Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


Summer mosquitoes can seem overwhelming. They can even drive you to heavy doses of pesticidal repellent.

Bad idea. Or might be, according to the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, which estimates up to 56 percent of the most common repellent used on the skin (diethylmetatoluamide or DEET) enters the bloodstream, and can remain in your system for two months. So try a few healthier options before grabbing that bottle of Off!:

Make Your Own:
Mix citronella or oil of pennyroyal with a dash of vegetable oil, or even a splash of vodka. Or cheat, and buy natural repellents that include these effective ingredients.
Soft Approach:
Avon sells a repellent without even trying. Jimmy Carter is among fans who claim a mixture of one part Skin-So-Soft bath oil and one part water keeps mosquitoes away–and makes even the rankest camper smell pretty. But Avon downplays this use: They want their bath oil associated with silky smooth skin, not insecticide.
A Fine Whine:
Also available are small, solar-operated gadgets that emit a high-pitched whine that bugs even the hungriest mosquitoes. Keep one of them on the car’s dashboard or on your beach blanket until it charges, then flip it on at dusk, and watch bugs buzz off.
Dress the Part:
For rainforesty conditions, get serious: Wear long-sleeved shirts, tuck pants into socks, don gloves and a hat, and wrap a bandanna around your neck. If you have to use a DEET product, apply sparingly, and in low concentrations (30 percent DEET for adults, 20 percent for children). Treat clothing instead of skin, but keep in mind DEET can corrode plastic, rayon, spandex, and even vinyl car seats.

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up to $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate