Not Today, Bugs: 5 Natural Bug Repellents For An Itch-Free Summer

lighting a not today, bugs citronella patio candle to repel mosquitos on a hot summer day

If there’s one thing to know about me, it’s that I live for summertime. Long days that turn into pastel sunsets, somersaulting into lakes and rivers, ripe peaches, roaring bonfires — to me, there’s no better time to be alive.

However, while stone fruit and swimming are incredible summertime perks, I’ll be the first to admit that mosquitoes are a serious seasonal pitfall. Unfortunately, the prevalence of climate change only means that these tiny, flying bloodsuckers will become more prevalent in the coming years. Mosquitoes breed in warm, humid areas, and the globe’s rising temperatures are transforming even temperate areas into mosquito heaven.

all-natural bug spray mosquito repellent for summer

That’s why keeping a good bug repellent handy is key to making it through the summer season. Another fun fact about myself is that I don’t like putting toxic chemicals on or near my body. It’s all part of trying to live a clean, minimalist lifestyle! Thankfully, DEET-free bug repellents are just as effective as conventional ones, so I like to go for the natural alternative.

Natural bug repellents work by emitting volatile molecules (i.e. molecules that are easily vaporized) into the air, which then release a scent that mosquitoes don’t like. There are plenty of plant oils out there that emit these volatile molecules to keep mosquitoes at bay. Here are some of our favorites:

  1. Murphy's Naturals Lemon Eucalyptus Oil Insect Repellent Spray

    murphy's naturals lemon eucalyptus bug repellent oil for mosquitos and ticks

    Lemon eucalyptus oil has been touted as one of the most effective natural bug repellents out there since the 1940s. Murphy’s is a natural, plant-based, DEET-free repellent formulated with lemon eucalyptus oil to protect against pesky mosquitoes and ticks. This spray shields against mosquitoes for up to six hours and ticks for up to four.

  2. Aunt Fannie’s Mosquito Repellent Spray

    Aunt Fannie’s natural blend of essential oils comes highly recommended from the product’s reviewers. This spray gets bonus points because it’s also fortified with vitamin E, a great ingredient for keeping skin healthy and supple!

  3. Aunt Fannie’s Mosquito Repellent Wipes

    aunt fannie's mosquito repellent wipes

    Not a fan of sprays? Try Aunt Fannie’s natural mosquito repellent wipes, which, according to the product website, “helps mosquitos bite the dust long before they bite you.” Better yet, these wipes are biodegradable, paraben-free, sulfate-free, triclosan-free, and powered by essential oils. Oh, and they’re definitely DEET-free!

  4. Not Today, Bugs: Slow North Bug Spray and Candle

    slow north not today bugs citronella spritz mosquito repellent spray

    This custom blend of essential oils is gentle on skin but tough on mosquitoes. Not Today, Bugs is a powerhouse of lavender, citronella, lemongrass, geranium, and patchouli essential oils. Spritz liberally on exposed skin and reapply every two hours as needed.

    not today bugs mosquito repellent citronella patio candle burns outside

    This spray also makes an excellent match for our natural bug repellent candle. Each candle is hand-poured in small batches with 100% cotton wicks and natural soy wax, giving you a stress-free evening of enjoying the outdoors — without the constant threat of being eaten alive!

  5. Kinfield Golden Hour Deet-Free Repellent

    kinfield golden hour bug spray

    Kinfield’s Golden Hour natural bug spray isn’t just majorly Instagrammable — it actually works, too. Using a unique blend of Indonesian citronella, Golden Hour acts as a powerful natural mosquito repellent. Spray on exposed skin or fitted clothing and reapply every two hours as needed.

Cecilia Seiter
Cecilia is a freelance writer and contributor to Slow North. She writes largely about sustainability, especially as it applies to beauty, wellness, and the future of technology. She is a graduate of the journalism department at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and is based in Oakland, CA.