Many people are always on the hunt for a chemical-free way to keep mosquitoes off their skin during outdoor activities. One solution that some people have proposed is vinegar. Some people swear by vinegar as an effective mosquito repellent because of its acidic nature, which may make it difficult for mosquitoes to land on the skin. However, is this true? Here’s what you need to know about using vinegar as a mosquito repellent.
The science behind mosquito attraction and repellents
Mosquitoes are attracted to humans and animals through a combination of their sense of smell and sight. They are drawn to the carbon dioxide in people’s breath, and the scent of the bacteria and sweat on our skin. This is why they are more attracted to some people than others. People who are active, pregnant, or have recently consumed alcohol, for instance, may be more attractive to mosquitoes.
To keep mosquitoes at bay, many people use chemical-based insect repellents that contain DEET, picaridin, and other synthetic ingredients. These ingredients work by either camouflaging your scent or making it difficult for mosquitoes to detect you. However, some people are concerned about the potential health risks of using these chemicals and prefer to use natural remedies instead.
Vinegar and mosquitoes
Vinegar is one of the most widely used natural remedies for a variety of household purposes. Its acidic nature is what makes it an effective cleaning agent, but is it also a mosquito repellent? There are mixed reports on the effectiveness of vinegar to repel mosquitoes. Some people swear by it, while others find it ineffective.
Does vinegar repel mosquitoes?
Studies have shown that vinegar does repel certain types of mosquitoes. One study published in the Journal of Insect Science found that vinegar and other home remedies like lemon eucalyptus oil and cinnamon oil were effective in repelling mosquitoes, but not as effective as DEET. This study found that vinegar repelled mosquitoes for a duration of 60 minutes.
Another study conducted at the Malaria Research Institute in Tanzania found that 5% acetic acid (vinegar) repelled 72% of malaria-transmitting mosquitoes for up to 4 hours. However, this study used a much higher concentration of vinegar compared to the 1% concentration used in the previous study.
How to use vinegar as a mosquito repellent
If you’re interested in trying vinegar, there are a few different methods you can use.
- Vinegar spray: Mix equal parts of water and vinegar in a spray bottle and spritz it onto your skin and clothes. Avoid spraying it in your eyes or mouth.
- Vinegar-soaked cloth: Soak a cloth in vinegar and apply it to your skin, or place it near you to keep mosquitoes away.
- Vinegar candle: You can also burn a candle made with vinegar and citronella to repel mosquitoes.
Other natural remedies for mosquito repellents
While vinegar may work for some people, it’s not the only natural remedy you can use to keep mosquitoes away. Here are a few other options that you can try:
- Essential oils: Some essential oils, such as lemongrass, clove, and peppermint, are known to repel mosquitoes. Mix a few drops of oil with a carrier oil like coconut oil, and apply it to your skin.
- Citronella: Citronella is a natural insect repellent that is often used in candles, sprays, and other products. Use it in combination with other natural remedies for maximum effectiveness.
- Garlic: While the smell of garlic may not be pleasant to some, studies have shown that mosquitoes don’t like it. Eat garlic raw or cooked, or use garlic supplements to repel mosquitoes from the inside out.
The verdict on vinegar and mosquitoes
While vinegar may work for some people as a mosquito repellent, it’s not a foolproof solution. It may be effective for a short period, but you may need to reapply it frequently. Additionally, the smell of vinegar may not be preferable to everyone.
Ultimately, the best way to avoid mosquito bites is to avoid being outside during peak mosquito hours, wear long sleeves and pants, and use a combination of natural remedies and chemical-based insect repellents if needed.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Does vinegar keep mosquitoes away indoors?
- What kind of vinegar works best?
- Is vinegar safe to use on skin?
- Can I use vinegar as a mosquito repellent for my pets?
Vinegar may repel mosquitoes indoors as well, but it’s not as effective as other solutions like screens or mosquito nets.
White vinegar works best for repelling mosquitoes. Other types of vinegar, such as apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar, are less effective.
Vinegar is generally safe to use on skin, but it may cause irritation or dryness in some people. Dilute vinegar with water or use a vinegar-based product specifically formulated for skin use.
It’s not recommended to use vinegar on pets to repel mosquitoes. Instead, use pet-specific mosquito repellents that are safe and suitable for your pet’s skin.
- Reginaldo, J., et al. (2011). Efficacy and longevity of essential oils as repellents against the bite of Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae). Journal of Insect Science, 11(1), 212.
- Journal of insect science, Published 26 September 2019.