8 Best Natural Mosquito Repellents of 2024

cluster of amazon product images for mosquito repellents

When it comes to warding off mosquitoes, harnessing the power of nature can be a game-changer. If you’re searching for effective yet natural solutions to keep those buzzing pests at bay, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ve curated a list of the best natural mosquito repellents so you can say goodbye to DEET.

Harnessing the power of botanicals and substances found in nature, these repellents prove that safeguarding ourselves from mosquito-borne diseases can be achieved without harsh chemicals. Let’s get started!

Top 8 Natural Mosquito Repellents

Our list of the top 8 natural mosquito repellents of the year includes:

Top 8 Natural Mosquito Repellents – Our Top Picks

1. Best Overall – Coleman Skinsmart Insect Repellent Spray

Coleman Skinsmart Insect Repellent Spray

Coleman Insect Repellent Spray takes the crown as the best overall choice for natural bug sprays. Now, I know what you might be thinking: “IR3535 doesn’t sound like a very ‘natural’ name.” And you’re right! IR3535 is not a natural ingredient but a cleverly crafted synthetic molecule inspired by a naturally occurring amino acid, and it is considered a biopesticide. 

Is it effective? IR3535 strikes the perfect balance between efficacy and eco-friendliness, making it safe for humans, animals, and the environment. In a 2016 study, IR3535 emerged as one of the most effective active ingredients for keeping mosquitoes away after DEET and picaridin. 

Coleman’s Skinsmart Insect Repellent is odorless, provides long-lasting protection, and you won’t have to worry about putting harsh chemicals on your little ones’ skin since it is a family-friendly product that will allow your kids to explore the outdoors safely.

Specifications:

  • Protection against: Mosquitoes and ticks
  • Size: 6 ounces
  • Scent: Unscented
  • Active ingredients: 20% IR3535
  • Duration: Up to 8 hours

Pros:

  • Safe for children
  • Easy to apply
  • Can last up to 8 hours on the skin

Cons:

  • Not sweat-resistant
  • Can cause eye irritation when in contact
  • Not as resistant against Anopheles mosquitoes (the ones that cause malaria)

Where to buy

2. Runner-up – Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Mosquito Repellent

Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Mosquito Repellent

The Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Mosquito Repellent stands tall as the worthy runner-up on our list. This exceptional repellent combines an effective active ingredient, its recommended concentration, and an affordable price, making it a top choice for those seeking a natural defense against mosquitoes.

Why is it a good option? The secret behind this repellent’s success lies in its core ingredient: oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), derived from the lemon-scented gum plant. Its main component is p-Menthane-3,8-diol (PMD), which sets this repellent apart, offering superior performance over many other plant-based alternatives. 

One of the standout features of Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Repellent is its ease of application. It glides smoothly onto the skin, without a greasy or sticky feel. This quality makes it an excellent alternative to DEET-based repellents, ensuring you can protect yourself from mosquito bites without any undesirable residue.

Specifications:

  • Protection against: Mosquitoes, ticks
  • Size: 4 ounces
  • Scent: Lemon
  • Active ingredients: 30% oil of lemon eucalyptus
  • Duration: Up to 6 hours

Pros:

  • Easy to apply
  • Lasts up to 6 hours on the skin
  • Refreshing, non-harsh scent

Cons:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends against using oil of lemon eucalyptus in children under three years old.
  • Not sweat-resistant
  • Can cause skin irritation in some people

Where to buy

3. Cutter Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent

Cutter Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent

For those seeking the power of oil of lemon eucalyptus, the Cutter Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent is another excellent option to consider. Harnessing the natural strength of this key ingredient, this repellent provides effective protection against pesky mosquitoes.

Why is it third? While Cutter’s Lemon Eucalyptus doesn’t top our list, its placement is primarily due to a slightly higher price point compared to Repel’s Lemon Eucalyptus product. In terms of efficacy and performance, these two options are quite similar, making the decision between them more a matter of personal brand preference and trust.

Rest assured, whether you choose Cutter or Repel, both brands offer a reliable option with the power of oil of lemon eucalyptus, a fresh scent, and long-lasting protection.

