Best Mosquito Repellents and Natural Alternatives


When summer comes around, I always get targeted by mosquitoes. Mosquito repellents are as essential to me as ice cream is to all of you. This article introduces various mosquito repellents and bug products commonly used in the United States, such as mosquito repellent sprays, insect repellent devices, mosquito coils (including electric mosquito coils), citronella oil mosquito lamps, and UV mosquito lamps.

Common Ingredients in Mosquito Repellents

In mosquito repellents registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), most of them contain DEET, followed by Picaridin and IR3535.

Active IngredientTypeDuration
40%-98.5% DEETChemical8-10 hours
20% PicaridinChemical8 hours
Oil of Lemon EucalyptusSynthetic Oil6 hours
IR3535Synthetic Oil4-8 hours
Non-synthetic Plant OilNon-synthetic0.5-2 hours
  1. DEET, also known as N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide, was initially developed by the United States Department of Agriculture for military use in field operations. It was registered with the EPA as an insect repellent in 1957 and became available for civilian use. Currently, it is the most widely used mosquito repellent on the market and provides relatively long-lasting protection, making it suitable for areas with a high mosquito population. There have been no studies indicating long-term harm from using DEET on the human body. However, since it is a chemical compound, it may cause skin and eye irritation, especially for individuals with sensitive skin. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children should not use mosquito repellent products with a DEET concentration exceeding 30%. Before using any mosquito repellent on infants or young children, it is advisable to consult with a pediatrician.
  2. Picaridin, introduced in 2005, has been on the market for a relatively shorter period of time. Currently, there are no reports indicating adverse effects from long-term use. It provides similar efficacy and duration compared to DEET at the same concentration, with less irritation to the skin and eyes.
  3. Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, as the name suggests, is a synthetic oil extracted from lemon eucalyptus trees. It also has mosquito-repellent properties, but its effective duration is shorter than that of DEET and Picaridin. Note: The EPA states that children under the age of 3 should not use oil of lemon eucalyptus.
  4. IR3535, introduced to the United States from Europe in 1999, provides relatively shorter protection. Like DEET, it may cause skin and eye irritation.

5 Safety Tips for Mosquito Repellent

1. Apply sunscreen before using mosquito repellent.

If you want to enjoy the sun, apply sunscreen first to create a protective barrier on your skin before using mosquito repellent. The CDC does not recommend using products that combine sunscreen and mosquito repellent because the effectiveness of sunscreen wears off faster than that of mosquito repellent. It is more important to reapply sunscreen frequently than to reapply mosquito repellent. After applying sunscreen, you may not need to reapply mosquito repellent unless you see mosquitoes starting to bite.

2. Apply or spray evenly, but not excessively.

Many mosquito repellents come in aerosol or spray bottles. Shake the bottle before use and spray from a distance of 4-8 inches onto exposed skin or clothing. Avoid contact with wounds, eyes, mouth, and mucous membranes, and use sparingly around the ears. Use in well-ventilated areas and avoid inhaling mosquito spray.

3. Do not spray repellent inside clothing.

Spraying the outside of clothing provides added protection, but there is no need to spray repellent inside clothing. Test in an inconspicuous area first to avoid discoloration.

4. Do not let children apply repellent themselves.

Adults should apply the repellent to their hands and then apply it to children’s bodies. Do not apply directly to children’s hands to prevent ingestion. Mosquito repellents should not be used on babies under two months old.

5. Reapply only when necessary.

A higher concentration of mosquito repellent does not mean it is more effective; it simply means it lasts longer. Generally, a 7% DEET repellent lasts about two hours, while a 25% DEET repellent can last up to eight hours. The duration may vary depending on individual factors and the environment. You should only reapply when necessary, such as when you start to feel mosquitoes landing on your skin.

Best Mosquito Repellent Sprays

1. OFF! Deep Woods Insect Repellent Spray

Off Deep Woods Insect Repellent 6 Ounce Spray (2 Pack)
1,075 Reviews

OFF! Deep Woods insect repellent is widely available and easy to find. This spray contains 25% DEET and provides up to 8 hours of protection, making it suitable for areas with a high mosquito population.

