• 10 Best Eco-Friendly Bug Sprays in 2022 (Repel, Babyganics, and More) 1
  • 10 Best Eco-Friendly Bug Sprays in 2022 (Repel, Babyganics, and More) 2
  • 10 Best Eco-Friendly Bug Sprays in 2022 (Repel, Babyganics, and More) 3
  • 10 Best Eco-Friendly Bug Sprays in 2022 (Repel, Babyganics, and More) 4
  • 10 Best Eco-Friendly Bug Sprays in 2022 (Repel, Babyganics, and More) 5

10 Best Eco-Friendly Bug Sprays in 2022 (Repel, Babyganics, and More)

Did you know that most bug sprays in the US are made with chemicals that have been shown to cause neurological damage? And that the high concentrations we see in our bug sprays are actually banned in other countries? Clearly, the stuff we’ve been using isn’t very good for us or the environment, but that doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to becoming a bug buffet.

Eco-friendly bug sprays are becoming increasingly common. In fact, you can even find all-natural, organic sprays that actually work. In this guide, we’ll show you what to look for when choosing a more eco-friendly bug spray. We’ve also got a list of our 10 favorites to help you get started - our number one pick was Sawyer's highly effective premium repellent.

Featured in this article

mybest US Editors
  • Last updated: 08-18-2022
Table of Contents

How to Choose an Eco-Friendly Bug Spray – Buying Guide

When it comes to picking a good bug spray, it’s less about your individual requirements and more about what actually works. There is some variation between preferences, though, so keep your needs in mind as you consider the following factors.

Look For Lemon Eucalyptus and Picaridin

There are a few different ingredients that make for an effective bug spray. Some ingredients are more effective against certain bugs than others, so be sure to read the label to see what bugs each spray is formulated to protect you against.

For an “All-Natural” Spray, Look for Lemon Eucalyptus

For an “All-Natural” Spray, Look for Lemon Eucalyptus
Most natural bug sprays will include either citronella oil, lemon eucalyptus oil, or oil of lemon eucalyptus as their main ingredient. As similar as they sound, none of these are the same thing, though all of them contain PMD, a naturally occurring, highly effective mosquito and bug repellent.
Citronella oil and lemon eucalyptus oil are essential oils that contain low concentrations of PMD. Oil of lemon eucalyptus, on the other hand, is a concentrated version of lemon eucalyptus oil that contains a much higher amount of PMD. While all will be effective at deterring bugs to some degree, oil of lemon eucalyptus is the most effective of the three.
Do note, however, that lemon eucalyptus is actually one of the scents bees are most attracted to, so if you’re in an area with bees, maybe skip the lemon eucalyptus spray.

Picaridin Help With Broad-Range Protection

 Picaridin Help With Broad-Range Protection
Picaridin is a synthetic version of a chemical found in black pepper plants. It’s one of the most effective bug repellents in terms of the number of different bugs it can protect you from–including mosquitoes, ticks, and flies.
It has almost no odor, doesn’t leave behind any residue, and is generally considered non-toxic and safe for both people and the environment. Picaridin is also considered a better option for children under 3 years old as essential oils can be too highly concentrated for their skin at that age.

Avoid DEET at All Costs

Avoid DEET at All Costs
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly bug spray, you probably already know that DEET is one ingredient you want to avoid. But why is DEET so terrible? 

Well, aside from being an extremely effective bug repellent, it’s also been known to melt plastics, cause short-term health effects like dizziness, headaches, and nausea, as well as long-term health effects like impaired neurological functions, muscle weakness, and tremors.

Luckily, most eco-friendly bug sprays are proud to be DEET-free and will have it written clearly on their labels so you know right away that you’re not getting any of that nasty stuff.

Make Sure that the Product Can Protect You for as Long as You Need

Make Sure that the Product Can Protect You for as Long as You Need
Unfortunately, DEET bug sprays tend to be the most long-lasting. Most sprays will have their duration of protection written on them, so make sure you pick one that will last you the whole day, or at least that you won’t mind reapplying between those intervals.
Also, keep in mind that bug spray tends to wear off faster if you’re sweating during summer hikes than if you’re just bird-watching on a cool day. Most natural bug sprays are not sweat-resistant, so be prepared to reapply often.

Pick Pump Sprays – Aerosols Release Harmful Chemicals and Compounds

Pick Pump Sprays – Aerosols Release Harmful Chemicals and Compounds
While aerosol sprays no longer release the ozone layer-depleting chemicals they did back in the 50s and 60s, they still release hydrocarbons and other gasses that contribute to global warming (albeit in small amounts).
Aerosols also tend to release volatile organic compounds that can irritate your respiratory system and create ground-level ozone which is a large component of smog. So to avoid these unnecessary atmospheric pollutants, it’s best to go with plain old pump sprays.

10 Best Eco-Friendly Bug Sprays

Here are our top picks for eco-friendly bug sprays. We made our choices based on the points listed in the buying guide below, as well as reviewer comments when available.

