Mosquito Repellent! What Is The Best Alternative To DEET?

Mosquito Repellent – Mosquitos and friends  are out and about and their goal is to survive off of your body! Mosquitos can make for a miserable experience on the trails or at camp.  We all know that, right?  Along with that, we all know the negative aspects of using DEET.  While I am a bit of a hard sell on certain “advances”having grand children has encouraged my search to find a legitimate alternative to DEET.   Am I the only one who read something different as to what to use for a mosquito repellent,  with almost every post?

The article that I chose to guide my recipe can be read here.  I found it to be very informative, with great supporting data.

Putting a carrier oil in a mosquito repellent will help the repellent last longer, and give it a mild barrier when exposed to water.  Soybean oil is the best, and guess what?  (I didn’t know this.) . Pure vegetable oil is …… soybean oil.  Coconut oil is also a good choice.   The carrier oil helps the repellent last longer because it slows the evaporation process, as does the vanillin in Vanilla.  Witch hazel has long been used for several purposes, including an astringent and antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.

Lavender and Peppermint

Lavender and peppermint are listed in several recipes for mosquito repellent.  And lavender goes in everything, right? 😉 .

Eucalyptus citriodora oil

The star of the show in this mosquito repellent is lemon eucalyptus oil!  This oil is approved by the EPA and is said to be as affective as DEET.  Using this oil, however, is not supposed to be put on children under 3 years of age, per the CDC.   Be sure and get a lemon eucalyptus oil that is Eucalyptus citriodora, and not a blend.  When you can no longer smell this lemon eucalyptus oil on your skin, it is time to reapply.  Other comparable products, including Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent, claim their repellent lasts up to 6 hours.  I usually reapply every 2-4 hours; depending on activity level.  Super sweaty or lots of water activities will require more frequent applications.  Sitting at the campsite should not require as frequent applications.  You will need to shake the repellent with each use.

Several sites state that essential oils need to be stored in glass containers, because the essential oils can be absorbed by the plastic. I don’t know about you, but I am not a fan of packing around a glass jar.  So, my answer to that problem is to store my repellent in a glass, in a dark cabinet,  When it is time to go on an adventure, I pour some in a small dark plastic spray bottle.  If I have any left when I return home, I return the unused portion into the glass storage container.  Heat can also diminish the oils effectiveness, so try to keep your oil containing products out of the direct sun.  I only had mine out in the direct sun long enough to take this shot.  This was the first time I tested my home-made mosquitos and friends repellent.  This place had standing pools of water, a river, trees, and brush.  That environment is a mosquitos paradise, and I did not get bit one time.  While I intend to test this on the dogs on our next adventure in the woods, I did not spray them directly this time, as I knew they would be mostly in the water for this outing.  Essential oils are safe for use with adult dogs, as long as the oils are diluted.

Want the benefits of a natural bug repellent but don’t want the hassle of making it yourself?  Here ya go!  Besides the pennies I get from purchases you wonderful readers buy after clicking my links, I also have an Etsy store.  You can BUY THE REPELLENT here, and also help support more adventures for HWH!

Here is the recipe, for those of you who are inclined!


8 ounces witch hazel

4 ounces 70% alcohol

8 ounces vegetable (soybean) oil

2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract

50 drops of Lemon Eucalyptus oil

10 drops each of Lavender and Peppermint oil

I am still learning all about essential oils and how to use them.  Do you have your own recipe for a mosquito repellent?  Have you tried anything that did not work?  Please share with me your thoughts and ideas.  I’d love to know what others have tried!

Please feel free to Share:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.