While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend to use products with DEET to protect your skin or you home against West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes, some people would rather use non-toxic and homemade bug repellents.
Suggestions vary from drinking a shot of vinegar to using Skin So Soft, a line of lotion made by Avon. However, do any of these natural remedies work?
Elmer Gray, a entomologist at University of Georgia, explains: “The alternative remedies are out there. We hear a lot about them, but when they’re compared in scientific studies and compared to DEET, Picaridin, and other approved products, they don’t hold up well.”
It turns out that while these alternative solutions may work, its effectiveness may only last for a short time or gets canceled out by many layers of sunscreen, absorption to the skin, dilution from sweat, and evaporation from wind or high temperatures.
If you insist on using natural mosquito repellents for you and your family, the CDC recommends Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, which you need to reapply on your skin every hour. Other alternative solutions include volatile plant oils like citronella, cinnamon, castor, rosemary, lemongrass, cedar, peppermint, clove, and geranium oils.