Bug repellent made from coconut oil works better than DEET, government study says

10 Natural Ways to Repel Mosquitoes

When summer arrives and mosquito season comes, all my family gets bitten like crazy. I like to make my own natural homemade mosquito spray which is a natural bug repellent as I don’t like to use the commercial products that contain nasty and harmful chemical ingredients. Therefore you’ll find here natural solutions to repel mosquitoes, which are the best and healthiest ways to keep them off anyone.

Mosquito bites are the itchy bumps that appear after the mosquitoes use their mouth-parts to puncture your skin and feed on your blood. Most mosquito bites are harmless, but occasionally a mosquito bite causes a large area of swelling, soreness and redness. This type of reaction is most common in children.

Coconut Oil Compounds Repel Insects Better than DEET

Compounds derived from coconut oil are better than DEET at repelling blood-sucking insects, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) study published in Scientific Reports journal.

In some cases, the all-natural compounds worked even better than DEET, the synthetic active ingredient used in many widely used mosquito repellent products.

It’s important to note that “coconut oil itself is not a repellent,” lead researcher and entomologist Junwei Zhu clarified in a press release.

However, it’s the coconut oil-derived free fatty acid mixture—lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid as well as their corresponding methyl esters—that showed strong repellency against blood-sucking insects such as mosquitoes.

According to the USDA: “When the researchers encapsulated these coconut fatty acids into a starch-based formula, field trials showed it could protect cattle against stable flies for up to 96 hours or 4 days. To compare, DEET was only 50 percent effective against stable flies, while the coconut oil compound was more than 95 percent effective.”

The study showed that as for bed bugs and ticks, DEET lost its effectiveness after about three days. However the coconut oil compound lasted for about two weeks.

According to the press release: “Using repellents is one of the most efficient ways to prevent disease transmission and discomfort associated with insect bites. For more than 60 years, DEET has been considered the gold standard in insect repellents—the most effective and long-lasting available commercially. However, increasing regulations and growing public health concerns about synthetic repellents and insecticides like DEET have sparked interest in developing plant-based repellents that are more effective and longer lasting.”

Some people refuse to use DEET and turn to folk remedies or plant-based repellents. Most currently available plant-based repellents work for only a short period, Zhu noted.

These coconut oil-derived compounds offer longer-lasting protection than any other known natural repellent against insect blood-feeding, according to Zhu.

Coconut oil has many more benefits and some people like to use coconut oil on their hair, as a toothpaste and also to pamper their skin.

Related: Researchers Found that Mosquitoes Hate These Plants

How to Make Mosquito Repellent Using Coconut Oil

To make the coconut oil mosquito repellent mix 1 Tbsp. of coconut oil with 4 drops of citronella oil or peppermint oil.

Here are other simple homemade mosquito repellents.

Other Simple Natural Mosquito Repellents That Work

Here are natural ways that will help you to keep the mosquitoes away:

1. Natural homemade mosquito spray

How to Make Homemade Mosquito Repellent That Works

It is very easy to make your own mosquito spray – it literally takes just a few seconds to mix it and it’s a great alternative to the conventional mosquito repellents that are full with harmful chemicals.


  • 12 oz. bottle witch hazel (available in Amazon)
  • 30-50 drops of one or more of the following essential oils: citronella, lemongrass, peppermint, eucalyptus, basil, rosemary, tea tree, geranium, lavender and thyme. The more oils you use, the stronger the spray will be. (Essential oils are also available in Amazon)
  • A funnel
  • An empty spray container
  • An empty mixing jar for mixing the contents


  • Pour the witch hazel in the mixing jar and add the essential oils.
  • Shake well and place in your spray bottle using a funnel. Shake it before use.
  • Make sure you don’t get any in your eyes, and when using for your kids just place a little bit over a small area to make sure they are not allergic to any of the essential oils.

Related: 15 Effective Natural Ways To Relieve Mosquito Bites

2. Aromatherapy burner to repel mosquitoes

Another way of using essential oils is to vaporize them, and this can be done by using an oil burner.

To use an oil burner fill the bowl at the top of the burner with water and add a few drops of essential oils from the list above (a mixture of few oil types is preferred), then place a tea light candle underneath the bowl.

The heat will evaporate the water and the essential oils, creating a 2-3 meter radius of mosquito free zone.

