Which Mosquito Repellent Is Most Effective?



Most Effective Mosquito Repellent

What are the most effective mosquito repellents?

1.According to ingredients: (a) DEET, (b) picaridin, and; (c) IR3535
2. According to solutions: (a) Repelling Wristbands, (b) natural lotions and sprays, and; (c) synthetic lotions and sprays

Houston, we have a problem: It’s the summer season, A.K.A. the time all mosquitoes know and love. You see, these nasty bloodsuckers thrive in tropical areas (read: hot and humid environments). And since the Philippines just got a bit more humid due to the summer weather, mosquitoes are on the lookout to, well, suck your blood.

Most would take precautions and immediately call pest control services to deal with the few mosquitoes they see within their vicinity. Others would go with mosquito coils, while others will opt for mosquito repellents.

But with so many out in the market, how do you choose the best one? By best, we mean it’s like the parting of the Red Sea when you pass through a group of mosquitoes untouched. Read on, as we’ll tackle which mosquito repellent is most effective.

However, before we proceed with these solutions, it’s still best to address the common lack of knowledge of most consumers with regards to repellents.


A common issue for consumers is the lack of knowledge in mosquito repellents, which often leads to wasted efforts of purchasing solutions to mosquito infestation. While people may know the brand, it may not be sufficient, especially when determining which solution would work best for your mosquito problem.

According to Forbes, survey results showed that almost all consumers who participated in the survey were unfamiliar with effective insect repellent ingredients, namely picaridin and IR3535. Though, at the very least, they have been made aware of DEET.

Going further with Forbes’ survey results, it also showed a misconception on citronella which was believed to be a “natural” ingredient on mosquito repellents. What’s disturbing about it was that there was a major 73% of the participants who agreed that it was effective, even though it is not.

To avoid further misconception on these mosquito repellent ingredients, here are among the most effective ingredients that you should look for in your purchase for a mosquito repellent:

  • DEET

This well-known mosquito repellent ingredient has been known to effectively get rid of mosquitoes and avoid the risks of mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika virus, malaria, or West Nile virus. It was developed for soldiers way back in 1946 by the United States Army, and was later licensed for the use of consumers by 1957.

It is commonly available in various forms, be it that the consumer prefers the solution in liquids, sprays, lotions or roll-ons. Unlike other mosquito repellents, DEET is advised to be applied directly on the skin in order to avoid mosquitoes from detecting people. This is because DEET mainly affects the mosquitoes’ receptors. Unlike its effect on mosquitoes, consumers can safely use any solution that contains DEET given that it has not shown any effects such as cancer, or birth defects despite the constant use.

In fact, regular usage is recommended for the young, given that they are more prone to mosquito bites and the diseases that it transmits.


Made in the 1980s, picaridin effectively repels insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and chiggers. This synthetic compound was developed to resemble piperine, a compound found in a group of plants that naturally produces black pepper.

Primarily, it helps block a person’s scent from the insects in order to avoid insect bites. However, unlike other repellents, it does not kill them.

To use a solution containing picaridin, apply it directly on the skin and clothing, however, it cannot be avoided to experience skin irritation at times.

  • IR3535

IR3535 (or Insect Repellent 3535) is also a synthetic compound developed by Merck in the 1980s. Basically, its original chemical name is Ethyl butylacetylaminopropionate.

This chemical is a synthetic amino acid, which, similar to the first two mosquito repellent ingredients, blocks the insect’s sense of smell. It’s an effective ingredient given that it has been used to avoid Aedes mosquito species which are the main carriers of Zika, Chikungunya, West Nile virus, and Yellow Fever back in the days.

The only downside of IR3535 is that, it’s not as effective when it comes to Anopheles mosquitoes which transmits Malaria disease.


There are 3 kinds of solutions for this problem: wristbands, natural, and synthetic (read: branded) lotions & sprays. We’ll take a close look at each one and evaluate how helpful they really are in keeping mosquitoes at bay.

Repelling Wristbands

mosquito wristband

You may have seen these in some health clinic or medical boutique packaged in a clear, small plastic bag. It may have natural ingredients like citronella, or even a synthetic solution such as DEET on a small portion of the band. It may even have tiny device that creates mosquito-repelling sound waves. Sounds pretty cool, huh?

Believe us when we say that this is all form, no function. Sure, there are repellents attached to a part of this wristband, but if you’re wearing one, it will offer you zero protection. Oh, did you see that? A mosquito just bit you in the hand where you are wearing the wristband. Don’t buy this for your family members. They don’t work.

Natural lotions & sprays

citronella lotion

Natural repellents are made from the oil extracts of plants. Lemon eucalyptus, cinnamon, peppermint, clove, and germanium are just some of the plants these natural solutions are made from. Though they do offer protection against mosquitoes, it is very minimal at best, ranging from 3 to 20 minutes tops. Plus, they have to be reapplied to your skin at least every two hours. Not really your best defense.

Synthetic lotions & sprays

synthetic lotion

The main ingredient of commercially sold repellents is DEET, a man-made chemical that is proven to be very, very effective in keeping mosquitoes at bay. DEET applications last from 1.5 hours to 5 hours max! Check the ingredient label of a product to make sure DEET is included. The more percentage of DEET there is in, the stronger the product. Avoid spraying in the eyes and mouth, as they are toxic, especially for kids.

Key Takeaway

So, which one?

Based on our analysis, synthetic lotions and sprays win this round. Because of their longevity, they are the most effective mosquito repellents in the market.

We hope you learned something new today. Do you agree with the facts written here? Sound off in the comments section below and let us know what you think.