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23 Smells That Repel Mosquitoes (How To Use Them?)

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What Smells Do Mosquitoes Hate

Why do you need scents to repel mosquitoes?

According to a study presented on, mosquitoes can carry & transport viruses, parasites, worms, and deadly infections in your body. In selected parts of the United States, mosquitoes had successfully transmitted harmful viruses such as dengue, chikungunya, West Nile, and Zika.

According to mosquito.orgover one million people worldwide die from mosquito-borne diseases yearly.

The reason behind showing all these studies is quite simple; you need to be aware of what a single bite of a mosquito can do to you when you’re completely involved in a camping & hiking trip.

Mosquitoes’ sensitive olfactory receptors can often detect the smells or scents up to 100 feet away.

Though there are several ways to protect yourself from mosquitoes using DEET-based sprays and paste, the harm a DEET can cause to your health, in the long run, is better not to imagine.

That’s why today I am going to share with you all the available smells or scents that you can use to repel mosquitoes, and you’ll get a list of fragrances that mosquitoes like the most so that you can be safe from both sides.

However, as a side note, you should also take other measures to protect yourself from these tiny creatures. The best thing you can do is to download the pdf given below to know some effective ways you can use it along with scents.

23 Smells that mosquitoes hate or dislike?

Mosquitoes hate many scents, and those with pungent smells are more effective.

Don’t think that essential oil is a flop solution because the working behind it is just this – they release scents in the surroundings to construct a barrier around you that will repel or deter the mosquitoes.

It’s good to wear loose clothes, so proboscis (their special mouthpart) find it difficult to reach the skin. Though apply the essential oil on clothes, especially if you wear reasonably tight clothes.

List of 23 natural smells that mosquitoes hate. You can use these smells to protect you from mosquitoes. All these smells are scientifically proven

Read Also: Best Products To Keep Mosquitoes Away (DEET Free)

Neem Oil

To use neem oil as a repellent, apply some neem oil from top to bottom. Then it will protect you from mosquitoes for around 3 hrs. Warning – keep neem oil aside from the tongue of infants and small children. If you have time, read this study on the effectiveness of DEET vs. Neem oil.

Spoiler the DEET is a winner, but again I don’t recommend using it as it has so many ill effects, but Neem – whether you eat it or drink it will only be beneficial for you – that’s guaranteed as I chew 3-5 neem leaves very often.


Camphor’s scent is one of the few smells that have long-lasting effects on keeping mosquitoes away. Add some camphor tablets to a small bowl filled with water and place them near your sleeping bag or bed. 

It will repel the mosquitoes the entire night. Another thing you can do is to burn some camphor tablet inside your tent after closing all the windows and doors and let the smell of it inside for about 30 minutes to make your tent smell like Camphor and thus deter mosquitoes.

Neem Smoke

It is good to find a neem tree on your campsite, but it is even better to pack some leaves of Neem before leaving your home and burn them close to your tent or wherever you sit asleep.

Let the Neem’s Smoke do their work for a minimum of 5 minutes near every place you sleep, sit, and eat.

You can easily find some neem in frost-free zones of California and Arizona. My nutritional advice is – to buy a neem tree or seed and plant it in your garden. Then for sure, you will have much better air to breathe. You can also buy a mini tree if you have less space. If you have time, read this scientific research on neem smoke as a mosquito repellent.


Place some lavender plants (5-10) surrounding where you don’t want the mosquitoes to come. When you feel like mosquitoes are coming, extract the oil from some leaves by crushing it, and its aroma will hinder the mosquitoes’ olfactory receptors. You can also apply the lavender oil extract to your exposed body part, though if your skin irritates, then don’t apply it on your skin.


Do you know a simple peppermint essential oil can protect you from mosquito bites for around 150 minutes? The study of April 2011 gives honor to peppermint as a dengue mosquito repellent. Apply some peppermint oil by crushing the peppermint leaves or essential oil available at your local or online store on the exposed body parts or clothes, and this will protect you from the bites for hours to come.

Lemon Eucalyptus

study in 2014 clearly shows that a solution containing 32% lemon eucalyptus oil can give you at least 95% protection from yellow fever mosquito and malaria-carrying mosquitoes for about 3 hours. You can easily find a good lemon eucalyptus essential oil on Amazon.

