There’s no need to mince words here – no one likes mosquitoes. After all, when we hear their tell-tale buzzing in our ears, we know they’re coming to feast on us. Worse still, when we don’t hear them, we’ll almost certainly end up suffering from their vicious bites. Now you might consider slathering on a chemical-laden mosquito repellent (and coughing a little in the process). But alternatively, it might be worth considering something homemade to get rid of the insects once and for all. Think of it perhaps, as constructing your own habitual mosquito net. So here are 20 of the most unexpected repellents you probably have laying around at home right now. What’s more, we tell you how to use them.
Whether you have a garden or a hefty supply of essential oils, you might want to dig out some lavender. That’s because the flower gives off both a fragrance and an oil that mosquitoes don’t like, keeping them at bay. Plus, lavender has antiseptic and analgesic properties, thus soothing the skin when applied, too.
Now you have multiple options for creating your own lavender-based mosquito repellent. According to healthline, if you’ve planted the flowers, pluck them, then crush them up. Then the resulting oil can go on your ankles, arms and any other areas prone to bites. Alternatively, you can also use a premade essential oil. Yes, try pouring it onto a washcloth, then gently rubbing it into your skin in the aforementioned spots.
19. Coconut oil and peppermint oil
It seems as though coconut oil’s everywhere these days. And those who use it, swear by it. For not only does it taste great, but it’s an ideal ingredient for natural beauty products, too. Indeed, you can find coconut oil in everything from natural deodorants to hair and face masks to chapsticks and more. But when it’s combined with another oil, it can become a fighting force.
Yes, we’re talking in this case about peppermint oil. So mix 30 mL of the coconut ingredient with about 12 drops of peppermint essential oil. As it turns out, peppermint contains limonene and menthol, compounds that mosquitoes don’t like or want to get near. And combining it with coconut oil prevents your skin from absorbing it right away, thus prolonging the peppermint’s pest-fighting abilities.
18. Baking soda and vinegar
Oh, baking soda and vinegar – such a classic combination. Now you’ve probably seen a science project or two in which kids mixed both ingredients together. And usually this creates a reaction much like a volcanic eruption. Moreover, you may not have guessed, but you can use that power to help you get rid of pesky mosquitoes.
So cut a plastic soda bottle into two and pour a quarter-cup of baking soda into the base. Flip the top part upside down so that it looks like a funnel – place that into the base. Then pour a cup of vinegar through it. Importantly, this combination creates carbon dioxide, just enough to attract and wipe out the bugs pestering you. Ideally, place your contraption outside the room you want a result for.
17. Vanilla extract
So many baked goods wouldn’t be the same without vanilla extract. But the sweet stuff has more than one use in your household. It has natural pest-repelling properties, which you can harness. Just make sure you’re using pure vanilla extract, without sugar or other additives. Otherwise, that might end up attracting bugs instead of warding them off.
Now you can keep things simple and press a small amount of pure vanilla extract onto your pulse points. If you choose this method, then test it first – making sure that it doesn’t cause irritation. But if you want something gentler, mix up to four tablespoons of vanilla with an equal amount of lemon juice. Then add two cups of water and up to a dozen drops of lavender oil. Mix it all up and spray it onto your exposed skin.
16. Lemon eucalyptus oil
By steaming and distilling leaves and twigs from the lemon eucalyptus tree, you get the plant’s eponymous oil. And that liquid contains a small amount of p-menthane, a strong mosquito repellent that’s long-lasting. Moreover, the oil also has a wealth of citronellal, another all-natural barrier against mosquitoes.
If you don’t have leaves or twigs, buy a bottle of lemon eucalyptus oil – or use the one you have already. Then mix one part of it with 10 parts of either witch hazel or sunflower oil. If you go stronger, you could have even more mosquito-fighting power. A mixture that’s about one-third lemon eucalyptus oil will ward off up to 95 percent of mosquitoes for around three-hours. However, avoid using this on children aged under three.
15. Vodka and basil
To repel mosquitoes, you have to throw off the internal sensors they use to find their target. Now natural compounds such as geraniol, citronellal, limonene and nerolidol have the power to do so. And it just so happens that basil contains a whopping four of these mosquito-thwarting substances.
So harness the power of basil by making this herbal mosquito repellent. Start with a half-cup of distilled water and a cup of chopped basil in a pot. Boil it, then cover and leave for six hours. Then strain the leaves after that, and pour the remaining water into a spray bottle. Finally, add a half-cup of vodka, shake it up and spritz the bugs away.
