6 Ways to Beat Mosquitoes Naturally

‘Tis the season for sunshine, barbecues, and mosquitoes.

Before you grab that DEET-based mosquito repellent in an effort to keep the mosquitoes at bay, consider that research at Duke University links diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET) use to brain damage —no wonder the mosquitoes leave at the first scent of it.  Perhaps we’d be wise to follow their lead and stay clear of the stuff.  Check out my article tomorrow on the dangers of DEET mosquitorepellents.

Here are six natural options that mosquitoes hate and you’ll soon love.  You don’t have to worry about DEET-induced brain cell damage or scratching yourself to death.  And, if you still think that natural means less effective, keep reading.  Some of these mosquito repellents are MORE EFFECTIVE THAN DEET!

1.  Citronella
The old standby.  Be sure you’re using pure essential oil, not fragrance oil, which is ineffective and potentially dangerous.  Most mosquito repellent products “containing citronella” are made with fragrance oil and should be avoided.  If you’re applying citronella to your skin, dilute it in a carrier oil or natural moisturizer.  A few drops per tablespoon of oil or cream is all that is needed.

2. Catnip
Research at Iowa State University found that catnip essential oil 10 is times more effective than DEET at repelling mosquitoes.  Mosquitoes will hate you and cats will love you.  Like citronella be sure to use it diluted in a carrier oil or natural moisturizer.

3. Lavender essential oil
Smells great and is a commonly used and effective mosquito repellent.

4. Soy oil
Better yet, choose organic soy oil as the carrier oil for catnip, lavender, and citronella essential oils.  According to research published in The New England Journal of Medicine soybean oil-based mosquito repellents are as effective as DEET-containing repellents.

5. NEEM seed oil
“Neem oil” is extracted from a plant that grows in India.  An ingredient in Neem seed oil has also been found to be more effective than DEET by researchers at the Malaria Institute in India.  Both the US National Research Council and the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association have confirmed this finding.

6. Garlic
Eat lots of fresh garlic—mosquitoes will steer clear of you since they hate the stuff.  As an added bonus, so will vampires.


Copyright Michelle Schoffro Cook


Ingrid H
Ingrid H4 months ago

thank you

Brett C
Brett Cloud4 months ago


Brett C
Brett Cloud4 months ago


Carl R
Carl R4 months ago


Rosslyn O
Rosslyn O4 months ago

We have about 20 or so Neem trees in and around our yard and they really do a wonderful job. as the leaves dry to yellow they keep many garden pests at bay as well. Sadly in our area of Nth Australia the trees don't live more than 12- 15 years which is sad, but I always have new ones on the go. I believe in India the can live for 200 years and have many medicinal qualities. The Neem oil is used a lot for gardening and personal use.

Naomi D
Naomi Dreyer4 months ago


Lawrence Dsouza
Lawrence D2 years ago

Handy tips.

Debbie Phillips
Debra Phillips2 years ago

I like #6 best.

DaleLovesOttawa O.

Recently saw my first mosquito of the season, now that it is finally Spring and many of these suggestions are helpful. Interesting comments.

Spiders are not overly fond of the scent of essential oils spritzed on patio areas outside either.

Glennis Whitney
Glennis W2 years ago

Great tips, Skin So Soft bath oil from Avon works wonders too, thank you for sharing