Aloe vera Gel & Olive Oil

How about mixing two of your favorite natural beauty products to make a scent to repel mosquitoes. According to research published in 2016, when these two things are combined, taking the concentration as per skin sensitivity. For this, you must not be allergic to aloe vera. Find some aloe vera gel and cream online or at local grocery stores.

Geranium Oil

The oil doesn’t produce scents that are great at repelling bugs, but when mixed with Lemon eucalyptus oil, they can have a wonderful medium-power mosquito-repelling smell together.


You may also have a lemongrass plant in your garden if you love lemon tea. Just take the grass, extract the oil from it, and store it in a small spray bottle. According to a study in Thailand, lemongrass oil produces a powerful mosquito-repelling scent that is safe for human and animal use, excluding mosquitoes.

Tea Tree Oil Smell:

Either spray the tea tree oil around your tent, or apply it directly on your skin or clothes after diluting it with a carrier oil, and it will not allow the mosquitoes to bite you.


This plant shows excellent mosquito repelling properties. The idea is simple, crush the leaves to release the essential oil into the surroundings and place it near your tent or patio or apply it on your skin and clothes to deter the mosquitoes.


Extract the Vetiver oil from the roots of vetiver grass or buy it online. Just spraying the oil in the air will deter the mosquitoes naturally. According to an experiment published in, the Vetiver oil consists of hundreds of components, and six show insect repelling properties.

Clove oil

According to a study published on PubMed, undiluted clove oil, when applied directly to the skin, shows 100% repellency against all three mosquitoes for 2 to 4 hours. However, using raw clove oil can cause headaches and skin irritation. That’s why you should use clove oil and coconut oil mixture, which research has shown have about 80 minutes of mosquito protection.


Take 6-10 pieces of garlic, cover them with mineral oil, and let them sit for 24 hours. After that, remove the garlic and add 1-2 cups of water and 1-2 tsp lemon juice. Filter the solution using a filter cloth and put it into a spray bottle. Now, spray the solution around your tents and may be on your clothes whenever you camp. Just make sure garlic has a harsh smell which not everyone likes.


Citronella is not a new name in mosquito deterrents. According to Malaria Journal, 100% Citronella can protect you from host-seeking mosquitoes for about 120 minutes, but this can cause skin irritation; that’s why it is available in 5-10% concentration in the market to eliminate skin sensitivity.

But because citronella contains citronellal, citronellol, geraniol, citral, α pinene, and limonene can evaporate too quickly, so either you can mix it with Cymbopogan to reduce the release date. Or you can purchase citronella candles which will burn slowly but only provides 50% of mosquito protection.


You can plant sage in your garden to add colors and textures. And when you go on your next camping trip, pack some sage leaves and apply them by rubbing them on your skin or put the dried sage leaves in your campfire to create a cloud that contains natural scents to repel mosquitoes.

Cinnamon Bark Oil

If you think there’s a source of still water near your campsite or house that includes mosquito eggs, spray some Cinnamon bark oil with you and pour it over the head. According to National Taiwan University, Cinnamon has an aldehyde group that is effective at stopping the growth of larvae of yellow fever mosquitoes.


Take some catnip leaves and crush them. The oil you get from this act, apply it on your clothes, tents, or other fabrics because it’s an EPA approved, and according to, it has shown near to the same efficiency as DEET.

Pine Oil

Dilute pine oil into the diffuser on hiking trips where you can sense the mosquito’s presence. A study conducted in 2005 noticed that Pine Oil provided 100% protection against Anopheles culicifacies for 11 hours and 97% protection against Culex quinquefasciatus for 9 hours. Moreover, pine oil or sol is also an effective lizard and bear repellent.


Add 1 cup of dried rosemary to 4 cups of water, boil it for 30 minutes and put 4 cups of cold water into another container. Now strain the rosemary water into the container. Use this solution to spray around your campsite, tent, or patio to repel the mosquitoes with their pungent smell.

Basil Oil

The author of the 2011 review noted that Basil oil provided 100% protection against yellow fever mosquitoes for more than 6 hours. You can find basil oil easily on amazon.


The smell of Vanilla is one of the powerful mosquito repellents because it hinders their ability to hone with food sources.