2. Cutter Backwoods Insect Repellent Spray

Cutter Backwoods Insect Repellent (2 Count), Mosquito Repellent, 25% DEET, Sweat Resistent, 11 Ounce (Aerosol Spray)
4,754 Reviews

Cutter Backwoods insect repellent comes in an aerosol spray and contains 25% DEET. It has a sweat-resistant formula that effectively repels mosquitoes, ticks, biting flies, chiggers, gnats, and fleas. It is great for hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities.

3. Ben’s 30% Deet Insect Repellent Spray

Ben's 30% DEET Mosquito, Tick and Insect Repellent, 3.4 Ounce Pump
1,012 Reviews

Ben’s 30% Deet insect repellent contains 30% DEET and provides up to 8 hours of protection. It is suitable for outdoor use and effective against mosquitoes that transmit diseases such as Zika. If children use it, parents should help apply it and avoid direct spraying on children.

4. Sawyer Premium Insect Repellent

Sawyer Products SP564 Premium Insect Repellent with 20% Picaridin, Lotion, 4-Ounce
14,553 Reviews

Sawyer Premium insect repellent contains 20% Picaridin and effectively repels mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects for up to 14 hours. It offers protection against Zika transmission. This product has high sales and ratings on Amazon and is available in lotion, spray, and various sizes, including a convenient 0.5oz mini spray for easy carrying.

5. REPEL Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Insect Repellent Spray

Repel Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent 4 Ounces, Repels Mosquitoes Up To 6 Hours, Oil,Spray
30,808 Reviews

REPEL Lemon Eucalyptus natural insect repellent contains 30% Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus and provides up to 6 hours of mosquito protection. Although it has a shorter duration compared to the previous options, it has high sales and ratings. It does not contain DEET, making it a good choice for those concerned about chemical ingredients.

6. California Baby Natural Blend Bug Repellent Spray

California Baby Natural Bug Repellent Spray | Citronella & Lemongrass Bug Spray | DEET-Free | Repels Mosquitoes | Allergy Friendly | Great...
1,608 Reviews

California Baby Natural Blend bug repellent spray is made with plant-based ingredients, including lemongrass, cedar, and citronella. It is a bit pricey but has good sales and ratings on Amazon. Its natural formula is its highlight. Although it is recommended for babies six months and older, it is advisable for parents to conduct a patch test on a small area of the baby’s skin before use.

Best Mosquito Repellent Bracelets

1. Cliganic Mosquito Repellent Bracelet

Cliganic 10 Pack Mosquito Repellent Bracelets, DEET-Free Bands, Individually Wrapped (Packaging May Vary)
22,205 Reviews
Cliganic Mosquito Repellent Bracelet

Made from essential oils (lemongrass oil, citronella oil, and geraniol) and free of DEET, this waterproof bracelet is perfect for outdoor activities. Each pack contains 10 individually packaged bracelets.

2. BuggyBands Mosquito Repellent Bracelet

BuggyBands Mosquito Bracelets, 24 Pack Individually Wrapped, DEET Free, Natural and Waterproof Band
2,735 Reviews
BuggyBands Mosquito Repellent Bracelet

Made with 100% natural ingredients and without DEET, these bracelets are crafted from geraniol oil, lemongrass oil, and citronella oil. They are made of high-quality EVA material, which makes them soft, flexible, easy to wear, and durable. They can be worn on hair, wrists, and ankles.

Best Mosquito Patches

1. BuzzPatch Kids Mosquito Patch

NATPAT Buzz Patch Mosquito Patch Stickers for Kids (60 Pack) - The Original All Natural Citronella Essential Oil Insect Patch, Plant Based...
8,317 Reviews
BuzzPatch Kids Mosquito Patch

These mosquito patches are made from all-natural plant-based ingredients. The non-woven fabric patches use medical-grade adhesive. They are child-friendly and parent-approved: kids love the colorful and cute smiley face designs, while parents appreciate the absence of harmful chemicals.

