All content copyright © Roll Publishing, Inc

Visit us on the web at

Roll Body & Soul
< back

Natural Mosquito Repellent: A Natural Barrier Against Mosquitoes by Anna DeGaborik

It is such a wonderful feeling when the warmer weather approaches. You can pull out your swimsuit, sunscreen, baseball glove, tent, boat, and barbecue. However, along with all those fun-in-the-summer activities comes the annoying buzz of pesky mosquitoes!

With the recent alarming increase in mosquito-borne viruses such as the West Nile Virus, many summer revellers are worrying about more than just a few itchy bites. The appearance of these seasonal pests usually has people running for the insect repellent, but before immersing yourself in a cloud of strong-smelling chemicals, did you know that there are certain natural oils and foods that can act as an insect repellent? The lasting power of natural mosquito repellent may not be as long as those repellents that contain DEET or other such chemicals, but their repellent qualities are a safer choice, and that in itself is worth the extra effort involved in more frequent application.

Natural Oils

The most common natural mosquito repellents are essential oils of varying types. The most effective are said to be citronella oil and clove oil. It is important to be careful when using clove oil as it is a skin irritant, so it must be diluted and used sparingly. Other effective oils include lemon, eucalyptus, cinnamon, castor, rosemary, cedar, and peppermint. When using any essential oil as a natural mosquito repellent, remember that they are solely for external use. Be sure to test the oil on a small patch of skin before applying it fully to ensure that you are not allergic to it.


Another scientifically-proven natural mosquito repellent is garlic. If you like to relax in your backyard, but it is crowded with buzzing pests, commercial garlic sprays are available, and can be used on your outdoor garden. Studies have also shown that applying a jelly-based compound containing garlic on your skin can help keep mosquitoes away. However, its signature pungent aroma may also repel your friends and family! It is important to consult your doctor before using garlic as an insect repellent as it contains high amounts of allicin and could cause allergic reactions and/or skin problems. If slathering yourself or your garden with garlic is unappealing to you, you could add garlic to your daily diet. If a large amount of garlic is ingested, the odor tends to seep out of the body's pores, acting as a natural barrier against mosquitoes.

Making your own

It is possible to make your own natural mosquito repellent spray. Using a 10-to-1 ratio, add one part of the listed essential oils above to 10 parts of rubbing alcohol, vodka, witch hazel or olive oil, and shake well before using. Mosquitoes are usually attracted to perfumes and flowery aromas, therefore adding a few drops of the listed essential oils to your shampoo and liquid soap can help counteract the fragrances in these products and keep mosquitoes away.

Don't Sweat It!

Aside from using a natural mosquito repellent, knowing when your body is most vulnerable is a plus. Carbon dioxide attracts mosquitoes, therefore when you are hot or have been exercising, mosquitoes may find you extra-tasty. They are also attracted to moisture and that includes perspiration. Exercising, as well as eating certain foods high in salt and potassium, will make your system release a greater amount of lactic acid, which will lure the mosquito population. It is not only perfumes, shampoos, body lotions, body washes, and sunscreen on your body that make you vulnerable to bites, but also the subtle fragrances of dryer sheets and fabric softeners in your clothes.

Anna DeGaborik is the author for the All Mosquito Netting Info website. She studies insect diseases and prevention, specializing in mosquitoes.

Roll magazine -