Because of its powerful smell, vinegar works well as a mosquito repellent. Apple cider vinegar and red vinegar are great options. Still, a vinegar as cheap as white vinegar can also help repel mosquitoes only after it is mixed with enough water, red or apple cider vinegar.

Coffee Beans

Drop some coffee beans in a stagnant water source, and its pungent smell will bring out the mosquito eggs from the water, and as they are not getting enough oxygen, the breeding will end.

9 Smells that mosquitoes like?

It is not enough to know the smells mosquitoes hate; if you want the ensured protection from bites, it is better that you don’t keep or use those things with you on camping & hiking trips whose smells mosquitoes love the most.

  1. Perfumed:
    1. Haircare products
    2. Aftershave
    3. Shampoo
    4. Cologne
    5. Body sprays
  2. Deodrant & perfumes
  3. Scented lotions
  4. Floral scents are the most significant mosquito attractor
  5. The flowery fragrance is something that female mosquitoes love the most.
  6. Orchid scents
  7. Carbon dioxide is the leading cause why mosquitoes are attracted to humans & mammals’ breath. Yeast is one of the sources of CO2.
  8. Please don’t get too Sweaty as it will invite mosquitoes to bite you.
  9. According to, mosquitoes need sugar, and male and female mosquitoes need sugar more frequently than blood for survival.

FAQs about smells & mosquitoes

What natural smells do mosquitoes hate?

As said, the natural smells that mosquitoes hate are: Citronella, Neem, Thyme, Peppermint, Aloe vera gel with olive oil, Rosemary, Pine oil, Lavender, Sage leaves, Geranium, Lemongrass, Lemon Eucalyptus, Vetiver, etc., These are just some names as I’ve covered more than 21 smells that mosquitoes hate so be sure to read & note them all.

Read Also: Smells That Repel & Attract Bears?

What to burn to repel mosquitoes?

There are three things I like the most to repel mosquitoes and some other bugs during my camping night, which are influential inside the house too.

Dry neem leaves, sage leaves, and citronella are the best things you can burn tonight to repel mosquitoes naturally. I like Neem the most, so give them the first shot if possible today, as Neem is the best thing you can burn to repel mosquitoes.

Do mosquitoes hate vinegar?

Yes, mosquitoes hate vinegar not because it has repelling substances but because of its powerful smell; it acts as a good mosquito repeller[source]. The only exception is white vinegar which needs to mix with water to gain 100% effectiveness.

Also, if you consume enough apple cider vinegar, it can strengthen our own body’s natural odor to repel mosquitoes.

Do mosquitoes hate Smoke?

The mosquitoes have no problem with Smoke because it hinders their olfactory receptors, making it hard for them to smell you as long as you’re within the smoke zone. However, you can increase its effectiveness by adding neem leaves in your fire pit because mosquitoes hate the smell of neem and neem smoke.

Do mosquitoes hate perfume?

No mosquitoes don’t hate perfume. They like its smell. Bombshell perfume is the only perfume shown to repel mosquitoes for about 2 hours [source].

Do mosquitoes hate Camphor?

Yes, mosquitoes hate Camphor because of its smell. So the best way to use it is to burn some camphor in your house after closing all the doors and windows and let its smell be inside your home or camping tent for about 30 minutes.

Also, you can put some camphor tablets in a small bowl filled with water and keep them near your bed. This will keep the mosquitoes away for the entire night.

Do mosquitoes hate hand Sanitizers?

source says they use hand sanitizers on legs and arms to repel mosquitoes. Because it’s an experience-based study done by an individual so I can say yes, hand sanitizers will work well at least for some time as hand sanitizers are alcohol-based and thus evaporate quickly.

Why do mosquitoes hate citronella?

Mosquitoes hate citronella not because it has some powerful scents but because it creates a cacoon to carbon dioxide and lactic acid scents that mosquitoes are fond of.

Do mosquitoes hate the smell of Citrus?

Yes, mosquitoes hate Citrus’s minty smell, which gives them a spicy feel.

Does Vicks Vapor Rub repel mosquitoes?

Yes, Vicks Vapor Rub contains methanol, which is why its scent helps repel the mosquitoes. However, it will be effective only for a short period. Though, you can apply it to mosquito stings for quick relief.

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