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Oil of lemon eucalyptus vs. DEET: have you found one to work better than the other at repelling insects?

By June 7, 2009 - 7:21pm
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The mosquitos are terrible this time of year! My son's legs look awful from all the bug bites, but I do not want to use DEET on him. I've heard of Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (sold as Repel, along with other similar manufactured products), and am wondering if this actually works? I don't want to buy another "natural" product that does not work, plus with my son's eczema, I can't just use "any" product on him (he is 2 years old).

What have you found that actually works, is not a poisonous pesticide (the oil of lemon eucalyptus is referred to by the FDA as a "biopesticide", meaning it is an insect repellent from a plant source).

Thanks in advance!

Add a Comment21 Comments

(reply to alysiak)

Interesting! Did you try the Repel brand of oil of lemon eucalyptus, and that didn't work?

Were you running and sweating it off, or just outside in the Texas heat?

(My son plays a lot outside, and sweats, but nothing like running for distance). Just wondering if there is a difference?

June 9, 2009 - 4:38pm
(reply to Alison Beaver)

Yes, I did try Repel. I seem to have some natural attraction to mosquitos, lol! I use the Off spray before a run and hope for the best.

Oh, well. :(

According to Rutgers University:

What Attracts Mosquitoes?: Mosquitoes are attracted by perspiration, warmth, body odor, carbon dioxide, and light.

So, I must be some bright looking, sweaty, warm, smelly, CO2-emitting center of attraction, haha! Sort of reminds me of Gary Trudeau's (Far Side) bird's eye view of the world.

June 9, 2009 - 4:56pm
(reply to alysiak)

...that explains why my toddler gets mosquito bites primarily on his head...

He has a huge forehead (and little hair to cover it), so I'm imagining it from the eyes of the mosquito: a great big, flashing neon "Party" sign for the mosquitoes.


June 9, 2009 - 5:08pm

Check out the Bug Band site. It uses the extract of a Geranium plant as a repellant.

June 9, 2009 - 2:51pm

I just wrote a SHARE on this topic...the Avon Skin So Soft uses the pesticide Picaridin. A little better than DEET, but still a pesticide that is not from an plant-source, so I'll pass on that one! :)

You can read my report: Toxicity Reports Summary on Insect Repellents

June 9, 2009 - 2:42pm

Skin so soft is great! It is a gentle moisturiser and really works to repel the little buggers.
Also, I sometimes put lemon juice on my skin and that works great too!
Buliding the immune system is a good idea...healthier bodies fight off the antibodies more efficiently.
This blog has some good and natural ideas.


June 9, 2009 - 2:22pm

Alison, I just saw a commercial last night for a product you can "clip on" -- I believe it's made by Off! -- it is small and round and blue and you can clip on to your belt or clothing, or lay it on a table next to where you are. It apparently repels mosquitoes around you.

I also am the person in a group who will get eaten by mosquitoes even when no one else is, but I hate spraying stuff on myself, so I am pretty eager to give this a try. It might be perfect since there are some things you can't use on your son's skin.

Also, you know about Avon's Skin So Soft, right? It has a nice scent but sends mosquitoes fleeing. They have a "dry spray" that works well for me. Not sure if it would irritate your son's eczema but it's very mild.

June 9, 2009 - 9:00am
(reply to Diane Porter)


that's so funny you mentioned the Off! Clip On repellent. I say the same commercial, and bought it at the store without looking at the label.

I got it home, and it says, "not for use by children". oops!

Then, I looked at the ingredients, as well as how it works. I took it back to the store without opening it. There are all sorts of warnings about "not inhaling the fumes"...it is basically the Off! insect repellent, but with a fan to blow the pesticide out around you. It supposedly covers you from head to toe, but you it is harmful to breathe. What?! So, instead of absorbing pesticide through the skin, you're inhaling it instead. No thanks! :) They did a good job with the advertising, though..got me to not even look at the label!

I have not heard of Avon's Skin So Soft...I'll look into that. Thanks!! :-) I can try it first (I get bitten often, too, and see if it irritates my skin, and can try a small patch on my kiddo).

June 9, 2009 - 1:47pm

Hi Alison -- I just went through the same thing myself. My daughter seems to get easily bitten up by mosquitoes, just like me. She will get bitten-up when no other kid does. I have had to keep her inside when all the other kids are outside, which I felt badly about, until I could figure out what to put on her. I did not want to put DEET on her & kept searching for something else. A woman at Target recommended "something all-natural in a green bottle," but they didn't have it there. Turns out they had it at the supermarket. It is called Bug Band. I put in on her every day and she never got bit after that. It doesn't smell that great, but it is an insect repellant after all!

June 7, 2009 - 9:42pm
(reply to joanna)


Can you tell me what ingredients are in the Bug Band?


June 9, 2009 - 1:44pm
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