Natural mosquito repellents

Many people are now excited about hiking outdoors, enjoying sunny spring days. It is really relaxing to walk around and just look at everything around us. Forest air is known to be rich in oxygen. The skin and lungs appreciate the fresh air. Summer is getting closer, so the number of mosquitoes is increasing. There are most mosquitoes around during the most beautiful time, early summer. There are many ways to control mosquitoes. How to control mosquitoes completely naturally. Read the top five tips for mosquito repellent.

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Conventional mosquito repellents are considered biocides

commercial mosquito repellents are usually chemicals containing suspicious ingredients. Conventional mosquito repellents are biocide products. Biocides do not mean any single chemical. They are a group of chemicals designed to protect humans from harmful organisms. Biocides are manufactured for many very different purposes, such as wood protection and disinfection.

Biocides cannot be used without permission. The European Union evaluates all biocides that are intended to sell in the EU. Only approved active substances may be used in biocides. All new active substances must be approved first at EU level and then at local Chemical Ministry, Tukes.

There is an own, national system in Finland for the use of biocides. We may not be able to use all the biocides that are available elsewhere in Europe. This is a really good thing. We have a good chance to influence the chemicals we use.

You can read more about biocides, for example, on Tukes website:

Active ingredients in conventional mosquito repellents

Conventional mosquito repellents contain chemicals such as DEET and IR3535 as active ingredients.


DEET, or Diethyltoluamide, is an environmental poison that is already found in Finnish waters. DEET ends up in water systems for instance from the surface of the skin during swimming. DEET is also harmful to humans. It interferes with the enzymatic activity of cells and affects the nervous system of mammals.

DEET is a very effective insect repellent. It is effective not only on mosquitoes but also on ticks, gadflies and blackflies. DEET acts on the skin some 2-8 hours. After that, it has to be added again. DEET causes skin irritation. It should not be used in children under 3 years of age.


IR3535, or ethyl butyl acetylamino propionate, is a newer chemical in insect repellents. It works well on both mosquitoes and ticks. IR3535 does not irritate the skin in the same way as DEET. Therefore, it has become more popular active ingredient in mosquito repellents. It is a colourless and almost odourless oil that can also be used on animals.


Icariridin, aka picaridin is a substance isolated from pepper that acts as an insect repellent. For example a well-known insect repellent, Autan , contain icaridin. Autan is efficient not only on mosquitoes but also on ticks, gadflies and blackflies. Icaridin does not irritate the skin and has not been proven to have a harmful effect on the environment

In addition to active substances, there are many other substances in mosquito repellents. Additional substances act as diluents for the active substances and improve absorption and distribution. All ingredients in insect repellents can cause allergies. Insect repellents must be used in sufficient quantities to achieve the desired result. That is why allergies and sensitizations to insect repellents are so common.

Natural insect repellents are much safer to use

Natural insect repellents are based on fragrances meaning essential oils. Mosquitoes avoid certain odours. Fragrance-based mosquito repellents have been used for thousands of years with good results. The following essential oils disturb mosquitoes and protect you against mosquito bites.

  • Lavender essential oil
  • Geraniol  essential oil
  • Lemon Eucalyptus Oil, Essential Oil
  • Citronella essential oil
  • Neem oil, extracted from the seeds of the plant Neem (Azadirachta indica).

All essential oils can cause allergic reactions. They are not suitable for pregnant women or children under 3 years of age. Pregnant women and young children can protect themselves from insect bites with clothing and by avoiding the worst mosquito sites.

Neem oil is safe to use on the skin

Of course, it too can cause allergies. Neem oil should not be used if you are pregnant. Neem oil is useful as a natural insect repellent to control unwanted insects in the garden, vegetable garden and homes. Neem oil fights mites, bedbugs, spiders and mosquitoes. Neem oil is also effective against many fungus and bacteria. Neem oil is not harmful to ladybugs or bees. That is why it is a particularly useful pesticide.

How do I use organic mosquito repellents?

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No essential oils should ever be applied directly to the skin. Therefore, you should mix the essential oil you want with a suitable carrier oil. Any oil, such as olive oil, sunflower oil or coconut oil, is suitable as a carrier oil.

The best carrier oil for mosquito repellent is moringa oil. Moringa Oil’s special feature is its ability to hold scents. Fragrances added to moringa oil remain on the skin for a long period of time. This is a really good thing because natural essential oils evaporate really quickly from the skin. Therefore, you need to add them constantly to maintain the desired effect.

Essential oils can also be used in the diffuser. This gives the whole space you are a mosquito repellent scent.

You can use neem oil as a mosquito repellent just as it is. However, pure neem oil is quite a heavy oil. I myself dilute it with some ordinary oil. This allows me to apply the oil more evenly to the skin.

My own experiences with organic mosquito repellents.

Don’t think that natural mosquito repellents are as effective as conventional ones. Natural mosquito repellents are suitable for situations where there are not so many mosquitoes. You should also remember to add natural mosquito repellent often. It does not retain its scent for long.

Citronella essential oil

Citronella oil has been my favourite for years. It can be mixed with a preferred carrier oil or a hydrolate. For example, lavender hydrolate mixed with citronella oil is a really effective mosquito repellent.

Neem oil

Neem oil is a particularly long-lasting mosquito repellent. Its smell stay on the skin for a long time. It is also an effective insect repellent. The downside of neem oil is its really disgusting smell. I only use neem oil on forest trips. The best way to use neem oil as a mosquito repellent is to make an ointment from it. An ointment is easy to take along.


The smell of neem oil stays resiliently on the skin and clothes and it is difficult to wash away. Therefore, it is a good idea to treat a piece of cloth with neem oil and take it with you.


Although I do not recommend neem oil for pregnant women it can be used for children. However, I would not put neem oil on children under the age of one year. You can hang a fabric treated with neem oil on baby’s stroller as a mosquito repellent.

Protective Clothing

The last and perhaps most certain way to avoid mosquito bites is protective clothing. Suitably tight but light clothing also effectively protects the skin from the sun. For a trip to the forest, you should take a mosquito net headwear that protects you against mosquitoes and deer flies.

If you are going to the archipelago for yachting, then get an effective repellent against ticks from the store. Protective clothing is also especially important to avoid ticks. The diseases spread by ticks are really dangerous. The vaccine protects against tick-borne encephalitis but not against Lyme disease. Therefore, it is not worth taking a risk and trying to survive in tick areas only with natural mosquito repellents.

Do you know of any other effective and natural ways to protect yourself from mosquitoes?

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