Repel mosquitoes naturally

natural-mosquito-repellants from herbsFollowing on from the eco barbecues post; Christopher, over at Blog Harbour,  asked  about natural ways to get rid of mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes can turn a pleasant walk or relaxing evening into a nightmare of feeling that you’re being bitten alive and the critters can carry some nasty diseases.

Unfortunately, most over the counter mosquito treatments rely on harsh, toxic ingredients such as DEET. However, there are some natural, safe and effective ways to repel mosquitoes.

Go naked

Sometimes mosquitoes are ATTRaCTEd to the scents of shampoos, deodorants, perfumes and other toiletries, so experiment with going au natrelle on the cosmetics front. Better for you too, probably!


Use some scents on yourself which REPEL mosquitoes. Out come the essential oils for this and a little kitchen chemistry.

Mix together equal parts of citronella, lavender and clove essential oils (clove can be a skin irritant, so for your kids you might prefer equal parts citronella, lavender, geranium and rosemary).

Pop a few drops of each in a spray bottle, top up with water, add a tablespoon of vodka and spray on your skin, hair and clothes as often as you need to.

If you prefer, put the essential oils in a base carrier oil such as grapeseed and apply the oil to your skin this way.


If the mosquitoes are really bad and you’ve got to the desperate stage, then cut a garlic clove in half and rub the juicy side over your skin. You won’t get vampires that way either ;).

If you enjoy regular al fresco dining then grow herbs around the area you sit at – catmint, rosemary, tansy, basil, pennyroyal, marigolds and mint are your allies for this one.


Prevention, which is always better than cure, includes taking a couple of supplements which make your skin taste horrible to mosquitoes.

Take a vitamin B complex tablet and garlic capsule daily for about a month before you get a mosquito problem in your area.  Continue with them throughout the mosquito season. These supplements will also help support your immune system in case you get bitten.

Top tip of the day: If you have pets, give these supplements to them too to deter fleas.


Create a little ambience in your garden with citronella candles. Citronella is the number one mosquito repellent essential oil. Make sure you buy quality candles which use pure essential oils, not a cheap fragrance.

If you’re going camping, then take some candles or special citronella incense with you too.

Middle of the road

Another product I hear a LOT about with regards to successful mosquito repelling is Avon’s Skin So Soft. Unfortunately, I don’t know what is in it to make a comment on whether it is ‘natural’, but I’m pretty certain it will be far safer than a DEET-based product for you and your family.

Why not give it a go?

What about you – do you have any tips to share for dealing with mosquitoes the natural way?


  1. Wendy on April 26, 2009 at 8:36 am

    Brilliant ideas! I am printing this post and doing all of the above since we live in a very mosquitoey area. Really appreciate the citronella advice… always wondered why some candels would work and some wouldn’t. Now I know to look for pure essential oils!

    Thank you Mrs. Green!

  2. CGabriel on April 27, 2009 at 2:32 am

    Wendy stated we live in a “mosquitoey area.” In Minnesota, mosquitoes have labor unions. They are serial biters. Psychotic little maniacs who live to bother…me. Wendy – they do nothing to her. She walks around, they see her and run the other way. I have no idea why this happens. She’s nice to everyone – people, animals, bugs…

    If I have something on to repel them, they seem to float up to eye level and smile at me…taunting me, trying to get a rise out of me.

    Nevertheless Mrs. Green, I will not be Mr. Blue. I am going to try out a few of your ideas.

    Why, just today I ran naked down the highway and not a single thing bit me. The fact it was 49 degrees (F) and raining may have had something to do with it. I would hasten to add I did attract a crowd of well-wishers and a team of law enforcement officials.

    Thank you for the advice though…I’ll be implementing more of it just as soon as Wendy bails me out of here.

  3. Mrs Green on April 27, 2009 at 7:44 am

    @Wendy: Hi Wendy, I’m glad you found the article helpful and I hope some of the ideas work for you.

    @CGabriel: Hi Christopher, well I hope you get bailed out soon and can try some of the tips. May your skin be forever bite-free…

  4. Carnival of the Green #178 | Cruises on May 5, 2009 at 6:00 am

    […] Mrs Green at Little Green Blog offers ideas for repelling mosquitoes naturally. […]

  5. Michelle on May 14, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    These are great ideas, although with some of these skin treatments we may end up ON the grill instead of near it 🙂

    I have used Avon’s Skin So Soft many times when I have been in tropical areas for work and play. I tended to use it at night when I went to bed – it felt less toxic than sleeping with other chemicals on me while I slept. But I didn’t know if I could trust it enough for when I was in the rainforest or bushes where the biting critters were living.

    Great post!


  6. Mrs Green on May 15, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    Hi Michelle, good to see you! I’m a great fan of your cooking with kids blog 🙂

    I always love skin remedies that are good enough to eat – it prevents waste LOL!

    Thanks for telling us about Avon’s Skin so Soft; I have read great things about it, but it’s good to hear from someone who has actually tried it.

    Have a lovely weekend!

  7. Ruth Henriquez Lyon on May 21, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    Hi–I live in northern Minnesota and yes we have actual clouds of mosquitos here in a bad year. Avon Skin So Soft never worked for me. In fact, nothing really did until my teenaged son gave me a tip.

    He noticed that when he and his friends sat around a campfire the mosquitos left them alone, even for hours after they left the fire. The smell of smoke on one’s skin repels them. I don’t build fires, but I have found that sitting in a room with incense before going out does work.

  8. Wilson Pon on May 22, 2009 at 7:45 am

    Mrs. Green, this article reminds me of the herbs that my nana always planted in her tiny garden.

    She told me that besides of lemongrass, other herbs such as mint, thyme, basil and lavender could be used to repel flies or mosquitoes too (I don’t know whether she’s right on this case or not…)

  9. Mrs Green on May 23, 2009 at 6:31 am

    @Ruth Henriquez Lyon: Hello Ruth, welcome to the site! Clouds of mosquitoes is something that I have never experienced; thankfully! Good to hear another recommendation for Avon – thank you!
    And I love your son’s findings about sitting around a campfire. That’s fabulous isn’t it?

    @Wilson Pon: Hi Wilson, thank you for sharing your Nana’s wisdom with us. I think she is most certainly right. I have some of these herbs by my back door to keep the flies out in the summer 🙂

  10. yournontoxiclife on June 27, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    I think you are right on with the “Go Naked” section. I recently began going “poo-free” on the hair and when we were camping (read: no shower) I noticed much less issues with the little blood suckers. Overall they are bothering me a bit less in the yard, too. Question: does lavender attract mosquitoes? My natural deodorant is scented with essential lavender and I wonder if that makes a difference?

  11. Mrs Green on June 30, 2009 at 7:25 am

    @yournontoxiclife: Hi – great on the ‘no poo’. I did this for 3 years and it worked well. I know wash my hair about once a week with either clay or a natural shampoo.
    I’m not sure if lavender attracts mosquitoes. I would have thought it would repel them.
    How long have you been going without shampoo and how are you finding it?

  12. sonya on February 25, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    I was wondering if you take certain essential oils and make candles out of them, would that work on mosquitoes? I don’t really like the smell of the citronella. I want something different to set out on my porch. I live in South Carolina and the bugs can get brutal.