Trying to figure out how to defend against mosquitoes naturally has been an ongoing experiment at our Texas home. Thanks to a ton of rain this spring we’ve been able to do plenty of testing. Skin So Soft by Avon has been studied head to head against DEET and has shown itself to be ~85% as effective. It just needs to be reapplied if you are outside longer than 1-2 hours. Skin So Soft bath oil (***not the bug spray kind they sell at stores as it contains other types of chemicals that the EWG is unsure about) is the base of my current mosquito mix. It stinks and mosquitoes hate it which makes me pause and wonder what is in this stuff? But then my next thought is whatever it is cannot be worse than the neurotoxic effects of DEET on a small child. My child has super sensitive skin and this oil has never even caused him a rash and does seem to soften his skin. Now days I boost my SSS (skin so soft) with an essential oil mix. I had originally started using Nature Shield a few years ago after reading reviews of a woman who successfully used this blend on a trip to a malarial area of India. Her review and thousands of others were super positive but it simply did not work alone for us. I’ve also tried countless herbal/natural mixes from Central Market. None worked. They smelled nice and the mosquitoes seemed to actually like them too. SSS is super oily and so to help make the mixture more pleasant to wear I cut it with witch hazel. This also makes it easier to spray.
Mosquito Defense Spray Recipe
1/2 c Skin So Soft Bath Oil
1/4 c Witch Hazel
10 drops of Nature Shield
3/4 c distilled water (if the mosquitoes are awful you can keep it more concentrated)
shake well and spray.
I usually apply it to my hands and blot it onto his face to prevent getting it in the eyes.
This spray combined with the wind method has really kept our mosquito bites to a minimum this year. My husband found out that mosquitoes cannot land nor bite in winds >5mph. That is not much of a wind which explains why with even with a slight breeze the mosquitoes are much less of a nuisance. We use carefully placed fans in our play areas which have really helped keep the skeeters off and it feels nice in the hot Texas summer. I plug in the fan on our back porch to keep them off while I’m washing the dog or hanging out laundry. Noisy but they work. If we are outside at skeeter feeding time (early am/dusk) we usually do wear linen pants or cotton tops to help as well. At my age I like the added sun protection on my arms when I’m working in the garden.
Another important fact about mosquitoes is they don’t have much wanderlust. So clearing out any standing water in your own yard and encouraging neighbors to do the same can help keep the population lower. It’s worth a walk around after a rain to check planters and other containers for standing water.
So in conclusion standing water prevention, DIY skeeter spray, wearing linen and your own wind are the most effective and totally natural ways to avoid skeeters this summer!
Email questions or comment below about any of these strategies. Look forward to seeing you outside!