Specifications:

  • Protection against: Mosquitoes
  • Size: 4 ounces
  • Scent: Lemon
  • Active ingredients: Oil of lemon eucalyptus 30%
  • Duration: Up to 6 hours

Pros:

  • Easy to apply
  • Lasts up to 6 hours on the skin
  • Refreshing, non-harsh scent

Cons:

  • Not safe for children under 3 years old
  • Not sweat-resistant
  • Can cause allergic reactions in some people

Where to buy

4. Coleman Botanicals Insect Repellent Spray

Coleman Botanicals Insect Repellent Spray

If you’re seeking yet another alternative with oil of lemon eucalyptus, Coleman’s Botanicals Insect Repellent Spray is a worthy contender to consider. However, it’s important to note that this particular product comes with a higher price tag compared to some alternatives.

Coleman’s Botanicals Insect Repellent Spray offers comparable benefits and effectiveness to the other mentioned products, making it a reliable choice for mosquito protection. 

If budget is a significant factor in your decision-making process, it’s worth exploring other options that provide similar features at a more affordable price. However, if you value the Coleman brand and are willing to invest a bit more for its trusted quality, go for it!

Specifications:

  • Protection against: Mosquitoes and ticks
  • Size: 4 ounces
  • Scent: Lemon
  • Active ingredients: 30% oil of lemon eucalyptus
  • Duration: Up to 6 hours

Pros:

  • Easy to apply
  • Lasts up to 6 hours on the skin
  • Refreshing, non-harsh scent

Cons:

  • Not safe for children under 3 years old
  • Not sweat-resistant
  • Can cause skin reactions in some people
  • Higher cost

Where to buy

5. OFF! Botanicals Insect Repellent

OFF! Botanicals Insect Repellent

In the realm of oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE)-based repellents, OFF! Botanicals Insect Repellent earns a spot on our list with its affordable price and effective, EPA-registered active ingredient. OFF! Botanicals labels its key ingredient as p-menthane-3,8 diol (PMD), an organic compound and the main component of OLE.

How long will it last on my skin? With a lower concentration compared to other OLE-based products, the effectiveness of OFF! Botanicals lasts for a maximum of two hours, in contrast to the six-hour protection offered by OLE-based products with a 30% concentration.

If you want an OLE-based repellent that strikes a balance between effectiveness and cost, OFF! Botanicals is a suitable choice. However, keep in mind that reapplication may be necessary every couple of hours to maintain optimal protection. 

Specifications:

  • Protection against: Mosquitoes, black flies, gnats, no-see-ums
  • Size: 4 ounces
  • Scent: Unscented
  • Active ingredients: 10% p-menthane-3,8 diol (PMD)
  • Duration: Up to 2 hours

Pros:

  • Easy to apply
  • Affordable
  • Unscented

Cons:

  • Not a long-lasting protection
  • Not safe for children under 3 years old
  • Not sweat-resistant

Where to buy

6. Murphy’s Naturals Lemon Eucalyptus Oil Insect Repellent

Murphy’s Naturals Lemon Eucalyptus Oil Insect Repellent

Murphy’s has also hopped on the OLE train, offering their Lemon Eucalyptus Oil Insect Repellent as a formidable defense against mosquitoes that may carry West Nile, dengue, and Zika virus. And let’s be honest, who can blame them for jumping on board?

Murphy’s Naturals has earned its stripes in the mosquito-battling realm. With rave reviews and a well-deserved reputation, this product promises to ward off those pesky mosquitoes and even ticks, ensuring you can enjoy your outdoor adventures without the incessant buzzing and biting.

Specifications:

  • Protection against: Mosquitoes and ticks
  • Size: 4 ounces
  • Scent: Lemon
  • Active ingredients: 30% oil of lemon eucalyptus
  • Duration: Up to 6 hours

Pros:

  • Easy to apply
  • Lasts up to 6 hours on the skin
  • Doesn’t damage clothes and camping gear

Cons:

  • Not safe for children under 3 years old
  • Not sweat-resistant
  • Can cause skin reactions in some people
  • Higher cost

Where to buy

7. Natrapel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent

Natrapel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent

The oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) party just got livelier with the arrival of Natrapel Lemon Eucalyptus Repellent. This product offers a unique blend of effectiveness and user-friendly features that will make you want to join the festivities too.