2. RiptGear Mosquito Patch

RiptGear Mosquito Patches - 78 Pack of Bug Stickers for Kids and Adults, Natural Citronella Patch Sticks to Any Surface - DEET Free Mosquito...
6,861 Reviews
RiptGear Mosquito Patch

These patches are made with all-natural plant-based ingredients and are suitable for children and adults. They can be attached to various surfaces such as clothes, tables, backpacks, and even strollers.

Best Mosquito Coils

1. W4W Mosquito Coil

W4W Mosquito Repellent Coils - Outdoor Use Reaches Up to 10 feet - Each Burns for 5-7 Hours (Three Pack Contains 12 coils & 6 Stands)
6,403 Reviews
W4W Mosquito Coil

Though old-fashioned, it is effective and can be used outdoors with little or no wind. Each coil burns for 5-7 hours, and one coil is placed every 10 feet.

2. OFF! Mosquito Coil

OFF! Mosquito Coil Refills 6 Count (Pack of 2)
3,749 Reviews
OFF! Mosquito Coil

Provides up to 4 hours of mosquito protection and is suitable for use in porches, patios, and other slightly breezy areas.

3. Portable Mosquito Coil Holder

W4W, Portable Mosquito Coil Holder - Mosquito Coil & Incense Burner for Outdoor use, Pool Side, Patio, Deck, Camping, Hiking, etc......
4,171 Reviews
Portable Mosquito Coil Holder

Includes a set of 2 mosquito coil holders, each measuring 5.35 inches, capable of accommodating most spiral mosquito coils.

7 Mosquito Control Devices for Yards

1. DynaTrap DT2000XLP-TUNSR Large Mosquito and Fly Insect Trap

DynaTrap DT2000XLP-TUNSR Large Mosquito & Flying Insect Trap – Kills Mosquitoes, Flies, Wasps, Gnats, & Other Flying Insects – Protects...
2,255 Reviews
DynaTrap DT2000XLP-TUNSR Large Mosquito and Fly Insect Trap

This large mosquito and fly insect trap provides effective protection for up to 1 acre of area. It attracts and captures mosquitoes, biting flies, house flies, moths, unseen insects, June bugs, wasps, yellow jackets, stink bugs, gnats, and biting midges.

2. Thermacell E55 Rechargeable Mosquito Repeller

Thermacell E55 E-Series Rechargeable Mosquito Repeller with 20' Mosquito Protection Zone; Graphite; Includes 12-Hr Repellent Refill; Bug...
21,300 Reviews
Thermacell E55 Rechargeable Mosquito Repeller

This rechargeable mosquito repeller creates a 20-foot mosquito protection zone, making it ideal for backyards, poolside areas, patios, and more. The E55 is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that provides 5.5 hours of continuous mosquito protection on a single charge. With its rechargeable battery source, longer-lasting repellent supply, and user-friendly interface, the E55 is easier to use compared to other yard mosquito repellents.

3. Thermacell MR450 Portable Mosquito Repeller

Thermacell Mosquito Portable Adventure Repeller; Includes 12-Hour Refill & Belt Clip; 15 Foot Zone of Protection; Effective Mosquito...
22,162 Reviews
Thermacell MR450 Portable Mosquito Repeller

This portable mosquito repeller creates a 15-foot mosquito protection zone. If you prefer a more durable and portable mosquito repeller, the MR450 is a great choice. It is compact, lightweight, and rugged, designed to clip onto backpacks. Powered by a compact 12-hour fuel cartridge, it repels annoying mosquitoes without smoke, flames, or citronella oil. It uses a naturally derived repellent based on plant discoveries and is EPA reviewed.

4. Thermacell Radius Zone Mosquito Repeller

Thermacell Mosquito Repellent Radius Zone, Gen 2.0, Rechargeable; Includes 12-Hour Mosquito Repellent Refill; No Candle or Flame, Easy to...
8,793 Reviews
Thermacell Radius Zone Mosquito Repeller

Provides a 15-foot protection zone. Easy to use with just the push of a button to repel mosquitoes. TSA-approved for travel. Powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that offers 6.5 hours of mosquito protection on a single charge. Each replaceable repellent cartridge provides up to 40 hours of protection. Smoke-free, flame-free, odor-free, citronella-free, and no need to apply chemicals to the skin. EPA reviewed. 2-year warranty/3-year extended warranty.

