Mosquitoes are all around us. Many health bodies have declared them as Public Enemy No. 1, given they are the carriers of more than a million deaths every year. Which is why, while our governments and civic bodies are doing their best to control this risk, most of us also take the matter into our hands and do not hesitate to keep ourselves armed with mosquito repellent sprays, vaporisers, mats, coils, patches and more.
But did you know that store-bought chemical repellents may be doing a lot of harm? Many of these chemicals are being used at such a large scale for the first time and their long-term effects on the people or the planet are not known. There have been bans on chemicals that were used in mosquito repellents earlier as these effects came to light. Isn’t it better to adopt a natural insect repellent? Something that the nature made to keep insects at bay. Read on to find out more!
- What are the Benefits of Using Homemade Repellents
- Are Natural Mosquito Repellents Right for You
- List of Natural Mosquito Repellents
- Choosing the Best Natural Mosquito Repellent
- How to Repel Mosquitoes Naturally
- DIY Natural Mosquito Repellent Recipes
- Other ways of avoiding mosquitoes
What are the Benefits of Using Homemade Repellents
While it should be obvious, we have tried to put down what you win when you switch from a chemical based commercial insect repellent to a homemade one that you make out of natural ingredients. Following are some of the benefits.
1. They are Chemical Free
Herbal mosquito repellents do not come with many harmful substances that an average store-bought mosquito repellent spray contains. The latter usually contains a questionable substance called DEET (N-Diethyl-3-methylbenzamide), which can make up to 23.8% of its components. Studies have linked it to skin & neurological health problems. Another chemical used in mosquito repellent – Cyfluthrin – is linked with damage to the neurological system of the human body, bringing about significant changes to muscle coordination, strength, movement, and so on. As obvious, there are studies and claims supporting both sides of the argument, but why not stay on the safer side when it comes to using such chemicals for oneself and one’s family?
2. They do not Cause any Skin Trouble
Most of the natural repellents are made from mosquito repellent plants like nepeta cataria (also known as Catnip or Catmint), eucalyptus, etc. They are safe for use on skin and prevent rashes, redness, and itchiness.
3. Safe for Children
While studies have been giving conflicting views about the safety of DEET in small quantities, we know it has its ill-effect when exposure is in large quantities. This effect is higher on children. Which is why people have been sceptical about applying DEET based products on their kid’s skin. The natural alternatives can put such worries to rest and give you the peace of mind.
4. Safe for Pregnant Women
Chemicals in mosquito repellents, like all other pesticides, are even more dangerous when it comes to pregnant women. Exposure to Cyfluthrin, which is used in these repellents, can cause major changes in the glucose levels of the mothers, as well as reduce red blood cells and damage the liver. Apart from causing complications, some studies have found this toxin to cause changes to the fetus directly, after exposure.
5. As effective as Chemical Repellents
Studies have shown that herbal mosquito repellents are just as effective – and sometimes more – than the chemical ones. For example, Catnip oil is found to be 10 times more effective than DEET, lasting up to 7 hours.
6. They have a Soothing Aroma
Unlike conventional repellents, natural mosquito repellent sprays have a pleasant aroma that helps relieve stress and calms the body down. Thus, the benefits of herbal mosquito repellents go beyond just warding off mosquitoes.
Are Natural Mosquito Repellents Right for You
Natural mosquito repellents are not only effective but are also safe for children, pregnant women and individuals who are prone to allergic reactions. People with eczema and psoriasis can use the natural repellents without any side-effects. People with sensitive skin often cannot use many cosmetic products. Herbal mosquito repellents are an excellent choice in these cases. They are also safe for use with babies and do not cause any irritation when used with sunscreen.
Certain mosquito repellent plants produce concentrated essential oils. Some of their smell itself is strong enough to keep mosquitos away. However, for use on the skin, they need to be diluted with a carrier oil or a lotion.
List of Natural Mosquito Repellents
Thankfully, there is a range of mosquito repellents based on natural ingredients. They come in all forms – vaporisers for indoors, sprays for outdoors etc. Check these and try them out.
1. Strategi Mosrelief – Herbal Mosquito Vaporizer
Mos Relief is a 100% natural and non-toxic herbal mosquito repellent that vaporizes in the air. It is effective for 8-12 hours and is friendly for the environment. Made from aromatic oils and extracts from mosquito repellent plants, it does away with the side-effects of chemical mosquito repellents. It is also very reasonable with its price, at 65 rupees for 40mL. You can easily buy it online.
2. Kama Ayurveda Natural Mosquito Deterrent Body Spray
This is one of the safest bets when it comes to natural mosquito repellent. Made from essential oils of lemongrass, citronella, geranium, vetiver, neem, peppermint, it is non-alcoholic, non-greasy, water-based and extremely refreshing to smell. It is residue free and can be used by adults and children above the age of 1 year. This repellent must be applied externally on the exposed areas of the skin, after which it will last for 3 hours. Its price is slightly high at 625 rupees for 100mL, but its benefits are worth it.
