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Top Insect and Mosquito Repellents


Updated May 30, 2014

Protect against West Nile Virus and other mosquito-borne and insect-borne illnesses with insect repellent when walking outdoors. The Center for Disease Control recommends mosquito repellent with 5% to 50% DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide), as the best insect repellent for West Nile Virus mosquitoes. Over 50% DEET provides no further protection and can damage some fabrics.

1. Cutter Advanced Picaridin Insect Repellent Pump Spray

Cutter Advanced
Wendy Bumgardner ©

At last, this one is just about perfect. It is truly odorless. It really works. It doesn't eat through your fabric like DEET. Cutter Advanced Picaridin comes in a pump spray and is safe to use on skin and fabric. Tests show it is as effective as DEET.

2. Off! Deep Woods Insect Repellent

Off! Deep Woods Insect Repellent
Courtesy of Pricegrabber.

You can get this in pump, aerosol spray or towlettes, and check to see what the concentration of DEET is for each. Too much and you can damage fabrics. You may be able to find unscented versions, which I prefer.

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3. Mosquito Head Net

Mosquito Head Net
© Pricegrabber

If you are in a heavily-infested mosquito area, a head net may be the only way to fend them off - or to not inhale them.

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4. Repel Lemon Eucalyptus

Repel Lemon Eucalyptus
© Pricegrabber

Natural oils are used from the eucalyptus citriodora tree. It is gentle to skin and won't harm fabrics or surfaces. Repels mosquitoes, sandflies, ticks, midges, stable flies and more for up to six hours.

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5. Permethrin Tick Repellent for Clothing and Gear

Wendy Bumgardner ©

The CDC recommends permethrin-based repellents for clothing and gear. Spray this on your outdoors clothing, hat, shoes, etc. and the mosquito and tick protection lasts for a couple of weeks, even with washing.

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6. Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus Spray

With or without sunscreen SPF 15. Waterproof, DEET-free, PABA-free, with a Gentle Breeze scent or unscented.

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7. Ex Officio BugsAway Women's Clothing and Gear

Ex Officio Women's Bugsaway Baja Shirt
Courtesy of Pricegrabber

Sick and tired of spraying all the time? Now the BugsAway insect repellent finish is incorporated into all kinds of excellent outdoor clothing and activewear. These garments are odorless and made of great technical fabrics for all of your active outdoors needs. The repellent effect remains through dozens of washings.

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8. Ex Officio BugsAway Men's Clothing and Gear

Ex Officio Men's Bugsaway Baja Shirt
Courtesy of Pricegrabber

Keep the bugs away with these clothing and gear items with an insect repellent finish.

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9. Haeleum Shirts

I bought one of the long-sleeved women's Lyft shirts before a walking vacation. I loved the Ocean deep blue color and the fabric was soft and dried very fast when I hand-washed it and air-dried during the trip. The fabric uses Insect Shield® Repellent Technology, which is EPA registered. The repellent should last through 70 launderings. It also has SPF 50 sun rating. I've read many favorable reviews for insect-repellency, but we didn't encounter many bugs to repel. But I loved the shirt so much that I ordered a short-sleeved version as soon as I got home.

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