5. Flowtron BK-40D UV Insect Killer

Flowtron Bug Zapper, 1 Acre of Outdoor Coverage with Powerful 40W Bulb & 5600V Instant Killing Grid, Electric Insect, Fly & Mosquito Zapper,...
24,751 Reviews
Flowtron BK-40D UV Insect Killer

Non-toxic attractant + high-intensity UV light attract and kill insects such as mosquitoes, flies, and other flying insects with a powerful electric grid. Covers up to 1 acre, providing reliable and effective indoor and backyard insect control. No chemicals, insecticides, or harmful sprays; the inner grid is enclosed in a plastic housing to prevent accidental contact. Weatherproof, durable, easy to clean—simply pull out the collection tray of the electric insect killer and empty it. Included brush enhances cleaning effectiveness. Can be placed on a flat surface or hung.

6. Livin’ Well 4000V High-Power Electric Bug Zapper

Livin' Well Bug Zapper Indoor Outdoor - 4000V High Powered Electric Mosquito Zapper Home Patio, 1,500 Sq Ft Range Fly Zapper Mosquito...
10,634 Reviews
Livin’ Well 4000V High-Power Electric Bug Zapper

Covers a defense range of up to 1,500 square feet, protecting indoor and outdoor living spaces from mosquito intrusion. Equipped with an 18-watt UVA bug light, galvanized steel insect grid, and bug zapper, it attracts, captures, and eliminates mosquitoes, flies, gnats, and more.

7. Outdoor Citronella Oil Mosquito Lamps (Set of 4)

BIRDROCK HOME 4-Pack Outdoor Oil Garden Torch | 60-inch Tall | Flame Torch Light | Backyard Outside Patio Lighting | Outdoor Decorative...
1,482 Reviews
Outdoor Citronella Oil Mosquito Lamps (Set of 4)

Made of durable premium iron material with an electroplated finish for extra wear, corrosion, and weather protection, ensuring a longer lifespan. The fiberglass wick provides hours of burning time. The wide-mouth design makes it convenient to add citronella oil without spillage. The wick cover easily extinguishes the flame after use and protects the wick. The bottom has stakes for easy placement in grass or on the beach.

Best Mosquito Bite Reliefs

After mosquito bites, you may experience itching. You can apply an ice pack or cold compress, or use over-the-counter anti-itch creams such as Hydrocortisone. You can also take over-the-counter antihistamines such as Loratadine for relief. As for skin swelling caused by mosquito bites, cold application with an ice pack or cold compress is usually sufficient.

1. SALLYE ANDER Don’t Bite Me Natural Insect Bite Relief Cream

Sallye Ander 'No-Bite-Me' All Natural Bug Repellent & Insect Repellent - Anti Itch Cream - Safe for Kids and Infants - Repels Mosquitoes,...
11,580 Reviews
SALLYE ANDER Don’t Bite Me Natural Insect Bite Relief Cream

Formulated with cedarwood oil, peppermint oil, lemongrass oil, geranium oil, and clove oil. Also contains thyme oil, rosemary oil, and eugenol. It needs to be reapplied every 4 hours and is effective against black flies, mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks. It is also touted as an effective anti-itch cream, with some reviews claiming it works better for itch relief than as a mosquito repellent.

2. Emu Joy Bug Bite Itch Relief Stick

Emu Joy On The Go Anti Itch Cream Stick - Burn Cream, Bug Bite Itch Relief First Aid Stick for Scratches, Stings, Burns, from Mosquito, Bed...
1,777 Reviews
Emu Joy Bug Bite Itch Relief Stick

This handy itch relief stick provides quick relief from pain and itching caused by mosquito bites. It can also soothe sunburns and be used as a first aid burn ointment.

