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How to Keep Mosquitoes Away: Natural Repellents For Mosquitoes That Work

Updated on July 12, 2017
Natural Repellents For Mosquitoes
Natural Repellents For Mosquitoes

Mosquito Season is Here

As the winter months give way to warmer days we know Summer is finally on her way. Long warm evenings are on the horizon; the BBQ is cleaned in preparation for a fine weekend; coats are pushed firmly to the back of wardrobes and for some of us, our ears are pricked in anticipation of the dreaded hum; the hum of the mosquito.

Fearing yet another Summer of being bitten to death we head to the stores and arm ourselves with every canister that promises to defend our skin against mosquitoes. We lace our food with enough garlic to bring down a platoon of vampires and smother ourselves in sticky, smelly repellent. Armed with a fly swat and clothed from head to toe we venture out into the great outdoors; the dangerous land of the mosquito. Having barely shut the back door we hear the hum; we feel the itch and yes, we've been bitten, the first of many bites to come and Summer has only just arrived.

Confuse The Nasty Buggers

Essential Oils That Repell Mosquitoes
Essential Oils That Repell Mosquitoes

Did You Know, Mosquitoes are Attracted to Certain Skin Scents?

While some of us mere mortals seem to attract every mosquito within a hundred mile radius others of us hardly ever get bitten. Studies have shown that mosquitoes are attracted to certain skin scents. While I don't claim to know in debt knowledge of these studies I can honestly say: "No sh*t Sherlock."

It seems I have the skin type that mosquitoes love; I'm the main meal while the rest of the family happily swan about completely oblivious to the horror I am subjected to; every Summer.

Sick and tired of being constantly nibbled on and the fact that it's not very healthy to use sprays around my baby daughter who of course doesn't get bitten either, I decided to try natural repellents; surprisingly there are definite positives and some great successes.

In fact I am that pleased with the results I have decided to share what works for me and a few other tips I picked up along the way.

Natural Repellents

Essential Oils And Plants That Repel Mosquitoes:

  • All Spice
  • Lemon Eucalyptus
  • Lemon Grass
  • Lavender
  • Citronella
  • Cinnamon
  • Caster
  • Cedar
  • Clove
  • Catnip
  • Basil
  • Geranium
  • Garlic
  • Peppermint
  • Pennyroyal
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Soy

Hints And Tips To Ward Off Mosquitoes:

Essential Oils:

I found the best way to repel mosquitoes using essential oils was to experiment a little; mixing a few different oils together and blending them with baby oil and using the mix as a moisturizer, rubbing gently into the skin. Lemon Eucalyptus and Catnip essential oils proved especially effective for my skin. I also found a few neat drops of Lavender dabbed behind my ears, wrists, knees and ankles worked as an efficient deterrent. I dropped a few Cinnamon sticks into a bottle of baby oil as an alternative; in case the buggers got used to the Lemon Eucalyptus and Catnip mixture.

The important thing to remember, we all have different skin types and it may be the reason why some oils and blends work for some and not for others hence the need to experiment a little to find out what works for you. Whether the oils actually work as a repellent or simply disguise skin odour, I'm not quite sure, but to be honest, as long as it works I'm happy to leave the chemistry to the scientists.


I invested in a few plants and placed them where I like to sit of an evening; Lavender and Citronella worked for me. I also hung hanging baskets with ordinary Mint and Basil in a few different locations; on the porch; over the main entrance; in the bathroom and by the kitchen window. I planted Rosemary around my little patio area too (my lamb chops have never tasted so good).

Mosquitoes Are Attracted To Carbon Dioxide:

After a little investigating I found that mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide, lighting a few candles to draw them away from you is a good plan.

Mosquitoes Are Drawn To Lactic Acid:

Mosquitoes are drawn to lactic acid. When you're hot you give off more lactic acid, you'll need to cool down before you relax for the evening; take a cold shower and maintain a cool body temperature.

Mosquitoes Love Black:

Unbelievably mosquitoes favorite colour is black. Neon clothing is the way to go if you want to be bite free this Summer. If you don't want to be reminded of the shocking colourful eighties, alternatively stick with white.

Mosquitoes Fancy Floral Fragrances:

Floral and fruity fragrances are a main attraction for the average mosquito; all those smelly perfumes, hair products, skin lotions and bath gels have to go. If your towels and bedsheets smell like a fresh Summer meadow it's time to change your fabric softener too.

Mosquitoes Love Moisture:

Moisture of any kind will attract mosquitoes; perspiration; humidity; the smallest amount of water, even tiny droplets from spraying your plants. Keep areas like your shower room dry; move your plants outside and again keep your body temperature as cool as possible.

Mosquitoes Love Moisture
Mosquitoes Love Moisture

My Personal Tips

Acording to mutiple studies mosquitoes bite mainly at dawn and at dusk; it seems the ones where I live are a study on to themselves.

They bite anytime and anywhere; literally. To give myself added protection I do the following, of course if all else fails you could always dress like a bee keeper.

  • When in the sun apply the sun lotion first and then the repellent.
  • Reapply after swimming.
  • Reapply every four hours or so.
  • Take a cold shower before you settle down for the evening; I mean a real cold shower.
  • Wear long narrow sleeves and trousers that fit tight to the ankle (a light material) on particularly hot evenings.
  • Cut down on foods with a high potassium and high sodium content; apparently mosquitoes are attracted to both. How I miss my salt and vinegar crisps and as for bananas; not in my smoothie.
  • Use white bed linen.
  • Use a mosquito bed canopy/net.
  • Buy products that have fragrances and extracts from the plants listed; cleaning products; air freshners; shower gels etc. My home smells like a cross between a cinnamon bun, a (clean) cat litter tray and a scented candle shop; quite pleasant really.
  • Hang door beads on doors you open and close regularly.

Once Bitten: Top Tip

Use Teebaum essential oil to ease the sting of the mosquito bite.

What Would You Do?

Would you use any of the tips suggested?

See results

© 2013 Gabriel Wilson


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    • Gabriel Wilson profile imageAUTHOR

      Gabriel Wilson 

      7 years ago from Madeira, Portugal

      Hi Strumrgrl, that must be torturous. Even a few hanging beads would help. Hope you have a bite free Summer :) and tanx for the advice too.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Love all the natural options for those pesky things. One thing I've found that After-Bite or Walgreens or other large pharmacy store brands help immediately following a bite. But not having a screened patio in south Florida at dusk next to our pool is torturous. I'm definitely going to try your suggestions. Great presentation of information. Thanks for sharing!

    • Gabriel Wilson profile imageAUTHOR

      Gabriel Wilson 

      7 years ago from Madeira, Portugal

      It's very difficult to get one solution; I will certainly update with any info once I have it. Tanx for your feedback :)

    • dilipchandra12 profile image

      Dilip Chandra 

      7 years ago from India

      It is important to guard ourselves from the mosquito bites. Very good hub, very informative and was well written. I voted it UP and shared.

    • Gabriel Wilson profile imageAUTHOR

      Gabriel Wilson 

      7 years ago from Madeira, Portugal

      Hi khmazz, it's worth experimenting with the different oils; it took a few mixes for me. I really think skin odour is what attracts mosquitoes and to mask that, you have to find the mix that works for you. Please let us know if you find the one for you and thank you for your comment :)

    • khmazz profile image

      Kristen Mazzola 

      7 years ago from South Florida

      I am a "Yes, I'll try anything, I get eaten alive" kind of person so thank you so much for this hub! I live in the everglades pretty much and I get bit at least once a day during rainy season which is hitting in full force right now! Sharing and voting up!


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