3. Forest Essential Herb Infused Mosquito Repellent
This is another one of the water-based mosquito repellents that need to be applied externally on the exposed skin. Made from the essential oils of lemongrass, citronella, vetiver, and neem, it is not just any mosquito repellent. This comes with anti-bacterial, and antiseptic properties that are also a great way of detoxifying your skin (externally). It keeps mosquitoes as well as other insects away, along with stimulating your smell, and calming your mind, with its rich fragrance. However, avoid using it on your face. This product is priced at 525 rupees for 100mL.
4. Mamaearth Mosquito Protection
Mamaearth is an amazing brand that makes safe and natural products for adults and children. It’s body roll that is certified to be safe for use as the mosquito repellent for kids and babies. This product is made all naturally using lemongrass, citronella, lavender oil, eucalyptus oil and lemon oil, that gives protection against diseases for up to 8 hours. It also claims to be certified as safe even when ingested, as it is free from chemical products like DEET, and alcohol. If you are not comfortable with a roll on, they also have other natural and safe options like fabric roll on, patches, gels and mosquito repellent spray. The roll-on is priced at 99 rupees for 40mL, and the other products are reasonable too.
5. Tulsi Mosquito Repellent Vaporizer Refill Botanical
This herbal mosquito repellent product vaporizes in the air and spreads around the room. It is 100% natural and certified as safe for children and babies. As the name suggests, it is made from Tulsi and other natural plants extracts and essential oil, rendering it with a pleasant fragrance that everyone can enjoy, without worrying about the side effects. It is a refill bottle, that needs a vaporizer machine. It works on almost every machine that is available in the market. With 200mL being sold for 250 rupees, it is easily available on online stores like Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal.
Choosing the Best Natural Mosquito Repellent
- Since there are a plethora of options available, how does one go about choosing the best for your use? Here are some tips.
- Check the quality of the repellent. Its effectiveness depends on it. This essentially means checking out the ingredients and the concentration of the ingredient and going for the one with the highest concentration of the repelling ingredient. But when it is the question of DEET or other chemicals we have warned about above, it is best to avoid those.
- While natural mosquito repellents are mostly safe, ones for external application on skin needs to be tested through a patch test. This means, applying it on a small patch of skin and waiting for a few minutes to check for irritation. If there is no irritation, you may use it.
- In case of unique requirements, like for existing skin condition, research on the ingredient carefully, before settling on one. There are special mosquito repellents for kids. You may also consult a dermatologist and other professionals before buying one.
- Carefully scrutinize your requirement. Say, you want to go out, but the place may not have many mosquitoes, a less concentrated one may be a better option. Keep in mind that the natural based mosquito repellent creams and gels need to be reapplied frequently. Go for a product that is easy to carry.
- Inside the house, try growing mosquito repellent plants or making candles, instead of applying on the skin, or spraying.
How to Repel Mosquitoes Naturally
- Grow mosquito repellent plants in your garden. But be careful as to what you grow. Some mosquito repelling plants may have poisonous leaves and berries. If you have kids or pets, it may not be a good idea to have such plants around.
- You can also grow herbs like lemongrass, lavender and thyme. You can use it for cooking, and at the same times, keep mosquitoes away.
- Put some of these plants in pots and keep it around the house. It will also act as part of the décor.
- You can use candles infused with herbal mosquito repellent. The number of candles you need to use depends on the size of the room.
- Make a natural mosquito repellent at home using easy recipes as described in the section below.
DIY Natural Mosquito Repellent Recipes
If you want to do the best and the safest and want to make a mosquito repellent on your own, we have two options for you that can be easily cooked up a home.
1. Alcohol and Clove based Mosquito Repellent Spray
- Rubbing alcohol – 470mL
- Clove – 100gm
- Baby oil – 100mL
- Put the alcohol and the cloves in a jar and let it infuse for 4 days.
- Stir twice a day during this time.
- After 4 days, strain the cloves out.
- Pour the alcohol into a spray can and add the baby oil.
- Use it on clothes or skin.
2. Essential Oils based Mosquito Repellent Spray
- Essential Oil – 40-50 drops (any combination of your choice from lavender, lemongrass, catnip and tea tree)
- Distilled water or boiled water – 125 ml
- Witch Hazel – 125 ml
- Vegetable glycerine – ½ teaspoon
- Take a 250mL spray container and pour in the water.
- Fill the rest of the container with witch hazel almost to the brink.
- Put in the glycerine and the essential oils.
- Mix well and it’s ready to use
Other ways of avoiding mosquitoes
In addition to using a mosquito repellent spray, people opt for the following ways to reduce or keep mosquitos at bay. All these ways might not be as effective, though, in all situations.
- Cover up your skin. The best way is to cover as much part of your skin as possible. However, during summers, it is not a viable option.
- Reduce breeding of mosquitos by preventing the collection of water in your surroundings. Regularly change the water in your ponds or buckets.
- Use a mosquito net, especially during their breeding season, while sleeping at night. Always protect babies and children using a net.
Equipped with the knowledge of mosquito repellent plants and sprays, we hope you have a safe worry-free season!