3. Cortizone 10 Intensive Healing Anti-Itch Cream

Cortizone 10 Maximum Strength Plus Ultra Moisturizing Anti-Itch Cream, 1% Hydrocortisone, 2 oz.
12,602 Reviews
Cortizone 10 Intensive Healing Anti-Itch Cream

This moisturizing anti-itch cream offers fast relief from itching and provides hours of relief. It contains 10 moisturizing ingredients, including aloe, and 1% Hydrocortisone for effective relief. It is highly rated by many customers.

4. After Bite Insect Bite Relief Ointment

After Bite Kids Insect Bite Treatment – Gentle Anti-Itch Cream for Kids & Sensitive Skin
3,856 Reviews
After Bite Insect Bite Relief Ointment

For treating mosquito bites using natural remedies, you can use baking soda. One of the commonly used natural ointment brands is After Bite, which contains 5% baking soda as its active ingredient. Additionally, honey can help prevent infection and aloe vera can soothe the skin. Some people also use toothpaste, although the reasoning behind it is unclear, perhaps due to its cooling effect.

10 Mosquito Repellent Plants

If you’re tired of getting bitten and dealing with the hassle of mosquitoes, in addition to using mosquito repellent products, you can also consider planting effective mosquito-repelling plants to help keep mosquitoes away. Aromatic plants and herbs are the best mosquito-repelling plants because their scents are disliked by insects.

1. Lavender

Lavender is one of the most effective mosquito-repelling plants. Its fragrance is potent, and it can work without the need to crush and apply it directly to the skin. As a Mediterranean plant, lavender thrives in warm and dry summers, but it needs to be grown indoors in colder regions.

Sow Right Seeds - Lavender Seeds for Planting - Non-GMO Heirloom Packet with Instructions to Grow a Beautiful Indoor or Outdoor Herb Garden...
3,711 Reviews

2. Basil

As one of the spiciest culinary herbs, basil emits a strong aroma that can deter mosquitoes and flies.

Sow Right Seeds - Genovese Sweet Basil Seed for Planting - Heirloom, Non-GMO with Instructions to Plant and Grow a Kitchen Herb Garden -...
1,740 Reviews

3. Marigolds

In addition to their vibrant colors, marigolds have a unique scent that can repel mosquitoes and other garden pests. Marigolds are compact, making them suitable for growing in pots as annual plants.

Sow Right Seeds Crackerjack Marigold Seeds for Planting - Non-GMO Heirloom Seed Packet with Instructions - Companion Plant - Orange & Yellow...
950 Reviews

4. Rosemary

Rosemary releases its essential oils when burned, making it more effective as a mosquito repellent. So, when entertaining in your yard, try throwing a few sprigs of rosemary onto the grill or fire pit—it should help ward off those “blood-sucking” mosquitoes.

Gaea's Blessing Seeds - Rosemary Seeds - Heirloom Non-GMO Seeds with Easy to Follow Instructions 97% Germination Rate (Single Pack)
1,063 Reviews

5. Citronella Grass

Citronella grass is a popular choice for outdoor areas and entrances to homes, as it helps repel mosquitoes as well as other pests like aphids. Crushing citronella grass and applying it locally can repel mosquitoes. Citronella grass requires warmer temperatures to thrive, so if the weather is too cold, it should be grown indoors.

200 Pcs Citronella Plant Seeds Garden Home Plant Seeds, Fresh Garden Seeds Non-GMO
167 Reviews

6. Lemongrass

Lemongrass (or lemon-scented grass) is closely related to citronella grass and also contains oils disliked by mosquitoes. You can differentiate between the two plants by observing the base—lemongrass has a yellow-green color with a white base, while citronella grass has a pale red base.

Lemon Grass Seeds for Planting Outdoor - 250 Mg Packet - Non-GMO, Heirloom Culinary Herb Garden Lemongrass Seeds - Cymbopogon citratus
1,764 Reviews

7. Lemon Thyme

Lemon thyme is a citrus-scented plant that can be used outdoors or indoors to repel mosquitoes. Burning a few small sprigs is enough to keep mosquitoes away from the surrounding area. By the way, lemon thyme is one of the best herbs and adds delicious flavor when cooked with fish, chicken, and vegetables.