Image
1
Sawyer Products Premium Insect Repellent 1

Sawyer Products

2
Natrapel 12-Hour Mosquito, Tick, and Insect Repellent 1

Natrapel

3
Avon Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard + Picaridin 1

Avon

4
Murphy’s Naturals Lemon Eucalyptus Oil Insect Repellent 1

Murphy’s Naturals

5
Repel Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent 1

Repel

6
Babyganics Travel Size Bug Spray 1

Babyganics

7
Quantum Health Buzz Away Extreme 1

Quantum

8
Turtle Moon Health Nature's Cloak Insect Repellent 1

Turtle Moon Health

9
Coleman DEET Free Lemon Eucalyptus Spray 1

Coleman

10
Badger Anti-Bug Repellent Spray  1

Badger

Name

Premium Insect Repellent

12-Hour Mosquito, Tick, and Insect Repellent

Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard + Picaridin

Lemon Eucalyptus Oil Insect Repellent

Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent

Travel Size Bug Spray

Health Buzz Away Extreme

Nature's Cloak Insect Repellent

DEET Free Lemon Eucalyptus Spray

Anti-Bug Repellent Spray

Features

Highly Effective, Long Lasting Bug Spray

Super Long-Lasting Against a Huge Range of Bugs

Moisturizes as It Protects

A Little Goes a Long Way

Long-Lasting Mosquito Repellant

Formulated to Be Safe for Your Little Ones

Great for Forested Areas With Tons of Bugs

Travel-Sized Spray With a Long Shelf Life

Effective, Highly Concentrated Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus Spray

Certified Organic Mosquito Repellent

Price$8.99$6.95$12.99$9.99$4.97$4.19$9.99$36.00$9.99$10.19
Active IngredientsPicaridinPicaridinPicaridinOil of lemon eucalyptusOil of lemon eucalyptusSoybean, rosemary, citronella, geranium, cedarwood, peppermint, and lemon grass oilCitronella, geranium, lemongrass, cedarwood, peppermint essential oilsLemon eucalyptus, lavender, rose geranium, lemon tea tree, and cedarwood essential oilsOil of lemon eucalyptusCitronella, cedar, lemongrass essential oils
DEET-Free?YesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Duration12 hours12 hours8 hours6 hours6 hours1.5 hours4 hours6 hours
Spray TypePumpPumpPumpPumpPumpPumpPumpPumpAerosolPump
Link
1

Sawyer ProductsPremium Insect Repellent

4 oz.

$8.99

Active IngredientsPicaridin
DEET-Free?Yes
Duration12 hours
Spray TypePump
2

Natrapel12-Hour Mosquito, Tick, and Insect Repellent

3.4 oz.

$6.95

Active IngredientsPicaridin
DEET-Free?Yes
Duration12 hours
Spray TypePump
3

AvonSkin-So-Soft Bug Guard + Picaridin

4 oz.

$12.99

Active IngredientsPicaridin
DEET-Free?Yes
Duration8 hours
Spray TypePump
4

Murphy’s NaturalsLemon Eucalyptus Oil Insect Repellent

4 oz.

$9.99

Active IngredientsOil of lemon eucalyptus
DEET-Free?Yes
Duration6 hours
Spray TypePump
5

RepelPlant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent

4 oz.

$4.97

Active IngredientsOil of lemon eucalyptus
DEET-Free?Yes
Duration6 hours
Spray TypePump
6

BabyganicsTravel Size Bug Spray

2 oz.

$4.19

Active ingredientsSoybean, rosemary, citronella, geranium, cedarwood, peppermint, and lemon grass oil
DEET-free?Yes
Duration1.5 hours
Spray typePump
7

QuantumHealth Buzz Away Extreme

4 oz.

$9.99

Active IngredientsCitronella, geranium, lemongrass, cedarwood, peppermint essential oils
DEET-Free?Yes
Duration4 hours
Spray TypePump
8

Turtle Moon HealthNature's Cloak Insect Repellent

4 pack, 2.5 oz.

$36.00

Active IngredientsLemon eucalyptus, lavender, rose geranium, lemon tea tree, and cedarwood essential oils
DEET-Free?Yes
Duration
Spray TypePump
9

ColemanDEET Free Lemon Eucalyptus Spray

4 oz.

$9.99

Active IngredientsOil of lemon eucalyptus
DEET-Free?Yes
Duration6 hours
Spray TypeAerosol
10

BadgerAnti-Bug Repellent Spray

4 oz.

$10.19

Active IngredientsCitronella, cedar, lemongrass essential oils
DEET-Free?Yes
Duration
Spray TypePump

How to Properly Apply Bug Spray

How to Properly Apply Bug Spray
It can be easy to think that bug spray should be worn the same way as perfume–after all, it’s the scent that the bugs don’t like, right? Actually, there’s a little more to it than that, and here are a few tips to doing it right.
Spray from about 6-8 inches away from your skin and spread it over your skin with your hands. Try not to go too heavy–more isn’t necessarily better with bug spray. 

For your face and other sensitive areas, spray onto your hands first and rub it on with your fingers. There’s no need to get under your clothes, but don’t forget areas like your ankles, hands, and feet.

More Goods for the Outdoors

Thinking of going camping in the great outdoors? You'll be needing bug spray, of course, but there are a lot of other things you'll have to prepare, too. If you need help picking out the best products, then take a look at some of our other guides!

Author: Jacqueline Oshiro


  • Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more mybest recommendations! For questions or comments, leave us feedback via a Google Form on our Contact Us page.

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