Mosquitoes are out in full force, but before you run for the big toxic guns, read this post. We’ve researched several options to help you buy non toxic mosquito repellent or make your own.
PLUS: Don’t let the buggers breed. Here’s how to reduce mosquito breeding on your property.
How to Buy Non Toxic Mosquito Repellent:
Read the Label, Look for These Ingredients,
Try These Products
Read the Label
Before you buy any repellent, read the label to find out what’s in it that makes it so offensive to skeeters.
Remember: repellents repel, they don’t actually kill.
If the container says “kills on contact” or something similar, it is definitely too potent to put on your skin. Don’t spray “Off” or “Raid” to kill mosquitoes, especially in an enclosed area, where you could end up inhaling those potent chemicals.
Look for These Ingredients
Essential Oils – Lavender, Lemon Eucalyptus, Geranium, Peppermint, Castor, and Lemongrass are commonly used as the “active” ingredients in DEET-free, commercially available mosquito repellents.
They may be combined with purified water, coconut oil, glycerin, lecithin, and various kinds of salts to reduce the potency of the oils and so they can be easily sprayed on your skin.
Please NOTE: Essential oils are very concentrated. Even though they’re “natural,” some people are allergic to them.
No one should put an essential oil directly on her skin without diluting it first. You can dilute it in water, in fragrance-free lotion, in coconut oil, in shea butter, or in other natural carriers.
As with any product, find the one that works best for you. You may want to try a couple of different brands (see below) before you settle on the one that does the best job of keeping you pest-free.
Picaridin – Pronounced pih-CARE-a-den, this is a synthetic compound that was developed by the Bayer company from a plant extract related to table pepper. You may see it also sold as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, or icaridin.
Appalachian Mountain Club, which compared DEET to picaridin, reports “studies have shown picaridin to be as effective as DEET in repelling mosquitoes. Unlike DEET, however, picaridin is odorless, non-greasy, and does not dissolve plastics or other synthetics.”
If you cannot find a DEET-free spray that uses essential oils, look for one with picaridin as the active ingrdient.
What About DEET?
DEET is one of the most effective chemicals used to repel mosquitoes and ticks. It is not classified as a human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; EPA believes that when DEET is used in moderation, it is safe.
However, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control note that DEET can cause severe psychological effects and serious skin reactions when applied too frequently and in high temperatures. There have also been cases of DEET being found in the umbilical cord blood of newborn babies, which means that it passed through the placenta after the mother applied insect repellent containing DEET to her arms and legs.
That is enough to motivate me to use non-DEET alternatives!
Try These Products
Here are some commercial products that I have tried that work well for me. You may be able to find them locally where you shop, but we also carry them in our Amazon store.