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6 Best Deet-Free Bug Sprays for the Whole Family

Bug off, 'squitos! (And ticks, flies and other critters)

The outdoors is packed with family fun, from hiking to kayaking to splashing in muddy puddles. Parents know to put bug spray in their bags right next to sunscreen, but it can be hard to make a decision on what kind of insect repellent to use. Should you go with a spray or lotion? Do you need DEET in your kid’s bug spray or not?

We consulted an expert on what DEET-free bug spray is and why it’s a better choice for your kids and then came up with a list of the best DEET-free bug sprays for your family.

What is DEET-free bug spray?

DEET is the abbreviation for N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, an active ingredient in many insect repellents, according to Dr. Krupa Playforth, a pediatrician and founder of The Pediatrician Mom. DEET-free means that instead of this chemical, a bug spray contains an alternative ingredient to keep bugs away.

"DEET-free products vary widely in their ingredients, both in terms of how effective they are and in terms of how well-studied (and safe) they are considered," she says.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the frequent application of insect repellents to safeguard against bug bites and diseases including Zika, West Nile and malaria (among others).

Continue reading for the complete guide by Lauren Harden here.

LAST UPDATED

December 3, 2023

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Lauren Harden

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Effective against a wide range of insects: Sawyer Permethrin is known to be effective against mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, mites, and more than 55 other kinds of insects.

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Sawyer Products SP5432 Picaridin insect repellent spray is also very small and compact. You can easily take this insect repellent anywhere you want. This makes it an ideal option for any traveler and adventurer who wants to have a safe journey.

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Depending on where you travel, you may want to pack bug spray, too. In places like Florida and North Carolina, summers get buggy, and you’ll be happy to have packed a spray on nights when you want to sit on the porch or dine outdoors.

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