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10 DEET-FREE NATURAL BUG REPELLENTS TO HELP KEEP YOU BITE-FREE ALL SUMMER LONG

Got 99 problems but a mosquito bite ain’t one. 😎

One downside to warmer weather? Bug bites. Waking up covered with those itchy red welts is enough to make you wish winter lasted all year (OK, maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but still). Unfortunately, a lot of bug repellents give us that sticky, I-just-doused-myself-in-chemicals feeling.

Many parents are leery of the ingredient DEET that can be found in some mainstream bug repellents, as they are worried about the potential dangers and side effects. To learn more about this controversial ingredient, we spoke with Dr. Jeannette Graf, board-certified dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

She tells Best Products, “Bug sprays that contain DEET have been considered the most effective repellents for years, and endorsed by the World Health Organization. The ingredient is safe and long-lasting.” Unfortunately, however, sprays containing DEET can be oily and irritating to people with very sensitive skin, and children are sometimes turned off by sprays with this ingredient, according to Graf.

DEET-FREE INSECT REPELLENTS

Easy Application: Squito Ban Spray

Customer Favorite: Off! Botanicals

Best Organic: Hello Bello Bug Repellent

Most Affordable: Repel Lemon-Eucalyptus Insect Repellent

Best Smell: All Terrain Kids Spray

Best Incense: Murphy's Natural Incense

Best Candles: Large Citronella Candles

Unique Formula: Medella Naturals Spray

Picaridin Choice: Sawyer Insect Repellent

Continue reading about the best DEET- free bug repellents, written by Cat Bowen here.

LAST UPDATED

December 3, 2023

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Sawyer has an alternative [to DEET] made with Picaridin, which works just as well without spoiling your clothes.

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Zinzi Edmundson, the founder of Treehouse newsletter, who gardens in Maine, suggests spraying your shoes, especially (she uses Sawyer’s permethrin).

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I carry bottles of water, but I also have a Sawyer squeeze water filter. Also, if it’s cold, make sure you sleep with your water filter in your sleeping bag, so it doesn’t freeze.

Shilletha Curtis