Nadine Walder , 12 June 2023

Aromatherapy

Which essential oils can provide natural protection against mosquitos?

During the warmer months in particular, mosquitos, wasps and co. can become real pests and stop you wanting to spend relaxing evenings on the balcony or terrace or in the garden. Today, there are numerous commercial insect repellents available on the market. However, they often contain substances that can cause allergies and should be kept away from small children, pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding in particular. As an alternative, natural insect repellents – which are safer and more environmentally-friendly – can help keep these annoying pests away. Essential oils are an example of these.

Read on to find out: 

  1. Natural protection against mosquitos and co.: tried and tested remedies
  2. Essential oils against mosquitos and co.: these ingredients help
  3. How essential oils work as natural protection against insects? 
  4. How can essential oils be used to protect against mosquitos

Natural protection against mosquitos and co.: tried and tested remedies

If there are mosquitos or other insects buzzing around and driving you nuts while you are trying to relax outside or go to sleep at night, you should try dotting various herbs around the place. Mosquitos and wasps cannot stand certain herbs such as lemongrass, eucalyptus, basil, thyme, sage and mint. These plants also serve as attractive decorative elements in the garden or on the terrace or balcony. Mosquitos and other insects also dislike the intense smell of tomatoes and lavender.

One way of keeping these nasty pests away is by putting up mosquito nets and fitting fly screens to windows and doors. This is a very effective and simple method for stopping insects from coming into your home. 

In addition, it is essential to make sure that there are no accumulations of water outdoors as mosquitos can lay their eggs there and quickly multiply. Water in trays underneath plant pots should therefore be changed regularly. 

A simple trick for keeping mosquitos and wasps away in the summer is to set up a fan: insects don’t like strong currents of air. So simply set up a fan indoors or set up one that is suitable for outdoor use outdoors – not only will it keep annoying insects away but it will also keep you pleasantly cool on hot summer days. If your fan is not approved for outdoor use, you can simply set it up inside by the doors to your balcony or terrace so that it blows the air outwards. 

Mosquitos are drawn to dark colours, therefore it is a good idea to wear light-coloured clothing. Loose-fitting clothes will also protect against mosquito bites because it is more difficult for mosquitos to penetrate them. 

Another very effective way of keeping insects such as mosquitos and wasps away is the use of essential oils. There are some oils that are known for being disliked by mosquitos and co.. But which oils are they exactly?

Essential oils against mosquitos and co.: these ingredients help

Lemon eucalyptus oil and lemongrass oil (citronella oil) are particularly well-known for keeping mosquitos and other unpleasant insects away. The ingredients in these oils – including citral, citronellal and/or geranium oil – will efficiently keep mosquitos and co. away. A study from 2009 showed that geranium oil, linalool and citronella are extremely effective at keeping mosquitos away. It also showed that they were more effective when used with an aroma diffuser than in candles. Another systematic review from 2011 confirmed the effectiveness of citronella at keeping mosquitos away.

In addition, lavender oil, tea tree oil and peppermint oil are proven effective insect deterrents as their intense smells repel the annoying pests. Also, essential oils from certain types of wood such as cedarwood oil, sandalwood or patchouli are disliked by insects.

If you do get bitten by an insect, essential oils can also help alleviate the itching and pain that insect bites can cause. Tea tree oil, for example, has antimicrobial properties and can help fight infections that can be caused by insect bites. Peppermint oil also has a soothing effect on the skin.

How essential oils work as natural protection against insects

The different essential oils work on different levels. Lemon eucalyptus oil which contains the compound citronellal interferes with mosquitos’ sense of smell, for example. Other oils act as a repellent: insects strongly dislike the intense smell of lavender oil, for example. Other oils such as cedarwood and patchouli imitate insects’ own scents and repellents which confuses them.

The effectiveness of essential oils against insects can vary according to the kind of insect and the location. In addition, they may be more effective outdoors than indoors or vice versa. The 2009 study carried out by Müller and colleagues showed, for example, that when used as a repellent indoors with an aroma diffuser, citronella had an effectiveness of 68% compared with just 22% outdoors, with a distance of six metres between the diffuser and the mosquito trap.

It should be noted that as a rule, essential oils do not last as long as chemical insect repellents and will need to be added more frequently. Citronella, for example, remains effective for just 1-3 hours while commercial repellents can last for up to 8 hours.

Even though essential oils are a natural alternative for keeping insects away, care should always be taken when using them. They do only contain 100% natural plant essences but they are highly concentrated and can be harmful in such concentrations. It is important only to use essential oils in the recommended dose and to stop if skin irritations or allergic reactions occur. You should seek the advice of an expert (doctor or pharmacist) before using them if there are babies or small children within your household.

How can essential oils be used to protect against mosquitos, wasps and

Essential oils have a very wide range of applications. Here are some of the ways that you can use essential oils as natural insect protection:

  • Direct application to the skin: Some essential oils can be applied directly to the skin. In doing so, the oil should always be diluted using a carrier oil (e.g. almond or coconut oil) and the recommended mixing ratio should always be heeded. Apply the oil to a small patch of skin first of all to test whether – and if so how well – you are able to tolerate it. Generally, essential oils should not be applied directly to the skin of babies or small children.
  • Room sprays: These are particularly suitable for use indoors. To do so, mix a couple of drops of your essential oil with water and pour into a spray bottle. Shake the bottle and spray onto your clothing or into the air in the room.
  • Fragrance lamps: A fragrance lamp is a device that enables essential oils to be vaporised using a heat source such as candles, tea lights or electrical devices (e.g. a light bulb), for example. Fragrance lamps diffuse vapours indoors. All it takes is a few drops of essential oil to keep mosquitos and other unpleasant insects away.
  • Insect repellent bracelets: These are impregnated with essential oils and so they help to keep mosquitos, wasps and other insects away outside.
  • Aroma diffusers: A simple way to use essential oils to keep mosquitos and co. away is by using an aroma diffuser. To do so, you simply fill the diffuser with water and add a couple of drops of essential oil. Some aroma diffusers are battery-operated and are suitable for mobile use in covered areas outdoors. Our aroma diffusers and lanterns Sophie and Sophie little, for example, are splash-proof and can also keep insects away outside when used with the right essential oil.

Essential oils can therefore be an effective and natural alternative to commercial insect repellents. However, it should be noted that they do not last as long and therefore will need to be added more frequently. Citronella is effective for a maximum of up to around three hours, for example. For effective insect protection, you should add a couple of drops of the scented oil to your diffuser or reapply the oil approximately every two hours. Also, you should always heed the recommended dose when using essential oils as natural protection against mosquitos and insects.

Simply try out different essential oils to find out which one works best for you. Stadler Form has a number of essential oils that contain citronella, like Repel, for example. So you can enjoy a relaxing evening outside or fall asleep without any annoying buzzing and humming.

You can find more tips against mosquitoes in our blog post "10 tips against mosquitoes: What really helps?"


If you have questions related to indoor room climate, please get in touch with us. Or subscribe to our newsletter to regularly get informed about current topics regarding indoor climate, experience reports or Stadler Form insights. 

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