Make sure not to leave the tea light candle unattended and don’t let all of the water evaporate from the bowl. If you are interested to learn more about essential oils you can find useful information in my e-book Magical Aromatherapy. This book will help you to discover the power of essential oils and the most effective ways to use them.

3. Cleaning with essential oils to repel mosquitoes

When you wash your floors, add 20-40 drops of citronella essential oil (or mix with the other essential oils mentioned above) in a bucket full of water and a little bit of soap and wash the floors, especially near the entrances.

You can also clean the windows by filling a spray bottle with water, a little bit of soap and add 10 drops of citronella essential oil (or mix with the other essential oils mentioned above). Shake well and spray onto window surfaces and wipe off with a lint-free cloth or paper towel.

4. Grow mosquito repellent plants

You can grow your own citronella plants around your yard and outdoor eating areas. They can be grown in the ground or in a pot or container and enjoy full sun and well-drained soil.

Citronella is generally hardy in warm climates, but requires plenty of water. Keep the plant indoors if the overnight temperatures are below freezing.

Other good plants that repel mosquito are lemon balm (also known as horsemint), ageratum (also known as flossflowers), marigolds, catnip, peppermint, rosemary, lavender, basil and garlic. You can also keep some of these plants on your windowsills to keep the mosquitoes away from your home.

You can also crush and rub catnip, citronella, lemon balm and lavender directly to your skin to deter mosquitoes.

Further reading: The Best 14 Plants that Repel Mosquitoes

4. Apply neem oil

Neem oil is extracted from the Neem tree which is native to India and is a natural insecticide.

A research published in the Journal of Insect Science suggested that preparations made from parts of the neem tree could be an alternative method for repelling mosquitoes.

To make an effective natural insecticide mix neem oil and coconut oil in equal parts and rub it on your body to keep mosquitoes away.

Further reading: The Health Benefits and Uses of Neem Oil

6. Mosquito traps

There are several versions of these mosquito traps, either with beer or brown sugar and yeast or with liquid dish soap added to water. There are mixed results with these, but you may want to try them yourself. As an added bonus these traps can also help you get rid of gnats.

Here are the instructions for how to make your own natural brown sugar and yeast mosquito trap:

– Cut the two liter plastic bottle in half. Please do not discard any of the two parts (as you will need to use both parts).
– Mix the 1.7 oz. (50 grams) of brown or white sugar with 150 milliliters of hot water. Allow the mixture to cool.
– Pour the mixture in to the lower half of the plastic bottle. Add 0.03 oz. (1 gram) of dry yeast but do not mix. The yeast will produce carbon dioxide (Insects are attracted to the CO2 gases released when the yeast attacks the sugars).
– Place the top of the plastic bottle into the bottom of bottle, upside down.
– Cover the circumference of the bottle with tape or cloth, not covering the top. It is recommended to wrap the trap in something black as mosquitoes and most other insects are attracted to black.
– Each bottle works effectively for up to 2 weeks. After this time, replace the bottle with a new one by following the above steps.

7. Eat garlic to repel mosquitoes

Some people swear that eating garlic daily repel mosquitoes. It hasn’t been proven effective in scientific studies, but if it doesn’t repel mosquitoes, at least you will enjoy the health benefits of garlic.

8. Rotating fan blades

The rotating blades of a fan create currents of air which disturb mosquitoes which can only fly in still air.

9. Garden maintenance

– Get rid of any stagnant water sources in your yard which are good breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
– Clean out your roof guttering regularly to prevent stagnant water.
– Mow the lawn regularly and trim shrubs, as too much grass and foliage can create breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

10. Beer drinkers beware

According to several studies, just a single 12 oz. bottle of beer can make you more attractive to these insects. It is still unknown what the exact reason for that is, but you can use it for your own advantage: give your friend a few bottles of beer so that the mosquitoes will be attracted to him/her (instead of a mosquito spray, just get a beer buddy).

Other creatures that I don’t like in my house are ants, fleas and spiders. I’ve already written on how to get rid of those creatures naturally:

Read these related articles:
1. How to get rid of wasps naturally
2. How to get rid of ants naturally
3. How to get rid of flies naturally
4. How to get rid of cockroaches
5. How to get rid of spiders
6. How to naturally get rid of fleas
7. How to get rid of frogs naturally
8. The Top 10 Home Remedies to Get Rid of Bed Bugs Naturally
9. Palmetto Bug: What it is and How to Get Rid of It Quickly
10. How to Keep Snakes Away: Effective Snake Repellents

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