Best Natural Mosquito Repellent: DEET-Free Spray + 1 DEET Option

When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Here’s how it works.

Cutter logo
Sawyer logo

Next time you decide to go camping or spend time outdoors, make sure you have plenty of bug repellent on hand to keep pesky bugs at bay. Mosquitoes love the smell of sweat, dark clothing and maybe even your blood type. Fortunately, we can repel mosquitoes without coating ourselves in toxic chemicals. These best natural mosquito repellent can help!

Article Overview

What To Look For In Natural Repellents

If you’re looking for natural mosquito control, you’ll want to follow this rule: If you can’t pronounce the ingredients on the back of a label or it sounds like a chemical compound, it’s probably not natural. 

For instance, can you pronounce any of these words on your first try: picaridin, methylpropyl, hydroxyethyl, piperidine carboxylate? Not so easy, eh?

These were some of the ingredients we found in common name brand mosquito repellents. We’re not suggesting that you should never put these on your skin, but we are saying that if you’re looking for organic, natural mosquito repellents, you should probably put the bottles down that include these ingredients.


DEET is a popular ingredient found in insect repellents. It effectively keeps biters away. Some believe that DEET is toxic and shouldn’t be used on the skin, while others think it’s just fine because it’s been around for 50 years.

If you want to learn more about DEET, we recommend reading these myths and facts about DEET. If you’re traveling to a geographic location with a high risk of mosquito-borne illnesses (Zika, West Nile virus, malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, elephantiasis, etc.), carefully weigh the pros and cons of using DEET (the most active ingredient against mosquitoes).

Using this toxic ingredient from time to time may be worth the risk compared to the very high risks associated with these severe illnesses.

Best Natural Mosquito Repellents

Below are our picks for the best natural mosquito repellents by type, allowing you to pick the one you are the most comfortable with. We also recommend a natural bracelet option if you have sensitive skin or aren’t a fan of sprays. If you want to make your own homemade mosquito repellent, skip down. And don’t forget to check out some plants you should have around if you’re going to deter those pesky critters from your home and yard.

Best Natural, DEET-Free Repellents: Cutter

Cutter Deet-Free RepellentView on Amazon

Cutter is a well-known brand that makes a full line of yard care and pest control products. Their insect repellent comes in a 4-ounce bottle and is sold individually or in a pack of 6.

Our founders use this product and are big fans of this natural method to keep bugs away without any DEET.

It also has a pleasant fragrance and moisturizing oils to keep your skin glowing in the summer sun. But, because it’s oily, it might not last as long when you sweat.



  • DEET-free
  • Made with lemon and eucalyptus oils
  • Lasts up to six hours
  • Fresh, clean scent (essential oils)
  • Repels ticks and mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus

  • Oily consistency does not work well with traditional sunscreen


Sawyer Products Premium Controlled Release Insect Repellent LotionSafest Bug Repellent With DEET: Sawyer

View On Amazon

If you’ve opted to use a bug spray with DEET but are seeking a safer solution than the traditional brands, we recommend Sawyer Products Premium Controlled Release Insect Repellent Lotion. It uses a controlled release method. allowing it to work up to 11 hours against mosquitoes and ticks.

Two of our team members went to Trinidad to build houses with Habitat for Humanity, and their research found this to be a reliable and safer choice (even for kids) when faced with the risks of Zika and Yellow Fever on the island. It’s what we use and worth your consideration in dense mosquito zones (also protects against ticks).



  • Repels mosquitoes and ticks for up to eleven hours
  • Safe to use on children and pets
  • Non-greasy, odorless and sweat-proof formula (can be used with sunscreen)
  • Organic ingredients
  • Made in the USA
  • Contains DEET (only 20%)


Best Mosquito Bracelets: RiptGear

RiptGear Mosquito BraceletsView on Amazon

Are you looking for an alternative to sprays? Or maybe you want to use something in addition to them. The RiptGear mosquito bracelets come in a 15 pack in a variety of pastel colors. They are also effective for the whole family since they are size adjustable.

Each citronella-infused bracelet lasts up to 240 hours, keeping you bug-free all summer. Just place it back into the resealable pouch in between uses to maintain its strength. These are also great for travel since they don’t contain any liquid.



  • Repels mosquitoes and ticks for up to 240 hours
  • Safe to use on children
  • Non-messy and ideal for travel
  • Waterproof but less effective when wet.
  • Made from all-natural, organic ingredients
  • 15 pack (wear multiple bands or share with others)
  • Reports suggest they are not always powerful enough and the colored dye may stain clothes when wet


5 Homemade Mosquito Repellent Tips

Below are some homemade options for organic mosquito control. You may have many of these items at home, so you may not have to spend any money.

  1. Apply vanilla extract or vanilla essence to your pulse points.
  2. Rub lavender flower behind your ears, wrists and neck.
  3. Combine 1 part lemon eucalyptus oil and 10 parts sunflower oil or witch hazel in a spray bottle. Shake and spray.
  4. Combine 1-1/2 T water, 1 t castor oil, 8 drops rosemary essential oil, 8 drops lemongrass essential oil and 4 drops geranium essential oil in a 2 oz amber spray bottle. Shake and spray.
  5. Mix the following in a spray bottle: 6 oz witch hazel, 2 oz castor oil, 5 drops cinnamon oil, 15 drops eucalyptus oil and 15 drops citronella oil. Shake and spray.

15 Of The Best Mosquito Repellent Plants


Below is a list of plants that repel mosquitoes. You may want to consider having these mosquito-repelling plants around to get rid of those pesky pests.

  • Ageratum
  • Basil
  • Catnip
  • Cedars
  • Citronella
  • Citrosum
  • Geranium (also useful for repelling ticks)
  • Horsemint
  • Lavender
  • Lemon balm
  • Marigolds
  • Pennyroyal
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Sage

How To Get Rid Of Mosquito Bites Fast

Did you forget to reapply your bug spray? Don’t we all?! Bug bites can be immensely itchy and uncomfortable. Fortunately, there are seven easy steps to get rid of your bug bites sooner. Watch the video below to stop itching now. You can also apply a drop of lavender essential oil to calm the itch.

Tips For Using Insect Repellent Properly

No matter what insect repellent you choose, it’s important to use it properly. Be sure to read the instructions carefully.

As a general rule, you don’t want to spray the repellent on your hands because you risk getting it in your eyes or mouth. You’ll also want to shake repellents vigorously to make sure the ingredients haven’t separated.

Additional Ways To Stay Healthy With Beauty

When it comes to being green with what you put on your body, it doesn’t stop at mosquito repellent. Sunscreen can be dangerous as well as toothpaste.

Do you use DEET bug repellent, or are you anti-DEET? Why?

Tagged With:
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments