Top 5 Natural Mosquito Repellents that Really Work

Many years ago I stood outdoors with a group of people and within two minutes was swarmed by mosquitoes while the others were almost completely unaffected. After making my escape indoors, a quick count showed that in less than two minutes I had a whopping thirteen bites while the others in the group had one or none at all. I quickly realized that when invited to outdoor events, I function as the mosquito bait so others are less affected by the little pests.

My role as mosquito bait combined with my desire for natural living led me to research DEET-alternatives that really work. Like most people, I already knew about citronella oil and garlic, neither of which seemed to work that well for me and knew there must be natural remedies that are even more effective. Here are my top 5 research-proven mosquito repellents that really work:

Vetiver Essential Oil
In a study published in the medical publication Journal of Vector Ecology, researchers compared several natural plant-derived essential oils to DEET-based or picaridin-based chemical mosquito repellents, as well as insecticides known to kill mosquitoes. They found that vetiver was more effective than any of the chemical repellents or insecticides at repelling mosquitoes. It repelled more than 95 percent of a particular species of mosquito, which was significantly more than the other products tested.

Catnip Essential Oil
While catnip may attract cats from wide-reaching places driving them wild with ecstasy, it has quite the opposite effect on mosquitoes, sending them flying in the opposite direction. According to the Journal of Vector Ecology study, catnip was comparable to DEET and the insecticide chemicals used against mosquitoes but was actually more effective than either chemical against some types of mosquitoes. Other research published in Science Daily found that catnip is actually ten times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET.

Hairy Basil Essential Oil
A specific type of basil oil, this particular essential oil was found in the same study to repel mosquitoes as quickly as DEET-based repellents. In another study published in the same journal, researchers found that hairy basil oil repelled mosquitoes faster than any other substance tested.

Lemongrass Essential Oil
Research shows that lemongrass essential oil is also highly effective at repelling mosquitoes.

Neem Essential Oil
Earlier research published in the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association found that two percent of neem oil mixed in coconut oil as a carrier oil is effective against mosquitoes for twelve hours before it needs to be reapplied. Compare that to new research which shows that within three hours of exposure to DEET repellents, mosquitoes have become desensitized and are no longer repelled by DEET. In other words, even reapplication of DEET after three hours is unlikely to be effective if the same mosquitoes are lurking around.

How to Use:

To use the essential oils above, add 10 drops to 4 ounces of the carrier oil of your choice, including: sweet almond, apricot kernel, grapeseed, or coconut oil. If you have sensitive skin, it is always wise to do a test patch on the inside of your wrist before applying it in larger amounts on your body. Wait at least 24 hours to determine whether you might have an allergy to the oil. Most people donít have any allergy issues with these oils but itís better to check first. Apply the oil mixture to any exposed areas prior to going outdoors. Reapply as necessary.

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Jan S
Jan Sabout a month ago

Thanks for sharing

Jan S
Jan Sabout a month ago

Thanks for sharing

Kelly S
Past Member about a year ago


Fi T.
Past Member 3 years ago

No chemicals are needed

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus C3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Angela K.
Angela K3 years ago

Thank you

Dorlinda Chong
Dorlinda Chong3 years ago

Hairy Basil oil? I've never even heard of hairy basil. Google, here I come.

Aasim Ahmed
Aasim Ahmed3 years ago



heather g.
heather g3 years ago

I'm having trouble finding Vetiver in our smallish town.

Remember, a crushed aspirin put on a bite will stop the pain and itch.