how to keep mosquitoes away without bug spray
Kristina Davis

Have you ever wondered how to keep mosquitoes away without bug spray? If this has crossed your mind, you may have already tried some tricks.

For some strange reason, it feels like mosquitoes simply love me. My mother has always told me that is because my blood is, hmm, sweet.

Well, some also say that people with powerful auras are more likely to attract bugs and mosquitoes.

So, whether you have a strong aura or not, or even if your blood is ‘sweet’ like me, know there are ways to repel mosquitoes without bug spray.

If I can do it, you can too.

You simply need to try home remedies, use bug-repellent plants, and use some essential oil blends to repel mosquitoes successfully. 

The Love-Hate Relationship With Mosquitoes

mosquito love hate relationship

Of course, it is “hate” from your side and undying “love” from those bugs.

The combination of smell, visibility, temperature, and humidity makes humans an easy target for mosquitoes.

If you attract mosquitoes like a magnet, your skin undoubtedly gets itchy and rough all the time.

Mosquitoes, including those that spread malaria, are attracted to germs and perspiration.

Some are even drawn to the smell of carbon dioxide or hand odor.

It is safe to assume that, unless you are an entomologist (and paid for it), being close to insects, especially those that bite, is unpleasant.

These insects serve crucial ecological functions but can be a tremendous pain to deal with while trying to enjoy the great outdoors. Not to mention, some of these bugs can even spread disease.

You do not have to deal with them any longer, as there are ways to learn how to keep mosquitoes away from you without bug spray.

The Ineffectiveness of Bug Spray

ineffective bug spray

Some people think that all they have to do is apply their favorite bug repellent, which will keep mosquitoes away forever. Oh, it won’t!

Everyone has experienced the frustration of applying mosquito repellant meticulously, taking 10–15 minutes to ensure full coverage.

The result?

They get bitten later in the day despite taking all necessary precautions!

The research shows that mosquitoes can develop a tolerance to DEET and other repellents after being exposed to them repeatedly.

bug spray immunity

When an insect becomes accustomed to a chemical, it becomes immune to its repulsion effects.

This is why it is even more important to learn what, other than using a bug spray, can help repel mosquitoes.

Tip: Cover your feet when outside because mosquitoes have weird olfactory preferences and often love the smell of your feet.

How To Keep Mosquitoes Away Without Bug Spray

keeping away mosquitoes

People will do just about anything to protect themselves from being bitten by a mosquito.

Cow manure, coconut shells, and even coffee are among the things they use to fuel their fires.

They go for a gin and tonic, try bananas, or even use a clove/alcohol mix or mouthwash to repel mosquitoes.

The truth is that some of these methods work, and others do not. You must try a few to identify what works best for you.

Here are some ways to try when those bugs just won’t leave you alone:

Make Use of Cinnamon Oil

utilize cinnamon oil

As a spice, cinnamon has many uses beyond its traditional role as an addition to breakfast staples like applesauce and porridge.

Researchers have found that cinnamon oil is effective at destroying mosquito larvae.

Adult mosquitoes, especially the Asian tiger mosquito, can be repelled with this compound.

Simply mix 24 drops of cinnamon oil with at least 4 oz of water to make a 1% solution.

You can spray it directly onto your clothing and skin, as well as onto furniture, houseplants, and other surfaces.

Note: A high concentration of cinnamon oil might irritate the skin, so use caution if you decide to try it.

Tip: You can treat your socks, pants, boots, and tents with 0.5% permethrin, or you can buy pre-treated gear to protect against mosquitoes.

Give Thyme Oil a Try

utilizing thyme oil

Thyme oil has been shown to be an effective mosquito repellent, particularly against malaria-carrying bugs.

It is also recommended to add thyme leaves to a bonfire. After 60-90 minutes of burning, thyme leaves provide 85% protection.

Make your own herbal concoction by adding four drops of thyme oil to a tsp of a base oil like jojoba or olive oil.

To make a spray, consider adding at least five drops of thyme oil to 2 oz of water.

Try Citronella

utilizing citronella oil

Essential oils like citronella have long been used to deter mosquitoes. It is a common element in insect repellents and is made from a combination of herbs.

Citronella candles can increase your safety by as much as 50% when used outdoors.

Scientific investigations have revealed that citronella’s efficacy is significantly influenced by its specific composition.

As long as the product is properly prepared, it can protect for up to two hours, making it competitive with DEET.

Note: Not all citronella bug sprays are created equal. Some do not last long enough on the skin before dissipating, leaving you vulnerable to mosquito bites.

Repel Them With Smoke

utilizing smoke

It has been discovered that smoke, in general, can be used as a natural insect repellent. Cedar, for instance, is a great option.

For a long time, people have recognized cedar’s natural ability to deter insects. Interestingly, cedar bark has become well-known for its propensity to catch fire easily.

A bundle of burning cedar bark is an effective insect repellent and a convenient way to carry embers for a fire.

cedar bark burning

Smoke can also be made from a plant found in water, such as cattails. On top of the tall grass-like plants are the dead brown seed heads.

Pick up a “burnt corndog” and hold it over a flame.

As soon as it starts to burn, smoke will begin to rise from it. To enjoy the therapeutic effects of the smoke, position it in a way that smoke surrounds you to repel mosquitoes.

Tip: Cover your exposed skin properly, wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants to protect against mosquito bites. 

Make Homemade Repellent

home made repellent creation

While it may not be the most potent solution, it is possible to make your own mosquito repellent using essential oils.

Here is what you can do:

  1. Take a pint of white vinegar (distilled).
  2. Add the vinegar to a pint of water.
  3. Now add 25 drops each of lavender oil and tea tree oil in it.
  4. Mix well and add to a spray bottle.

Coat your shoes, pants, shirt, and skin well with the spray before venturing outside.

For optimal results, reapply every couple of hours.

Take Advantage of Mosquito Repellent Plants

mosquito repelling plants

Most plants that can deter insects do so with their pleasant scents, attracting beneficial insects and deterring pests like mosquitoes.

Try growing some of these plants instead to avoid spraying yourself or your yard with harmful chemicals.

Here are some options to consider:

#1. Lavender

utilizing lavender plant

Have you ever considered why your lavender plant is immune to the destruction of insects and even rabbits?

The reason for this is the plant’s essential oils, which can be found on the plant’s leaves.

A mosquito’s sense of smell may be impaired by lavender oil, making them effective against mosquito bites.

The only care this plant needs are full light and proper drainage; once established, it can withstand extended periods of drought.

#2. Marigold

utilizing marigold plant

Easy-to-grow annual marigolds have an odor that drives away mosquitoes. Plant them in containers near your front door to deter pests.

Not only may they deter mosquitoes, but thrips, Mexican bean beetles, squash aphids, whiteflies, bugs, and tomato hornworms, as well.

#3. Catmint

utilizing catmint plant

Finding a healthy patch of catnip (catmint) is not hard. It is a weed and a cash crop since it spreads rapidly and originates from the mint family.

It requires little effort and may quickly spread to other parts of your garden.

If you can get past this plant’s sneaky nature, the experts recommend it as an excellent mosquito repellent.

In fact, it was proven to be ten times more efficient than DEET, the ingredient used in most insect repellants.  

Tip: Use mesh bug suits with netted headwear to protect yourself from mosquitoes when outdoors.


Learning how to keep mosquitoes away without bug spray is essential.

It is not just because bug sprays become ineffective after a while but also because you do not always have them available.

You can try natural remedies and tricks to keep mosquitoes away. But remember that you may have to experiment with a few before finding something that truly works in your situation.