If you're afraid that chemical bug sprays might be too harsh for your skin or your home, then a natural, plant-based product is a great alternative! Natural bug sprays can work well but tend to provide shorter hours of protection than their chemical counterparts.
Confused about which product to choose to keep insects off of you and out of your house? Don't worry and keep reading! Our top 10 best natural bug sprays and buying guide will help you choose a spray that can meet all your needs.
Various popular bug sprays contain chemical ingredients such as DEET or picaridin. However, those active chemical ingredients might lead to allergic reactions.
Thankfully, natural bug sprays are a great alternative that can protect your whole family from persistent insects, while posing fewer risks to your health. They are also better for the environment since natural sprays break down faster than chemical ones.
Usually, natural bug sprays are made from plant-based ingredients like soybean oil, peppermint oil, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
However, natural bug sprays are not always safe for everyone. According to the Center for Disease Control, lemon eucalyptus oil shouldn't be used for children under three years old as it can lead to skin irritation. Make sure to follow the instructions to avoid misapplication!
Here is a list of top 10 best natural bug sprays that are highly recommended on Amazon. We compared them by factors such as the type of bug spray, main ingredients, and hours of protection.
|Main ingredients||Oil of lemon eucalyptus|
|Protection||Up to 6 hours|
|Main ingredients||Peppermint oil, spearmint oil, rosemary oil|
|Uses||Indoor and outdoor|
|Main ingredients||Geraniol, peppermint, lemongrass, and clove|
|Protection||Up to 2 hours|
|Main ingredients||Geraniol, cedarwood oil, glycerol|
|Protection||Up to 2 weeks|
|Amount||8 oz. each|
|Main ingredients||Lemongrass oil, vitamin E, castor oil, glycerin|
|Main ingredients||Organic essential oils such as citronella, lavender, and lemongrass|
|Main ingredients||Cedarwood oil, lemongrass oil and sesame oil|
|Hours of protection||Several days to a week|
|Main ingredients||Citronella, lemongrass, geraniol, and peppermint oil|
|Protection||Up to 3 hours|
|Main ingredients||Geraniol, soybean oil, rosemary and peppermint oil|
|Amount||6 oz. each|
|Main ingredients||Natural essential oils such as citronella, peppermint, rosemary, lemongrass, and geranium|
|Protection||Up to 3 hours|
Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent
Organic Home Pest Control Spray
Bed Bug Killer
Natural Bug Repellent
Organic Bug Spray
Indoor Pest Control
Natural Repellent Spray
Swamp Gator Mosquito Insect Repellent
Natural Insect Repellent
Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus to Provide Up to 6 Hours of Protection
100% Organic Spray to Control Pest Infestations
A Proprietary Blend of Essential Oils to Eliminate Gnats and Flies
Certified USDA Biobased Product to Kill Bed Bugs and Nymphs
Natural Bug Spray with Vitamin E, Castor Oil, and Glycerin for Extra Nourishment
Organic Bug Spray Made with Responsibly-Sourced Ingredients
A Spray for the Home That's Safe for Kids, Pets, and Your Stuff
Non-Greasy Spray That Feels Light on the Skin
Family-Safe Spray to Repel Gnats, Mosquitoes, and Flies
Gentle Plant-Based Formula That's Safe for Your Baby
|Amount||4 oz.||16 oz.||4 oz.||16 oz.||8 oz. each||4 oz.||32 oz.||4 oz.||6 oz.||6 oz. each|
|Type||Pump spray||Pump spray||Pump spray||Pump spray||Pump spray||Pump spray||Pump spray||Pump spray||Pump spray||Pump spray|
|Main ingredients||Oil of lemon eucalyptus||Peppermint oil, spearmint oil, rosemary oil||Geraniol, peppermint, lemongrass, and clove||Geraniol, cedarwood oil, glycerol||Lemongrass oil, vitamin E, castor oil, glycerin||Organic essential oils such as citronella, lavender, and lemongrass||Cedarwood oil, lemongrass oil and sesame oil||Citronella, lemongrass, geraniol, and peppermint oil||Geraniol, soybean oil, rosemary and peppermint oil||Natural essential oils such as citronella, peppermint, rosemary, lemongrass, and geranium|
|Uses||Skin||Indoor and outdoor||Skin||Indoor||Skin||Skin||Indoor||Skin||Skin||Skin|
|Protection||Up to 6 hours||Long lasting||Up to 2 hours||Up to 2 weeks||Reapply hourly||Several hours||Several days to a week||Up to 3 hours||Long lasting||Up to 3 hours|
In order to help you choose a product that is safe for your family and can effectively treat your bug problem, we compiled a list of important points to keep in mind. Just make sure that the product can protect you for as long as you need!
Natural bug sprays contain various types of plant-based essential oils, including peppermint, geraniol, and thyme. Here are some of the most common ingredients that will keep all of the annoying insects at bay!
