All-Natural, Chemical-Free Ways to Combat Mosquitoes for a Bite-Free Summer

Don't want the DEET? There are plenty of tactics you can use to keep mosquitoes away.

<p>Brizmaker/Getty Images</p>

Brizmaker/Getty Images

Mosquitoes can make time spent in your yard a lot more painful (and itchy) than you'd like. While bug repellents like DEET can be effective to make you much less delicious to roaming mosquitoes, you may be looking for a more natural, chemical-free way to stop mosquitoes from turning you into lunch.

Related: How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes in Your Backyard

You're in luck! There are plenty of scientifically tested methods for helping to keep mosquitoes at bay (and keep you bite-free). Try these all-natural ways to battle mosquitoes this summer.

Get Rid of Standing Water

The biggest move you can make to minimize the number of mosquitoes in your yard is to remove all standing water. That means dumping and cleaning bird baths every three days (as mosquito larva can grow in just a few days), and making sure water doesn't end up trapped in your trash or recycling bins or saucers on potted plants. Even a small puddle could bring thousands of new mosquitoes into your yard in just a few weeks. So keeping your yard dry will mean fewer mosquitoes you need to dodge.

Invest in Screens or Netting

Enjoy your backyard bite-free by creating a mosquito-free zone with screens or netting—ideally on a porch or gazebo to help it stay enclosed. To use screening effectively, you'll need to invest in fine-gauge screens—an 18-gauge mesh will likely keep out all mosquitoes, while a 20-gauge mesh will also keep out fruit flies, no-see-ums, and other pests. And of course, you'll want to minimize the amount of time screen doors or entries are fully open, so mosquitoes can't make their way in beyond the netting.

Stay Undercover

It can be hard to do during a heat wave, but opting for long-sleeved clothes, long pants, and socks with your shoes can drastically minimize the area where mosquitoes can bite you. Opt for thicker, looser clothing that mosquitoes will have a harder time biting you through, and consider wearing light colors like white, which are less attractive to mosquitoes—and will be more cooling and reflective if it's hot out.

Use Fans Strategically

Mosquitoes aren't the strongest flyers, so a strong breeze or a directed air current from a fan can help protect people within the flow of air. Consider investing in a large ceiling fan that can cover your entire porch, and use smaller fans that you can direct around any spots the ceiling fan doesn't cover.

Change Up Your Body Care Products

A 2023 study found that using the wrong fragrance in your soap or shampoo could be luring mosquitoes toward you. During the peak of mosquito season, opt for low- or no-fragrance soaps and lotions, or choose fragrances mosquitoes don't love. According to the study, coconut is the fragrance you want to use to help deter mosquitoes.

Apply Some Lemon-Eucalyptus Oil

Entomologist Dina Fonseca, Ph.D., chair of the department of entomology at Rutgers University, swears by this combo of essential oils as a natural mosquito repellent.

Add Mosquito-Repellent Plants to Your Garden

Some plants—especially fragrant ones like basil, mint, rosemary, citronella, and lemongrass—tend to repel mosquitoes. Consider surrounding your patio or other outdoor space with an herb garden to help make it less enticing to mosquitoes.

Related: 16 Plants That Repel Bugs and Mosquitoes Naturally

Light Up a Campfire or Some Torches

Smoke acts as a natural mosquito repellent, which is another excuse to enjoy a campfire (and perhaps some s'mores!) when you're hanging out outdoors.

Time Your Trips Outdoors

Skip the hours closest to sunrise and sunset, when mosquitoes are most active. Your best bet to avoid mosquito bites is to head out during peak sunlight hours (between 10 and 2)—as long as you avoid shady, underbrush spots where they may be hiding out from the sun.

(If you're going out during peak sunshine, don't forget that all-important sunscreen instead!)

Try Natural Treatments for Mosquito Bites

If you do end up getting mosquito bites despite your best efforts, you can use a number of all-natural solutions to help stop the itch. A few solutions you can try:

  • Baking soda paste (baking soda mixed with a little water)

  • Cold compress or ice

  • Hot compress

  • Over-the-counter remedies like Bug Bite Thing

  • Witch hazel swab

  • Oatmeal paste (equal amounts oatmeal and water)

  • Aloe vera gel

For more Real Simple news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on Real Simple.