In the part of the country that I live in, mosquitos represent a very real and very deadly threat. West Nile Virus and other mosquito transmitted diseases are infecting more people every year.
According to the Department of Public Health for my county, there were 98 diagnosed human cases of West Nile last year. As a father of small children, protecting them from mosquitos becomes a very important issue.
Unfortunately, many of the commercially available mosquito repellent products contain DEET and other chemicals that may be harmful to my children as well.
In fact, researches at the Duke University Medical Center found that exposure to DEET can impair brain function and cause memory loss and problems with muscle coordination.
What is a father to do when the protection is as dangerous as the threat? Luckily, there are a number of all-natural mosquito repellent products available.
I have tried many of them and found them to be effective. I also can read and understand many of the ingredients which eases this parent’s mind.
General Tips for Choosing All-Natural Mosquito Repellent Products
There are some natural mosquito repellent ideas such as cinnamon oil, castor oil, or clove oil. These do work, but are also very strong odors, and they can stain.
Commercially available, all-natural mosquito repellents are formulated and tested to not stain or burn your skin. You should let the companies do the trial and error research to figure out what works best.
Just because these products are completely natural, it doesn’t mean that they are harmless. Always test any chemical or solution on your skin or a child’s skin to test for allergic reactions or irritation. Different people will react differently to any substance – natural or not.
Combine all-natural mosquito repellents with strategies to avoid mosquitos. In general, mosquitos are attracted to dark clothing, floral or fruity perfumes, and by moist skin.
Also, mosquitos will avoid the hottest part of the day, and they come out when the temperatures cool. The best way to protect yourself from mosquitos is to avoid them.
Any liquid or spray can stain clothing. With DEET, stains are guaranteed , but you should still take care with the all-natural products on clothing.
Recommended All-Natural Mosquito Repellents
Product Name: Burt’s Bees Herbal Insect Repellent
Effective Time Frame: I found it effective for about one hour – I had to reapply it on my child hourly.
Special Features: Burt’s Bees Herbal Insect Repellent has a generally pleasant odor. It tends to smell a bit like a citronella candle. The product is also not tested on animals and is available in a recyclable aluminum container. It is also effective on ticks – not just mosquitos.
Active Ingredients: Lemongrass Oil (3.20%), Citronella Oil (.40%), Rosemary Oil (40%)
Product Name: Buzz Away Extreme, Natural Insect Repellent
Effective Time Frame: Label says that it is effective for up to 8 hours. I have not tested that amount of time, but I did find it very effective for at least 3 hours.
Special Features: It is long lasting and very pleasant smelling. It has a bit of a cedar smell to it, but it is not overwhelming.
Active Ingredients: Soybean Oil (3.0%), Geranium Oil (6.0%), Castor Oil (8.0%), Cedarwood Oil (1.5%), Citronella Oil (1.0%), Peppermint Oil (0.5%), Lemongrass Oil (0.25%)
Product Name: All Terrain Herbal Armor Insect Repellent Spray
Effective Time Frame: I found it effective for approximately two hours.
Special Features: All Terrain Herbal Armor Insect Repellent Spray is also water and sweat resistant. The bottle advertises that it has a time-released encapsulation so it will last longer. I did find that it was longer lasting than the Burt’s Bees formula, but it was not amazing.
Active Ingredients: Oil of Citronella (10.0%), Oil of Soybean (5.6%), Oil of Peppermint (2.0%), Oil of Cedar (1.50%), Oil of Lemongrass (1.00%), Oil of Geranium (0.05%)
Product Name: Badger Anti-Bug Balm
Effective Time Frame: 2 hours. The lotion seems to work very well at defending against mosquitos, I have not tried it with ticks.
Special Features: This is more of a lotion than a spray. Because of that, it applies with little waste and you know that it is covering well. Also, because it is a balm, it can feel oily on your skin if you are sensitive to such things. I didn’t find that it had much of an odor at all. It is my personal favorite.
Active Ingredients: Citronella Oil (5.0%), Cedar Oil (2.0%), Lemongrass Oil (2.0%), Rosemary Oil (1.0%), Geranium Oil (1.0%)