How does it feel on the skin? Say goodbye to sticky or greasy residue, as this repellent seamlessly blends into your skin, providing a comfortable and pleasant application experience. As if that wasn’t enough, it also boasts a refreshing scent that will leave you feeling rejuvenated during your outdoor escapades.

Specifications:

  • Protection against: Mosquitoes
  • Size: 6 ounces
  • Scent: Lemon
  • Active ingredients: 30% oil of lemon eucalyptus
  • Duration: Up to 6 hours

Pros:

  • Easy to apply
  • Lasts up to 6 hours on the skin
  • Doesn’t damage clothes and camping gear

Cons:

  • Not safe for children under 3 years old
  • Not sweat-resistant
  • Can cause skin reactions in some people
  • Higher cost

Where to buy

8. Best With Essential Oils – All Terrain Herbal Armor

All Terrain Herbal Armor

When it comes to essential oil-based mosquito repellents, All Terrain Herbal Armor rises above the competition, securing its place as our top pick. Essential oils don’t match the effectiveness of other active ingredients like DEET or picaridin, but this product’s formulation stands out.

Why does it stand out? What sets this product apart is its inclusion of oil of citronella at a 10% concentration. This higher concentration is not commonly found in other essential oil repellents, enhancing its effectiveness and providing an extra layer of defense against mosquitoes.

However, essential oil-based repellents typically require more frequent reapplication, and All Terrain Herbal Armor is no exception. But one important feature is that it is deemed safe for children over 6 months old.

Specifications:

  • Protection against: Mosquitoes
  • Size: 8 ounces
  • Scent: Herbal
  • Active ingredients: 10% oil of citronella, 2% oil of peppermint, 1.5% oil of cedar, 1% oil of lemongrass, 0.05% oil of geranium
  • Duration: Up to 2 hours

Pros:

  • Safe for children
  • Easy to apply
  • Doesn’t damage clothes and camping gear
  • Fewer chances of irritating sensitive skin

Cons:

  • Not as effective as other active ingredients
  • Not sweat-resistant
  • Needs reapplication every couple of hours

Where to buy

Buyer’s Guide

Choosing a natural insect repellent can feel like finding a needle in a haystack. With a plethora of options flooding the market, we understand the struggle of seeking that perfect blend of natural goodness and true bug-banishing power. After all, what’s the point of going au naturel if those bloodsuckers still see you as an all-you-can-eat buffet?

So let’s ensure you can make an informed decision and enjoy the great outdoors with peace and mosquito-free serenity by taking a few simple features into account:

Active Ingredient

When it comes to mosquito repellents, selecting an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered active ingredient is crucial since it guarantees safety and effectiveness. Some heavy hitters like DEET and picaridin didn’t make the cut for this study since they’re synthetic compounds, but fear not! We’ve delved into the world of biopesticides to find the true champions of mosquito deterrence.

Among the biopesticides, two standout performers emerge: IR3535 and oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE). These active ingredients have demonstrated excellent repellent properties, providing you with a reliable defense against mosquitoes.

Next comes citronella oil, which is a repellent that people who have a preference for essential oils often gravitate towards. However, it’s vital to highlight that citronella oil’s efficacy has shown mixed results, with a limited duration of effect. Other essential oils also lack sufficient scientific evidence to support their claims of effectiveness.

Tip: To learn more, go to our Best Mosquito Repellents article, which includes products with all other active ingredients that repel mosquitoes, such as DEET and picaridin.

Concentration of Active Ingredient

The concentration of active ingredients holds the key to extended hours of protection. For IR3535, a concentration of 20% is enough to ensure its potency in repelling mosquitoes, while oil of lemon eucalyptus shines brightest at a concentration of 30%. These concentrations have been found to provide effective and lasting protection.

As for citronella oil, the story unfolds a bit differently since there is no standardized rule for citronella concentration in repellents. However, it’s important to note that the lower the concentration of citronella oil in a repellent, the shorter its duration of effectiveness. 

As a result, our assessment considers the essential oil-based repellent with the highest concentration of citronella oil (10%) as the top choice after IR3535 and OLE.

Price

We all yearn for that wallet-friendly gem that not only saves us a pretty penny but also delivers exceptional results. When it comes to mosquito repellents, it’s no different.

