Creeping into our blankets, humming incessantly over our ears, biting into our flesh, and sucking our precious blood– mosquitoes know some of the best ways to annoy and disturb us.
Mosquitoes leave us with swollen, itchy skin. But that’s not even the worst part! Mosquitoes are, by nature, one of the deadliest organisms in the world. Being the carriers of several deadly diseases, mosquitoes infect millions of people every year, killing hundreds of thousands.
We know you hate mosquitoes. We all do. And to our benefit, there are thousands of products that can keep mosquitos at bay.
But there is bad news.
Most regular mosquito repellents have harmful chemicals, like DEET, that harm both us and the environment. They help us ward off mosquitoes, but they do this at a high cost. It’s like escaping the crocodile to meet a wolf! And you don’t want that!
But then, what can you do? Are other safer options available? The answer is YES: Essential oils!
What are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are plant extracts– usually obtained by distillation– that also carry the aroma (or essence) of the plant they are extracted from. They are known for the innumerable ways they can benefit our health.
You might be familiar with using essential oils in aromatherapy for treating various conditions– from insomnia to asthma. But did you know that some essential oils also do a great job as mosquito repellent? Well, you’ll surely know it by the end of this blog.
Essential Oils that Work Surprisingly Well as a Mosquito Repellent
So, let’s talk about eight essential oils that are surprisingly good at warding off mosquitoes:
Tea Tree Oil
You are likely familiar with tea tree oil and its wide-ranging benefits. The applications of this magical Australian oil are too many to fit in this blog.
Tea tree oil is an efficient remedy for acne, dandruff, skin infections, sun damage, and other conditions. But it is also effective as an insect repellent. Several independent studies have found that tea tree oil can keep several insects away, including ants, flies, and mosquitoes.
In fact, one study also found that this essential oil is more effective than several DEET-based mosquito repellents. Considering how DEET can be potentially dangerous to our bodies, tea tree oil is certainly one of the best alternatives.
Do you know how the catnip plant (a.k.a catmint) got its name? It makes cats go crazy – that’s how. So, if you have pet cats and want to see them rolling, growling, or meowing inexplicably, get home some catnip oil.
The reason for catnip’s strange effect on cats is the presence of the chemical nepetalactone. And interestingly, nepetalactone is also what makes it rank on the list of essential oils that work as a mosquito repellent. Multiple studies have established that catnip essential oil can be many times more effective than DEET at repelling mosquitoes.
The benefits of neem are already widely popular throughout the world. Neem is effective against several skin-related problems like wrinkles and dry skin. However, neem oil can also keep mosquitos away.
The exact efficacy of neem as a mosquito repellent is debatable. One study in Ethiopia concluded that neem oil was 70% efficient in repelling mosquitoes for 3 hours. But another study– in Madhya Pradesh, India– revealed 81-91% protection during 12 hours.
Whatever the results, it is clear that neem can protect us from mosquitoes to some extent. However, you should check for any possible skin irritation by applying neem oil on a small part of your skin. If nothing happens, you’re good to go!
Citronella has been an important ingredient in natural mosquito and bug repellents for a long time. And it’s not without reason. Due to its great antifungal properties, the oil has been traditionally used for treating several infections in Indonesia and China.
The insect-repellent property of Citronella Oil depends on its composition. Applying citronella oil with vanillin can offer protection for up to 3 hours. But using citronella oil is somewhat less effective after only 2 hours.
Therefore, citronella oil might not be as effective as DEET in providing protection from mosquitoes. But it is a reliable option for short periods.
We know the Rosemary plant for its flavoring properties and aromatic flowers. And you might have used rosemary leaves to season your soups and salads. But Rosemary is also popular for yet another reason– keeping mosquitoes off your skin.
Rosemary oil is highly effective in offering protection against mosquitoes. A 12.5% solution of rosemary oil can offer 100% protection for up to 1.5 hours!
And remember that we are talking about the Aedes mosquitoes that spread the Zika virus. Considering that this protection comes from a natural repellent with negligible to no side effects, it’s definitely worth trying!
Clary Sage Oil
Clary Sage oil has a great smell. Due to this, it is popular as an air freshener. And as a great bonus, mosquitoes don’t like the smell at all. And they try to avoid it as much as they can.
A common way to use clary sage oil to prevent mosquitoes at home is by mixing it into a diffuser. This way, you not only get an aromatic fragrance but also stop mosquitoes outside the windows and doors.
What’s more, clary sage oil is especially effective against tiger mosquitoes (Aedes albopictus). In other words, you get protection from deadly diseases like dengue, chikungunya, and Ziva.
Skin experts know well that Immortelle oil is great for your skin. And it’s not only because this essential oil is a great remedy for acne, irritation, and various other common issues. Immortelle oil is also one of the best oils for sensitive skin.
It is so gentle that you can safely apply it on a child’s skin without the risk of irritation. And therefore, you don’t need to worry about the side effects of using Immortelle oil as a mosquito repellent.
The oil is quite efficient at protecting against several disease-causing mosquitoes. So, you can use it as a lotion or a room spray, so mosquitoes find it better to leave you alone.
Is there a person who doesn’t know about lavenders despite having a true love of flowers? We can’t think of anyone for sure.
Lavenders are certainly too beautiful and too aromatic to ignore. And on top of everything, they have several health benefits, ranging from headaches and exhaustion to acne and eczema.
As much as lavender oil smell great, mosquitoes seem to hate its smell. Therefore, applying some lavender oil to your exposed body parts before going out or sleeping can be a great idea if you want to prevent mosquito bites. It’s also safe for children, making it a great natural repellent for the whole family.
Remember this before using essential oils
Essential oils have many, many benefits. And it’s worth noting that over and above the health benefits these oils have on our body and mind, they can also protect us from mosquito bites without any serious side effects.
However, it’s best to test a small skin patch with the oil before applying it all over your body. Your skin is unique in ways you might not be aware of. And therefore, it’s always a good idea to check for any unknown allergies before trying out any new skin product.
Rest assured, once you choose the oil that suits you best, you are all set to go out in the open without fearing the irritating mosquitoes! For any suggestions, drop a comment right away. And keep following The Countdown List for more such informative blogs!