a simple combination of lemongrass and soybean oils has been found to guard against multiple species of mosquitoes.
You’ll also find Lavender oil in a lot of natural mosquito repellents and it is a soothing, relaxation-promoting, all-natural way to keep mosquitoes away but keep in mind that lavender is not enough on its own – it’s best combined with other, more potent mosquito repelling ingredients.
Okay, now that you know which ingredients are the best, let’s look at our top picks for natural mosquito repellents!
Best Natural Mosquito Repellents
#1. Badger Anti-Bug Balm
We love the Badger Balm – both for their sunscreens and their insect repellents. We actually sort of stumbled upon this balm while looking for an all-natural sunscreen for a family vacation to the tropics.
There was a sunscreen plus insect repellent option so we opted for that and quickly noticed that the mosquitoes stayed away from us, even without an additional insect repellent!
Which led us to ordering Badger’s Anti-Bug Balm a few months later when peak mosquito season hit – and we loved it.
It’s made of 100% organic ingredients, it smells lovely (not overwhelming at all), it doesn’t stain clothes, and best part? It’s actually long lasting. No, you don’t have to re-apply every 30 minutes – this stuff stays on you for at least a few hours.
The only thing you really want to watch for is that you’re really covered in the stuff. Apply this balm on all of your “heat points” like around your wrists, inner elbows, etc – because remember, body heat is one of the ways mosquitoes find you and also their favorite places to bite you.
To make sure you’re totally covered – either generously spread the balm on your exposed areas or get the corresponding Badger Balm’s Anti-Bug Spray to spritz the hard-to-reach places.
Mosquitoes will hate you this summer 🙂
#2. Herbal Armor All Terrain Natural Insect Repellent
This stuff is potent. Possibly because it uses a proprietary blend of six natural mosquito repellent oils at 25% total concentration – that’s quite solid protection.
Despite the potency, though, the stuff doesn’t smell too bad – more minty than anything.
Our favorite thing about this spray is that it’s water-resistant so it’s the repellent of choice for those who’re going to be engaging in sweat-producing activities. It also won’t stain your clothes or irritate your skin.
Herbal Armor’s spray also uses a patented time-release so that it’ll stay 100% effective for at least 2 hours and 95.8% effective for 3 hours, so you don’t have to re-apply every 30 minutes.
The only downside to this product is that it’s not a liquid spray – it’s more of a spray lotion, so you have to spray it and then rub it in, which can be a bit of a bother but it is worth it to stay bite-free!
#3. Skedattle Anti Bug Spray
This totally natural mosquito repellent is an oldie but a goodie. It’s formulated with a lovely-smelling blend of citronella, lemongrass and peppermint oils combined with vanillin and was found in independent lab tests to be 16 times as effective as DEET repellents.
We especially love the fact it’s got a pleasant scent (maybe because of the vanillin?) although it is quite strong.
It also feels nice on your skin – no oily, greasy feeling.
This spray is eco-friendly and biodegradable so you don’t have to worry about applying it generously when you’re in nature – creeks, beaches, etc. – and it’s safe for your children and pets as well.
Overall, a great natural mosquito repellent.
Runner Up: Purple Prairie Natural Bug Spray
Made with a very potent blend of mosquito-repelling essential oils and plant extracts, including pretty much all of the heavy hitters – lemon eucalyptus, catnip, lemongrass, and peppermint.
So it goes without saying that this bug spray does a great job keeping mosquitoes away.
We especially like the fact that the base for this bug spray is witch hazel and water, instead of alcohol, which means it’s gentle on sensitive skin and perfect for kids as well. All the ingredients check out, as well – the EWG gives everything a “0,” which is the safest rating.
The only downside is that the scent can be really strong…and it wears off relatively quickly so you’ll have to reapply quite frequently (when you notice the scent is wearing off).
As much as we love the convenience of ready-made natural mosquito repellents, it must be pointed out that what works great for one person may not work great for another. We all have different body chemistries and some essential oils will work better for you than others.
Which is why it makes sense to customize your repellent to best suit you. Don’t think you have the time or energy to be making homemade concoctions? The good news is that making your own DIY natural mosquito repellent is easy as hell and it’ll take all of…5 minutes to do.