bug spray girl

With summer in full swing, it’s time to put together that travel bag you’ll be using for all your personal care needs while enjoying the outdoors this summer. Pesky mosquitoes and other ankle biters are never far away out there, but there are natural alternatives that don’t involve nasty chemicals or dousing yourself like you’re in an AXE body spray commercial. Although completely avoiding DEET sprays might not be the smartest option if you’re headed to bug-infested swamps, consider more natural alternatives that are effective and safer to use in more friendly confines and around real babies and fur babies alike.

Natural bug sprays

Many natural bug sprays are made of plant-based essential oils, which contain plant-based organic compounds that repel or deter insect attacks – I guess Nana wasn’t crazy with her folk remedies! Compared to normal bug sprays which contain anywhere between 24-50% DEET (picaridin) as an active ingredient, DEET-free natural alternatives have much lower levels of insect-repellent compounds; obviously, this means you’ll need to apply more often to maintain its effectiveness. Another tricky factor involves sprays containing PMD, a chemical copy of the Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, which is a trade brand of eucalyptus tree extract, so don’t be fooled by the au naturel designation on their labels.

Here’s our list of natural sprays that are worth checking out:

  • Honest Bug Spray: An organic bug spray from Jessica Alba’s popular Honest Company brand, this spray contains 45% total organic active ingredients – one of the highest available in the marketplace – and will last about 4 hours.
  • All Terrain Herbal Armor Natural Insect Repellent: One of the best-selling natural bug sprays on Amazon, which also has one of the highest levels of essential oils for its active ingredients. Contains over 25% in essential oils, and should be reapplied every 2-3 hours for maximum effectiveness.
  • Gardencense Mosquito Repellent Spray: An honorable mention for natural insect sprays; this contains 12% essential oils as part of its total organic active ingredients.


Mosquito Incense Sticks

A long-time summer time staple all over Asia, mosquito incense sticks are finding a growing audience in the US. If you’re looking to avoid spraying repellent directly onto your body and want to get a wafty smoke-screen that deter pesky mosquitos, this is your ticket. Great for outdoor protection during bbqs or while hanging out in the backyard or the porch, these sticks are formulated from responsibly sourced plant-based ingredients, infused with organic essential oils, and are easy to grab and go:

  • Murphy’s Naturals Mosquito Sticks: A Certified B-Corporation, Murphy’s mosquito sticks differentiate themselves with a 10% essential oil content guarantee (compared to <2% for most “citronella” products). Originally released on Indiegogo, they have grown in popularity and are now available under both their own brand and Amazon Lights.
  • New Mountain Sandalwood Mosquito Sticks: Straight from the deserts of Western Australia, these incense sticks are made from 100% Western Australian Sandalwood (santalum spicatum) and a blend of essential oils. These are great if you hate the harsh smell of citronella, and are a great sustainable alternative available at Chinaberry.com.

mosquito incense

Insect repelling balms

If you’re put off by that immediately recognized citronella smells that screams “I’M GOING CAMPING”, or you’re the type to sweat waterfalls during horridly humid summer months, bug balms just may be the thing for you. This stuff isn’t only easy to carry and use, it’ll also help moisturize your skin all the while keeping mosquitoes away – a triple win! You won’t feel guilty using this on the youngsters either:

  • Badger Anti-Bug Balm: Badger’s has a great line of natural insect repellent products that don’t contain any DEET, petrolatum, or other chemicals, and smells pretty awesome. Did I also mention it lasts between 3-4 hours? Score!

badger balm

Never let mosquitoes or stinky repellents ruin your fun again. Make sure to grab these natural bug repellents, and power up your summer!