6 Natural Mosquito Repellents

Recent studies have linked DEET-based mosquito repellents to brain and neurological damage. So how do you avoid the mosquitoes and the dangerous effects of DEET? While Mother Nature offers dozens of different options, here are some of my top natural mosquito repellents:

1. Citronella—the old standby—use only pure essential oil of citronella—not fragrance oil. Oils purchased in bulk for burning are not adequate for applying topically to your skin. For your skin it is best to get a high quality citronella essential oil from a natural food store.

2. Soy oilThe New England Journal of Medicine reported that natural repellents made of soybean oil are just as effective as DEET-containing repellents. Soy oil is inexpensive and easy to find, making it an excellent choice. Plus, it is an excellent body moisturizer. As an aside, research shows that an ingredient in soy can slow the growth of body hair when applied topically. Choose organic soy oil if possible.

3. Catnip—an Iowa State University research group showed that the essential oil found in the herb catnip is about 10 times more effective than DEET in repelling mosquitoes in the laboratory.

Discover the mosquito repellent that the US National Research Council states is more effective than DEET…

4. NEEM seed oil, or “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.

5. Lavender essential oil smells great and is a commonly used and effective mosquito repellent.

6. Garlic—eat lots of fresh garlic—mosquitoes can’t stand the stuff.

I mix some of the essential oils into an unscented and natural moisturizer which I rub onto my skin prior to heading outdoors. There are likely some pre-made products with these ingredients at your local health food store.

DEET Mosquito Repellents Linked to Brain Damage
7 Quick Fixes for Mosquito Bites
10 Summer Hazards to Avoid

Adapted with permission from World’s Healthiest News by Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD. Subscribe to my free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow me on Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook.

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Jonathan Harper
Jonathan Harper10 months ago


Darren Woolsey
Darren Woolseyabout a year ago

Useful to know

Dale O.
DaleLovesOttawa O.about a year ago

Always good to know and the cat that owns me is purrfectly delighted about the news about catnip.

Karen Everton
Karen E.about a year ago

this is very helpful, thank you

Belinda isKindToAnimals
Past Member about a year ago


Belinda isKindToAnimals
Past Member about a year ago


Jordan G.
Jordan G.about a year ago

Never enough ideas as to how to repel mosquitoes.

Erin H.
Erin H.about a year ago

Interesting article, thank you!

Nils Anders Lunde
Nils Anders Lundeabout a year ago


KAREN L.about a year ago

thank you