Lemon eucalyptus oil is derived from the leaves of the Eucalyptus citriodora tree and is effective against mosquitoes or deer ticks.
Compared to other plant-based ingredients, lemon eucalyptus oil can provide the longest-lasting protection - up to six hours. Nonetheless, lemon eucalyptus oil might irritate the eyes and should not be used for children under three years old.
Lavender, lemongrass, and tea tree oil are some other common ingredients that can fight off mosquitoes. Furthermore, they have strong antifungal and antiseptic properties that can calm and soothe itchy, irritated skin.
Since those ingredients are relatively gentle, they can be used for all skin types and are safe for both humans and pets.
Peppermint, neem, and geranium oil have been shown to provide long-lasting protection against various types of insects including mosquitoes, flies, gnats, and fleas. They are safe for topical use, but you should still take caution and avoid sensitive areas such as the eyes, mouth, and nose.
Many people assume that any bug spray can kill all types of insects, but there's a limit to how much it can do.
If you want a product that can repel mosquitoes, gnats, or ticks, then oil of lemon eucalyptus or lavender oil are some great options. Meanwhile, the combination of cedarwood and lemongrass oil would help you kill indoor pests like cockroaches or ants.
Products will have the types of bugs that they can repel written on them, so make sure that you choose a spray that can actually help you solve your bug problems!
While chemical bug sprays like DEET or picaridin can protect you for up to 14 hours against various types of insects, natural sprays remain effective for about three to four hours. Even oil of lemon eucalyptus, the most long-lasting natural bug spray ingredient, may only last for six or seven hours.
Check the duration of protection in the product's description. Furthermore, keep in mind that the majority of natural bug sprays are not water-resistant, so they will lose effect as you start sweating. Therefore, you might want to re-apply the product more often.
On the other hand, many natural bug sprays for indoor use claim to last for weeks. But depending on the ventilation in your house and the cleanliness of the surface which the spray is applied to, the effect can wear off more quickly.
On clean surfaces, the residual of the spray will continue killing the target insects. However, if you apply the spray to a porous, dirty surface or one exposed to sunlight and rain, the effect will disappear much more quickly.
There are two types of sprays: aerosol or pump. Each type has its own pros and cons, so consider them carefully before making a choice!
Pump sprays release their solution using manual pump pressure, so they do not contain propellants and tend to be more concentrated with active ingredients in comparison to aerosols.
And since pump sprays don't contain flammable propellants, the can won't burst into flames if used near a heat source. However, the amount of spray is limited to what goes in one pump, so it might be tough to get an even distribution.
Aerosols can spray continuously and help you get full, even coverage. However, be careful when using aerosols, since they often contain flammable propellants like butane or propane and might explode if used near a candle or an open fire.
Some aerosols also release volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Even though VOCs are not acutely toxic, they might cause some respiratory risks in the long run. Try not to spray an aerosol straight at your face and avoid inhaling it to protect your health!
Using a bug spray can be tricky, as you might inadvertently inhale the chemicals. So take a look at our tips to ensure that you're using the spray appropriately.
Natural bug sprays can be used for your home to prevent cockroaches, ants, or beetles. Usually, a product with essential oils such as peppermint oil can send most household bugs packing.
However, be careful when spraying indoors, as your kids and pets play on the floor and might accidentally ingest the spray. While essential oils are natural, they can still cause irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat.
So to safely use a bug spray inside the house, make sure to avoid areas that are frequently used by family members, like furniture. Make sure to apply the spray in the right place and cover foods, kitchen utensils, and personal items thoroughly before spraying.
After spraying, you should leave the room for a while for the spray to take effect. Afterward, open up your windows to clear the air!
For sprays used on your body, first and foremost, you should always follow the guidelines and use precautions to ensure that you're doing the right things. Spray the product four to eight inches away from exposed skin or clothing, and try to avoid sensitive areas such as your eyes, mouth, wounds, or irritated skin.
If you want to apply the product to your face, spray on your hands first and then rub the solution gently on your face. Apply the product in an open area to avoid inhaling the solution.
If you're going to use sunscreen too, you might want to apply that first, let it absorb into your skin, and then apply the bug spray. Even if you're going to re-apply the sunscreen, you don't need to re-apply the bug spray as well, unless you feel like you're getting bitten by mosquitoes.
Stay away from products that claim to protect you from both UV rays and insects, since the instructions for the use of sunscreen and a bug spray are very different!
While sunscreen should be applied every two hours, an insect repellent can last for several hours. Also, wash the repellent off with soap and water once you return indoors.
Whether you need protection from insects outdoors or in your home, we can help. And we promise not to use bad puns all the time. Check out our articles for further recommendations.
A natural bug spray might be gentle on your skin, but it can still cause allergic reactions especially when you inhale the product. So to be safe, don't spray directly at your face or sensitive areas like your eyes or mouth.
Now that you know how to choose and use a natural bug spray, it's time to get yourself one so that you can fight off all those stubborn bugs!
Author: Thuy Nguyen
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