14. Cloves and a lemon
As you’re probably starting to gather, mosquitoes don’t like strong, herbal scents. As such, the clove has become one of the most popular ways to repel them. And it’s not just the aroma – cloves also contain eugenol, which makes a great pesticide.
All you have to do is split a lemon, then press up to six cloves into each of the citrus fruit’s halves. Then, put the finished product in any spot where mosquitoes tend to bug you. If you plan to spend lots of time there, swap out for fresh lemons and cloves at least once during the day. To add to that, clove essential oil is a handy repellent, too.
13. Castile soap
Castile soap gets its name from the Castile region of spain, And in 1948, people began to make it from the local supply of olive oil. Today, Castile soap remains a popular choice because it contains neither synthetic detergents nor animal fat. Also, it’s versatile enough that it can be used as a hand soap, floor cleaner, and toothpaste, among other concoctions. But don’t forget the most important use we’re talking about.
Indeed, to the above list you can add another use for Castile soap – mosquito repellent. So grab a spray bottle, and fill with four cups of distilled water and 10 teaspoons of liquid Castile soap. To that, you’ll add a teaspoon of neem oil, another well-known natural mosquito repellent. Shake it all up and spray the bugs away.
12. Lemongrass and rosemary
As previously mentioned, there are a slew of naturally occurring compounds that throw off a mosquito’s sensors. And both lemongrass and rosemary contain such effective particles . Yes, the limonene and citronella in lemongrass ward of mosquitoes, while rosemary’s eucalyptol and camphor do the same.
So, reap these benefits by creating a roll-on chock full of these essential oils. Now you shouldn’t rub any essential oils directly onto your skin – as they’ll cause irritation. Instead, blend them with a gentler carrier oil, such as coconut or jojoba. Start by adding 10 drops each of rosemary and lemongrass to 60 mL of your carrier oil. Then mix it up and slather a bit on at least twice each day when you’re in mosquito territory.
11. Cinnamon oil
Cinnamon’s a strong flavor and, as it turns out, it can help you in your anti-mosquito quest, too. For starters, the oil can kill the bug’s eggs, thus preventing a future wave of the pests. Plus, you can use a cinnamon-based mixture to keep mosquitoes, especially of the Asian tiger variety, away from your skin.
As with many other ingredients on this list, you don’t want to pour cinnamon oil directly onto your skin. Instead, dilute it by pouring a quarter-teaspoon of oil into four ounces of water. Of course, you can easily double, triple or quadruple this recipe. Then spritz the resulting solution onto yourself, plants, furniture and anywhere else you don’t want mosquitoes to land.
10. Mouthwash and Epsom salt
Now the fresh feeling you get from your mouthwash helps explain why it keeps mosquitoes at bay, too. Indeed, menthol and eucalyptol, among other ingredients, have germ-fighting powers, but they also serve to repel the insects. And if you add a bit of Epsom salt into the mix, you get even more anti- insect/microbe compounds. Furthermore, the method to produce this handy repellent is simpler than you might think.
Yes, pour three cups of Epsom salt into a big bottle of the mint-flavored rinse. Then shake it up until the particles dissolve, using the resulting concoction as a spray for your home. Or, you can just mist yourself with mouthwash on its own if you need a bit of quick protection.
9. Tea tree oil
You’ve guessed it – tea tree oil gives off a strong aroma that mosquitoes don’t like. Plus, it has a slew of medicinal and anti-inflammatory properties that build a wall against most bites. To add to that, it can help soothe any bumps that you do get. But the oil, which comes from Australia, can irritate the skin, so you should cut it with a carrier oil.
As previously mentioned, you can’t just pop tea tree oil directly onto your skin. Instead, you should mix 30 mL of coconut oil with a mere 10 drops of tea tree oil. Once that’s well-mixed, rub it into your skin that’s exposed to the elements. And you can reapply your tea tree-coconut lotion up to three times before you brave the outdoors.
8. Witch hazel, spearmint and cloves
For years, humankind has relied on witch hazel to soothe everything from sprains and bruises to insect bites. To harness that power here, mix the alcohol extract with spearmint – the insects despise minty scents, of course. On top of that, you can add clove, another strong aroma that’ll keep mosquitoes out of your vicinity.
So fire up the stove and boil one cup of water with between three and four tablespoons of dried spearmint. Now add two cloves, and when the liquid starts rumbling, pour it into another container and let it cool. After that, strain out the soaked herbs – then, you’re ready to pour witch hazel into your bottle and spray away. But remember to store it after use in the fridge.
