What are the Best and Safest Insect Repellents?
Summer is almost upon us and as we head into warmer weather, I am starting to buy all of our necessary provisions! After our roundup of the best (and safest) sunscreens, we complied a list of some of the least toxic bug and insect repellents on the market with no DEET. Check out some of our top picks and be stay bite-free this summer!
1. Badger Anti-Bug Balm, USDA Certified Organic Insect Repellent:
Rated as one of the top repellent’s on cosmeticdatabase.org (a fantastic resource created by the Environmental Working Group where you can locate chemical-free products such as sunscreen, make-up, oral care, skin products, etc), Badger Anti-Bug Balm contains no DEET and includes all-natural ingredients such as castor oil, rosemary and extra virgin olive oil. They also sell a spray called Badger Anti-Bug Shake & Spray Insect Repellent that offers the same benefits and protection as the balm that can last up to 3 hours!
2. BiteBlocker Organic Xtreme:
Considered safe for children of all ages (even babies) and for pregnant women, BiteBlocker Organic is made from plant-based ingredients such as soybean, coconut oil, purified water, geranium oils. According to Consumer Search, BiteBlocker works to fight off mosquitoes, ticks and black flies, but performance seems between individuals. It is also sweat-proof, non-toxic, and DEET-free. We used this one all last summer and felt it was very effective. However, you need to put it on a full 20 minutes before you head out to Blood Valley!
3. Bubble and Bee Organic Bug ‘Bee’ Gone 100% Organic Insect Repellent:
An all-natural product, Bubble and Bee Organic Insect Repellent contains organic soybean oil, organic eucalyptus essential oil, and organic lemongrass essential oil. This DEET-free and synthetic-free spray is also said to smell good and protect against mosquitoes and bugs. When using, be sure to re-apply every two hours (or as needed).
4. Brittanie’s Thyme Organic Insect Repellent:
An all-natural product that contains soybean oil, rosemary oil, lemongrass oil, and cedar oil that also provides a light floral and woodsy scent. The company recommends that you apply it every 4-5 hours or when needed.
5. Burt’s Bees Herbal Insect Repellent:
This herbal insect spray by Burt’s Bees contains rosemary, lemongrass, and citronella oils mix with five other oils that bugs hate. This 100% all-natural blend should be applied liberally to exposed skin, particularly to ankles, legs, arms and the hairline.
6. Purple Prairie Bug Stuff:
The Bug Stuff by Purple Prairie is an all-natural, safe way to protect your kids from gnats, flies and mosquitoes. As a lotion base, the product is safe for all ages and contains a blend of essential oils and plant extracts such as rosemary oil, lavender oil, tea tree and eucalyptus.
7. Buzz Away Extreme Natural Insect Repellent:
Available in a spray bottle or handy towelette wipe, Buzz Away Extreme contains essential plant oils such as soybean, lemongrass, and geranium oil. This DEET-free formula also lasts up to 4 hours against mosquitoes, up to 2.5 hours on ticks, and also repels fleas, gnats and flies. It is also non-greasy and is said to smell nice.
8. California Baby Citronella:
A gentle bug repellent that contains citronella, lemongrass and cedar essential oils that is safe for newborns. Made from organic and sustainably grown ingredients, this DEET-free product is said to repel bugs while also soothing any exciting bites.
9. Repel Plant Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent:
A safe formula, Repel’s insect repellent is a plant-based formula that is said to protect against mosquitoes, sand flies, ticks, midges, and stable flies for up to 6 hours. This all-natural product also contains lemon eucalyptus, a natural and renewable resource and an ingredient recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
For additional information, you should also read “Which Insect Repellent is Right for Your Kids?” by Healthy Kids, Healthy World that emphasizes that kids should stay away from DEET. Some points in the article said that DEET causes lethargy, headaches, tremors, involuntary movements, seizures, and convulsions in children.
We also discovered Safemama.com and her Bug Repellent Cheat Sheet that includes prices, reviews, a Skin Deep Rating, and an extensive product list featuring repellents that are free from DEET, parabens, phthalates, PEGs, Sulfates, Dioxanes, Proplyene Glycols and synthetic fragrances.
We also love the Environmental Working Group’s extensive list of safe bug and insect repellents for further product reviews and comparisons.