Help my mom fight off the mosquitos with a pleasant smell.
July 20, 2007 8:10 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend a non-chemical lotion mosquito repellent?

My mom likes to garden in the muggy Texas heat. She loved Off Botanicals because it didn't smell like nasty chemicals and was a lotion. And it worked. Off no longer makes it. Can anyone recommend a replacement? Bonus if it would be available in a small town.
posted by Mavri to Home & Garden (19 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Off Botanicals is off the market? Damn. I swear by that stuff.
posted by JaredSeth at 8:12 AM on July 20, 2007


I've heard that Skin so Soft from Avon is very good.
posted by la petite marie at 8:15 AM on July 20, 2007


Looks like Skin so Soft has actually added insect repellent now http://shop.avon.com/shop/search.asp
posted by la petite marie at 8:19 AM on July 20, 2007


I don't know about any new versions with actual repellent in them, but regular Skin so Soft doesn't do a damned thing. My father must have heard the same rumor, and I spent the first ten years of my life tormented by bugs on every vacation.
posted by djb at 8:29 AM on July 20, 2007


Lots of garlic. Eaten, not rubbed on... although that may work too. Works for all bloodsuckers apparently. Good for repelling non-bloodsuckers around you as well. Actually, it's pretty much the universal repellant! And yummy to boot!

Kidding aside, garlic is supposed to be fine natural skeeter protection.

I'm more or less immune to skeeters as long as there are others around to eat. As it turns out I have a very slightly below average body tempurature (like maybe 98 degrees vs 98.5) and its the heat the bugs home in on. I wonder if there's things you can do that at least dont raise ones body temp that may help with mosquito defense? I have no idea. I read somewhere that after eating your body temp is usually a little higher, and obviously after exercise. Bit of a derail, but does anyone know if this is factual and may help vs the wee bugs?
posted by elendil71 at 8:40 AM on July 20, 2007


Or you can make your own. I found a few do-it-yourself sites on google that give some home remedies. Here is one that is organic.
posted by boots77 at 8:44 AM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


The DEET-based repellents are still superior, but it seems there are some recently introduced eucalyptus based ones that are quite good: "Recently introduced oil of eucalyptus repellents Fite Bite and Repel lasted an average of two hours."

The report also mentions skin so soft: "Various Skin-So-Soft products, including those containing either the chemical IR3535 or plant based citronella protected, on average, far less than 20 minutes."
posted by rpn at 8:44 AM on July 20, 2007


Burt's Bees makes a herbal spray that you can typically find at Wal-Mart (evil empire).
posted by PossumCupCake at 8:46 AM on July 20, 2007


Ah, the report was from 2002, so "recently" might not be so recently any longer.
posted by rpn at 8:48 AM on July 20, 2007


No idea if you can get it in the US, but I swear by Dr Johnson's. It smells nice, is DEET-free and also comes as wipes.
posted by methylsalicylate at 9:08 AM on July 20, 2007


Tea Tree Esential Oil repells mosquitos, smells good and is a natural anti-bacterial.
posted by NotInTheBox at 9:13 AM on July 20, 2007


Burt Bee's herbal spray, as mentioned by PossumCupCake is absolutely outstanding. It smells fantastic and doesn't go on greasy.

I'd made a few batches of the Bella Online DYI herbal bug spray found here and have had great success with it keeping away gnats, sweat bees, and the more timid of the Southern Ohio mosquitoes.
posted by banannafish at 9:36 AM on July 20, 2007


Here's the actual NEJM article from 2002 testing sundry repellents, DEET and not. (Provides more detail than rpn's link.)

Note that Repel Lemon Eucalyptus and Bite Blocker were the only non-DEET repellents that prevented bites for longer than 20 minutes. (Search the text of the article for "Repel Lemon" and "soybean" -- the chart is, oddly, incomplete.)

I'm crazily prone to getting chewed on by mosquitoes. Both of the above work I've used both for me.
posted by desuetude at 10:13 AM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


erm, I've used both of the above and they work for me
posted by desuetude at 10:14 AM on July 20, 2007


2nd the garlic. Though, if you want to avoid the garlic breath (or at least keep it to a minimum) I'll swear by the garlic capsules that you can get pretty much anywhere. I also find it most effective if you start taking them a couple days before you head out to the wilderness. FWIW
posted by indiebass at 10:43 AM on July 20, 2007


Dschungel Juice is my favorite natural bug repellent- it smells spicy, due to the clove oil, which for me is a big plus over headache-inducing citronella. I've never had much luck with tea-tree oil, but straight clove oil in a carrier oil like jojoba has worked pretty well. Tea-tree is great for taking away the sting of mosquito bites.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:01 AM on July 20, 2007


i'll swear by the regular skin-so-soft original scent bath oil. i've never been bitten by a mosquito when i've worn it. it's my primary repellent.

i put it on when i'm still wet from a shower.

i didn't like the smell of the new stuff with the repellent in it and curiously, it didn't work for me.
posted by elle.jeezy at 11:07 AM on July 20, 2007


Seriously, as an occasional organic farmer (weeds up to my armpits in some of the fields, no kidding) the best thing that works is covering up. Yeah, it's a bit hot, but I haven't had a single insect bite while working. Find a thin long-sleeved shirt, wear pants and socks. The sun-proof shirts have air gussets, as well. Bonus points: less skin damage.
posted by cobaltnine at 12:09 PM on July 20, 2007


I keep a patch of "eau de cologne" mint in the backyard, and the neighbor kids come by all the time , rub a handful of bruised leaves on themselves and sneak off. It's one of that family of scented mints, and because it's mint, it spreads like a weed only worse. It smells like the world's cheapest after shave. The kids whisper to the newer ones, "It's OK; they let us use it; we're just quiet so we don't bother them." I asked one of the kids once why they didn't go home for mosquito repellent, and they told me either Mom bastes us with skin-so-soft, or Mom makes us go in.
I don't garden much during mosquito hours, but the kids swear by it.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 9:32 PM on July 21, 2007


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