Homemade Mosquito Repellents – Are They Worth the Time & Effort?


During the spring and summer months, mosquitoes can be a real problem for people trying to enjoy the nice weather. There are a variety of homemade mosquito repellents you can make, which are safer than the chemical alternatives. We’re going to delve into some of these homemade mosquito repellents and tell you whether or not they are genuinely worth your time to put together to alleviate mosquitoes.

Homemade Mosquito Repellent Considerations

Before making your own homemade mosquito repellent, there are some precautions and things you should consider. The first precaution you need to take is that you need to ensure the product is not going to give you an allergic reaction. Always test products first on a small spot of your skin before you douse yourself with that product. Look out for the warning signs of an allergic reaction such as swelling or hives before you fully apply any product.

You also want to ensure that the product is being used correctly and safely for the best effectiveness. This means combining products like essential oils with a base oil, such as almond oil, olive oil, or another type of oil before you use the product on yourself. It’s also a good idea to check whether or not the product you are using is safe around children or pets if you have either of those in your household.

Effectiveness of DIY Mosquito Repellents

According to the CDC, there are five different ingredients that will provide reasonable protection against mosquitoes: Deet, IR3535, Picaridin, lemon eucalyptus oil, and 2-undecanone.

Using Essential Oils to Deter Mosquitoes

While using essential oils can actually be a great natural repellent to deter mosquitoes, it doesn’t offer long-lasting protection once it’s in diluted form. If the essential oils are not properly diluted then they can be highly toxic. It’s important to remember that being natural doesn’t always mean it’s safe, so essential oils and other natural repellents should be used with caution.

Essential oils can also be toxic to pets, with certain types causing kidney or liver failure in pets. This is true especially if ingested or placed onto their skin. Before you use essential oils to deter the mosquitoes, ensure the product you are using is safe around pets if you have furry household members. It’s also a good idea to only purchase essential oils from a reputable source, since getting a fake or faulty product could endanger you or those around you.

DIY Mosquito Repellents that May Offer Protection

For people who want to try their own mosquito repellents, there are some methods out there that might work. These mosquito repellent methods are all-natural which means that they don’t contain any harsh chemicals, although some risk is still present because all-natural doesn’t always mean completely safe. As with all types of mosquito repellent, you should take precautions using any of these methods.

1. Lemon Eucalyptus Oil Spray

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has approved the use of eucalyptus oil as a fairly effective way to combat mosquitoes. It makes an effective mosquito repellent and it’s one of the most well-known natural ways to deter mosquitoes. Take 1 part lemon eucalyptus oil and combine it with 10 parts of either witch hazel or sunflower oil.

There are some precautions you should take with this homemade repellent, such as you should not use this repellent on a child under the age of 3. You also will need to spot-test on your skin first and wait two hours before applying more to ensure you’re not allergic. As with most essential oils, combine with a carrier oil and never just put the oil itself onto your skin.

2. Tea Tree Oil Spray

Tea tree oil spray is an effective insect repellent and it will help kill and deter mosquitoes. Tea tree oil specifically is known for having anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antimicrobial properties, which means it has many different health uses. If you do get bitten and are already itching, you also can apply the tea tree oil to those affected areas for instant relief from the bite.

As with all essential oils, never place the oil itself onto your skin and always mix with a carrier oil. You also should not use this product on children under 3. Before spraying yourself with this mixture, do a spot-test first to ensure you are not allergic to the tea tree oil.

3. Thyme Oil Spray

You make your own Thyme Oil Spray by mixing together 5 drops of Thyme oil with 2 ounces of water. It’s important to note that you should be aware of the potential risks of making thyme oil spray. For starters, essential oils are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, which means you could end up buying a faulty or fake product.

You also could end up with an allergic reaction from the essential oils, so spot-test the spray first and wait a couple hours to see if you end up with hives or other indications of an allergic reaction before spraying more. Lastly, essential oil alone should never be placed right onto your skin and you need to dilute it with a carrier oil like olive oil or almond oil before placing onto your skin.

Does Mouthwash/Listerine Kill Mosquitoes?

Mouthwash or Listerine in particular is not going to work at killing off mosquitoes. A lot of people think this but it’s false, although if directly sprayed onto a mosquito, it might kill it. If mouthwash did work at killing mosquitoes, it would not be long-lasting or very effective overall.

The main reason it doesn’t work well is that it only contains small amounts of eucalyptol. There are several eucalyptus-based mosquito repellents on the market that do work, but the concentrations are much higher at around 75 percent. When you look at mouthwash, typically the eucalyptol is less than 1 percent in concentration. It’s best to just not even try the mouthwash as a repellent since it’s basically a waste of time and money.

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