Although the EPA and the Dept. of Health and Human Services say that DEET is safe when used as directed, I prefer to use natural insect repellents. Here are some effective alternatives; most of which can be found at many natural food stores.
- Citronella Oil – Just burning citronella candles is not as effective as applying pure essential citronella oil onto your skin.
- Soy Oil – An inexpensive and effective option that has the added benefit of moisturizing your skin.
- Lavender Essential Oil – Not only does it repel insects but it smells great too.
- Neem Seed Oil – Extracted from a plant that grows in India, neem seed oil has been found by several researchers to be even more effective than DEET in repelling mosquitoes.
- Garlic – Eat lots of garlic to keep mosquitoes (and just about everyone else) away.
- Catnip – An Iowa State University research group showed that the essential oil found in catnip is about 10 times more effective than DEET in repelling mosquitoes. However, I do not recommend this method if you have cats.
Note: Do not use any of the above methods if you are allergic to the ingredients listed. Always read warnings and “how-tos” before using.