400 Lemon Thyme Seeds Flower Herb Seeds,Impressive Fast growing
68 Reviews

8. Mint

Mint is a versatile herb with various culinary and medicinal uses, known for its digestive properties. It has a strong scent and is also highly effective in deterring mosquitoes. Mint can be invasive at the root, so it’s often best to plant it in a pot.

Sow Right Seeds - Mint Seed for Planting - Non-GMO Heirloom Packet with Instructions to Plant an Herbal Tea Garden - Indoors or Outdoor -...
3,683 Reviews

9. Catmint

Mosquitoes dislike catmint, and it’s very easy to grow. You can make your own mosquito repellent by cutting its flowers and boiling them.

Seed Needs, Catmint Seeds for Cats - 600 Heirloom Seeds for Planting Nepeta mussinii - Perennial Flowering Medicinal Herb Non-GMO &...
258 Reviews

10. Alliums

Plants from the allium family, such as onions and garlic, emit a smell that effectively repels various garden pests, including mosquitoes.

VAACNEE 250+Garlic Chives Seeds (Allium tuberosum) Chinese Chives Vegetable Seeds
20 Reviews

7 Tips to Create a Mosquito-Free Home

1. Prevent mosquitoes from entering your home

If you want a mosquito-free home, the first step is to make sure mosquitoes don’t get inside. When the sun goes down, be sure to tightly close all doors and windows, as mosquitoes are more active after dusk. You can purchase door strips to seal gaps around doors and windows or invest in a magnetic screen door for added protection, like the one in the video below.

Flux Phenom Magnetic Screen Door
73,777 Reviews
$21.99 at Amazon

2. Prevent mosquito breeding in your home

Mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water, so it’s important to focus on cleaning areas with standing water in your home, such as radiator trays, water basins, floor drains, kitchens, curtains, balconies, and potted plants. Keeping your surroundings clean and dry can effectively prevent mosquito breeding.

3. Plant mosquito-repellent plants

One simple way to get rid of mosquitoes is by growing mosquito-repellent plants indoors. You can place them in your rooms or even on your office desk. Examples include lemongrass, basil, marigold, and others. These plants emit odors that mosquitoes dislike, thus achieving the purpose of repelling them. Some plants can even ward off other pests and even mice! Detailed information about using plants as mosquito repellents is provided later in the article.

Mosquitoes dislike the smell of citronella, which is a natural component found in lemongrass. Image: Outsidepride at Amazon

4. Place lemon slices and cloves around your house

Mosquitoes dislike cloves and anything citrus-scented, so cutting a lemon in half and inserting cloves into it creates a natural and harmless indoor mosquito repellent.

Whole Cloves
Image: Anthony’s Store at Amazon

5. Use garlic spray for mosquito control

If you prefer not to use mosquito sprays containing chemicals, you can consider making a simple DIY garlic spray. Crush or chop several cloves of garlic, boil them in water for a while, and then pour the solution into a spray bottle to spray around your house, driving away mosquitoes indoors.

Garlic is a natural mosquito repellent readily available in your kitchen
Image: Picas Joe at Pexels

6. Place a dish of soapy water

You can place a large dish of soapy water indoors to control mosquitoes that are constantly buzzing around. To ensure the dish has enough soap scent, you can use dish soap or detergent as the ingredient. Here’s how it works: mosquitoes are attracted to the water, and once they land on the soapy water, they become trapped in the bubbles and eventually killed.

7. Place a cup of beer or other alcoholic beverages

Mosquitoes can’t stand the smell of alcohol. Placing a cup of beer or other alcoholic beverages at home can also serve as a mosquito repellent.

Derek Yang

I’m an immigrant living with my family in a small town on the East Coast. I love classical music, enjoy a good cup of coffee, and have a soft spot for BMWs. I believe in lifelong learning and look forward to connecting with you to share our life experiences. Twitter @mrderekyang.

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