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The Truth About Homemade Mosquito Repellents

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The Truth About Homemade Mosquito Repellents July 31, 2017

The growing popularity of "natural" remedies has led to advice about homemade mosquito repellents. Although inexpensive, organic mosquito repellents may sound promising, but they may not function the way you assume. Here's the truth about how they work.

Natural doesn't mean effective

Do a Google search for mosquito repellents, and you'll see dozens of claims about natural repellents you can buy or make that work better than store-bought brands. It's really easy to make those claims online, but far more difficult to prove them. In fact, a Consumer Reports study of 6 popular organic repellent recipes found that only one, an intense mixture of lemon and eucalyptus, had any effect on mosquitoes. The other repellents that succeeded contained proven ingredients such as picaridin and DEET. Generally speaking, humans don't like mosquitoes. If a natural remedy actually protected against them, we would all be using it by now. But chemical treatments were developed because natural mixtures simply aren't that effective.

Homemade repellents don't last long

Let's say you create homemade mosquito repellents such as a eucalyptus mixture or the rumored bath oil solution, which was proven ineffective in the early 1990s. How often do you have to reapply the mixture for it to have an effect? On average, you would have to apply an organic solution for it to work. When you switch to homemade oil solutions, you may have to reapply as often as every 10 minutes. Compare this with DEET-based solutions, which stay on your skin and are effective for several hours without needing reapplication. You can see why homemade solutions may be more trouble than they are worth.

Natural repellents don't protect you

Concerns about Zika and the West Nile virus are common when looking for effective mosquito repellents, and a frequent claim about homemade products is that they can fight a variety of viruses. That is false. No repellent can guarantee protection against any disease; they simply make it less likely mosquitoes will bother you. If you are truly worried about getting a virus, try to avoid mosquitoes altogether.

Repellents don't treat the real problem

Mosquitoes tend to linger around standing water or damp ground, especially in sheltered areas away from the wind. Homemade mosquito repellents do not address this very real problem. If you really want to reduce mosquito problems, it's time to pick a different location, away from standing water. Another option is to contact us to discuss mosquito reduction services, which can make a real difference.

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