Luckily, in this game of cost versus quality, fortune favors the thrifty. Our top pick for natural mosquito repellent (Coleman’s Skinsmart Repellent) not only boasts remarkable efficacy but also happens to be the most budget-friendly option (per ounce) on the block. 

Odor

Scent preferences can also play a significant role when choosing a natural mosquito repellent, especially because that can completely change your overall experience with the product. Here are the scent options in natural mosquito repellents:

  • Unscented: If you prefer an unscented option, look for repellents containing IR3535 as the active ingredient. These formulations offer effective mosquito protection without any added fragrance.
  • Lemon: If you appreciate a refreshing citrus scent, consider repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE). 
  • Herbal: if you seek an herbal fragrance, citronella, and other essential oil-based repellents offer a distinct herbal scent that might even make you feel more connected to nature.

Children’s Safety

When it comes to protecting our little adventurers from mosquito bites, it’s crucial to prioritize their safety. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cautions against using products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD) on children under three years old. 

To safeguard young children against biting insects, consider opting for natural bug repellents containing IR3535 or citronella oil as the active ingredients.

It’s essential to be careful during application. Always apply the repellent yourself to ensure proper coverage and avoid contact with delicate areas such as the hands, eye area, and mouth. By taking these precautionary measures, you can minimize the risk of accidental ingestion and ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for your little one.

Warning: The CDC advises against applying mosquito repellents for babies under 2 months old. Give preference to using mosquito nets over their cribs and strollers.

FAQ About Natural Mosquito Repellents

What is the Most Effective Natural Repellent?

The most effective and completely natural mosquito repellent is oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE). Derived from the lemon-scented gum plant, this potent essential oil has undergone numerous studies demonstrating its impressive effectiveness against mosquitoes.

Another notable contender, while not strictly natural, is IR3535. Although synthetic in nature, this compound replicates a naturally occurring amino acid, aligning with our pursuit of more natural alternatives. With comparable effectiveness to OLE, IR3535 provides reliable protection against mosquitoes.

Do Mosquitoes Really Hate Lemongrass?

Mosquitoes dislike many smells, including lemongrass, primarily due to its citronella content. Citronella is a well-known compound renowned for its mosquito-repelling properties. However, it’s important to note that there isn’t sufficient evidence indicating that lemongrass is an effective repellent when applied directly to the skin.

Essential oils, including catnip, cedarwood, geranium, and lemongrass oil, typically provide protection for a maximum of two hours. Planting lemongrass in your surroundings also won’t guarantee a mosquito-free environment. 

How Can I Be Less Attractive to Mosquitoes?

If you’re wondering what attracts mosquitoes, know that they are drawn to certain factors, such as carbon dioxide, skin odor, and body heat, which are impossible to eliminate completely. However, there are measures you can take to become a less attractive target for these persistent pests:

Opt for light-colored clothing, as mosquitoes are generally more attracted to dark colors.
Cover up exposed skin.
Wear permethrin-treated clothes
Use unscented shampoos and soaps, as floral scents tend to attract mosquitoes.
Apply effective mosquito repellents to exposed skin.

Choose the Best Natural Mosquito Repellent for You

Selecting the perfect DEET-free bug spray or lotion with all the desired features can be difficult. The abundance of options and factors to consider may leave you feeling overwhelmed. However, we hope that this article has served as a valuable guide in your quest to find the right product.

Our goal is to help you enjoy the great outdoors, whether it’s a hike in the woods, a backyard barbecue, or a tropical adventure, without the annoyance of bug bites. If you’ve been having mosquito problems at home too, Pest Gnome can connect you to the best pest control experts in your area to evaluate and treat your property.

Pest Gnome participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other retailer affiliate programs. Pest Gnome may earn revenue from products promoted in this article.

Main Image Credit: Product Images from Amazon with Text Overlay using Canva Pro

Maria Isabela Reis

Maria Isabela Reis is a writer, Ph.D. candidate, and plant enthusiast from an area where mosquitoes are as relentless in their pursuit of blood as she is in her quest for knowledge. When she’s not swatting away these buzzing annoyances, she’s playing with her dogs and savoring a cup of tea.