7. Coffee grounds
No, sadly we’re not advising you to drink lots of coffee to keep the bugs away. But did you know that coffee grounds (remnants) can help get rid of mosquitoes at source? In this case, you can stop the insects from laying their eggs in standing water around your home. While the grounds not only kill the larvae, they also infuse the ground with the nitrogen it needs.
Now you shouldn’t throw your grounds directly into the yard immediately – let them sit for 25 days at a minimum. In fact, aged grounds tend to kill larvae better than their fresher counterparts. So, once it’s been just over three weeks, take your used coffee outside and spread it around plants. Indeed, sprinkle some into areas that tend to collect standing water, too. But remember not to add it to those areas of water used by animals, such as ponds. Bye bye, mosquito larvae!
6. Apple cider vinegar
Not everyone likes to mix essential oils with carrier substances, as the combination can become extra greasy. If that’s you, consider this combination of apple cider vinegar and essential oils. Additionally, the former can boost the power of your chosen oils, making your mosquito repellent all the more effective. Plus, apple cider vinegar leaves skin somewhat acidic, another mosquito-repelling power.
So a little bit of apple cider vinegar goes a long way. Therefore, dilute 50mL of it with an equal amount of water. Then, add an aromatic essential oil of your choice – clove, eucalyptus or citronella are suggested. Finally, funnel that combination into a spray or pump bottle, then use a few spritzes before you go outside.
5. Thyme oil
Great news if you’re heading into a malaria-prone zone – thyme oil stands as one of the best natural defenders. On top of that, one test revealed that hairless mice saw a 91 percent protection rate from mosquitoes. Of course, that was after being treated with thyme oil and exposed to the devilish insects.
While at home, you can create a thyme oil spray by diluting every five drops with two ounces of water. Or, you can blend a teaspoon of a base oil with four drops. Interestingly, you can use thyme to de-mosquito an outdoor area, too. Indeed, chuck some sprigs into your campfire for up to 85 percent protection from the pesky insects.
4. Dryer sheets
You toss your dryer sheets into the machine to make sure your freshly washed garments smell as clean as they are. But the very fresh scent you love is what turns mosquitoes away from you. Still, it’s not clear what it is about such sweet-smelling laundry necessities that keeps mosquitoes away.
So most of the other options in this article require you to mix something or slather it onto your skin. Yet, this one’s way simpler than all of those. In fact, you simply need to grab a dryer sheet or two and pop them into your pockets. Now stupidly, some people rub dryer sheets directly onto their skin to help, even though this can be irritating.
Vampires and mosquitoes, beware – we’re going to start using garlic to get rid of you. For starters, the bulbs are loaded with allicin, a natural repellent well-equipped to keep mosquitoes at bay. Plus, garlic has – you guessed it – a scent that’s so nose-catching that many mosquitoes will steer clear.
Now combining garlic with lemon helps to release the bulb’s scent and power even further. So, grab a half-dozen cloves of garlic, as well as mineral oil, lemon juice and water. Firstly, chop up the garlic, then soak it overnight in 1 tablespoon of mineral oil. Then strain the mince and add a teaspoon of lime juice and a couple of cups of water. Ta-da – you’re ready to protect your plants and yourself from mosquitoes. But remember to use a spray bottle!
You’ve probably heard of DEET, the active ingredient in most store-bought insect repellents. Surprisingly, the herb catnip has 10 times the mosquito-fighting power as the chemical concoction once used as a pesticide. Plus, catnip also keeps deer ticks and some varieties of biting flies away, too. So let’s find out what you have to do.
Now all you need to make a catnip-based bug repellent is the plant – either fresh or dried – and alcohol. Firstly, blend both in a food processor and use a strainer to remove the pulp. Then you’ll need to let the resulting mixture sit for a few days before using it. Finally pour the liquid into a vaporizer and spray it onto your skin as needed.
This one’s interesting considering that, if you drink beer, you will become even more tasty to mosquitoes. No one knows why – some think that it could be because alcohol boosts our body temperatures. Or, they say, sweat smells of ethanol while drinking, which lures the bugs right in. But these theories appear to have been disproved. Given all that, how on earth can this popular drink help us to fight mosquitoes?
Well, you can use mosquitoes’ affinity for beer to your advantage. Firstly, save up leftover beer bottles (unwashed) and pour a bit of cheap beer into the bottom of each. Interestingly, the bugs will fly in to check out what’s inside – and they’ll get trapped in the existing liquid. Just be sure to place the beers far from where you’re sitting so that you don’t get bitten.