Can You DIY Mosquito Repellent?

Now that summer is in full swing, it’s peak mosquito season! If you spend any time at all outdoors—especially if you’re one of those people that mosquitoes love—you’re probably looking for a good mosquito repellent. You might even be wondering if you can DIY mosquito repellent.

There’s a lot of information out there about mosquito remedies. However, DIY and alternative remedies aren’t regulated. That means it’s hard to know whether you’re truly protected from annoying mosquito bites and dangerous mosquito-borne diseases.

Fortunately, the bug experts at ScherZinger are here to help. Today, we’re talking about common DIY and alternative mosquito repellents.

Which mosquito repellents actually work? Can you DIY your way to a mosquito-free summer? Keep reading to find out!

Skip These DIY & Alternative Mosquito Repellents

Essential Oil Blends

Many companies claim that certain oils–like citronella, lemongrass, rosemary, peppermint, and others–will repel mosquitoes. And because of a loophole in FDA regulations, they don’t have to prove they actually work!

Unfortunately, scientific testing has shown that essential oils just aren’t effective at repelling mosquitoes. (A number of studies have found that they evaporate quickly–under 20 minutes–and even when freshly applied, provide little to no protection.)

What’s more, they can irritate sensitive skin, cause allergic reactions, and can contain contaminants. If used undiluted directly on the skin, they can even cause phototoxicity. (This is when the oil reacts to the sun and causes your skin to get “sunburned.”)

That’s why we strongly recommend you skip essential oils (blended or undiluted) as a DIY mosquito repellent.

Patches & Wristbands

You can find lots of articles online touting the benefits of mosquito-repelling patches and wristbands. However, like essential oils, they simply don’t work. In fact, a 2017 study in the Journal of Insect Science found these wearable products made no significant difference in keeping mosquitoes away. (After all, even if they avoided the bracelet or patch, they could simply land anywhere else on your body.)

Save your time and money: don’t buy mosquito patches or wristbands, and don’t try to DIY them either.

Citronella Candles, Diffusers & Clip-on Foggers

These types of remedies differentiate themselves by promising that you don’t have to apply or wear anything to repel mosquitoes. You just have to light a candle or pop some essential oils into a diffuser, then enjoy your outdoor BBQ!

If only it were that easy! Like the other DIY and natural “repellents” mentioned above, these “remedies” simply don’t work. As we mentioned above, essential oils–even citronella oil–don’t provide protection from mosquitoes. Unfortunately, lighting a candle won’t protect your backyard.

Clip-on foggers can provide some protection if they use proven repellents; however, it’s not as much as repellent applied to the skin. That’s because foggers emit a mist around you, but that mist won’t follow you as you move around.

Get These Mosquito Repellents That Actually Work

Lots of blogs on the Internet recommend DIY mosquito repellent because of “terrible side effects” from DEET. They promise that the DIY version of mosquito repellant is “much safer.” However, that’s just not true!

If you want good protection against mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases, the best way to go is with a proven repellent. The most effective mosquito repellents are:

  • DEET
  • Picaridin
  • Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE, or known as PMD when made synthetically); recommended only for children ages 4 and up
  • Permethrin (to be used on clothes and shoes, not skin)

The bonus to the ingredients above is that they repel mosquitoes and ticks! (Ticks can carry Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.)

We understand the concern about certain chemicals. However, it’s important to note that DEET, Picaridin, and other mosquito repellants have been evaluated by the FDA for safety and have been used for decades. For example, DEET has had an extremely strong safety record. It’s been used for more than 60 years with very few reported issues.

As long as you follow the package directions of the mosquito and tick repellant (making sure you avoid your eyes), irritation is very rare.

The Only DIY We Recommend

So what can you do yourself to keep mosquitoes away?

If you are allergic or sensitive to any of the ingredients we mentioned above, there are a few other ways to protect yourself against mosquitoes:

  • Wear loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and long pants
  • If sleeping outside, use netting to cover your face and neck (or sleeping area)
  • Avoid using perfumes
  • Avoid standing water, which attracts mosquitoes
  • Try not to spend time outside at dusk, when mosquitoes are more active
  • If hosting a gathering outside, use tents and standing rotating fans to keep mosquitoes away

ScherZinger Is Here to Help

When it comes to mosquito repellents, it’s important to be sure you’re getting protection. The stakes are high: having no protection from mosquitoes increases your risk of being bitten and contracting a dangerous mosquito-borne illness like Zika or West Nile.

We want you to have a safe, happy, and mosquito-free summer!

If you need us, we’re here for you. For help getting rid of a mosquito problem in your yard, or any other pest problem this summer, call us today.

Contact Scherzinger Pest Control, a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton, OH, and now Columbus, OH. We’ve been pioneers, engineering new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or through our websiteFacebook, or Twitter.