Does Alcohol Repel Mosquitoes? The Truth!

The unavoidable irritation of mosquitoes can drive anyone to want a simple household remedy for these annoying insects. Mosquitoes are found by literally everyone globally, so wanting an easy solution to quell these pests is a universal need.

Alcohol is a handy household tool that can clean and sanitize many things. Alcohol is commonly used in household cleaners. Alcohols like vodka are colorless and odorless and can be the base for the solution added to aromatherapy diffusers.

Using alcohol for household uses is a simple and affordable way to remedy many different issues.

The question of “does alcohol repel mosquitoes” is a bit more complicated, as there are so many different kinds of alcohol. In this guide, we will discuss the effectiveness of different kinds of common alcohol and safety tips for using this ingredient to repel mosquitoes.

Related: What repels mosquitoes

How Does Alcohol Repel Mosquitoes?

Alcohol has many properties that may make it inhospitable to insects like mosquitoes. For example, alcohol easily dries out the surfaces it touches, damaging insect exoskeletons. Alcohols also usually have a strong antiseptic fragrance that can be harmful.

Why not try something that works better than alcohol? Here are a few links to my favorite Mosquito repellents.

  1. Dyna Trap
  2. Katchy Indoor Insect Trap
  3. GTOCS Bug Zapper

Many different kinds of alcohols may have damaging effects on mosquitoes. Alcohols are commonly used in many different forms as a strongly sanitizing product that adapts well to different fragrances and other added ingredients.

There is no solid scientific evidence that alcohol repels mosquitoes. However, the strength of this liquid, as well as the drying properties it contains, makes it effective in some ways at repelling insects like mosquitoes.

Types of Alcohol You Can Use To Keep Mosquitoes Away

Many different products may come to mind when you think of the word alcohol. From rubbing alcohol to wine and spirits, alcohol in its different forms can be a helpful household ingredient for many tasks, including a limited influence as a mosquito repellent.

Rubbing Alcohol

Does rubbing alcohol repel mosquitoes? Unfortunately, there is no credible evidence to support the claim that rubbing alcohol repels or deters mosquitoes. However, rubbing alcohol is a common household ingredient used for many things, including removing stubborn residue from surfaces.

There has been evidence that rubbing alcohol effectively dries out and eventually kills insects. However, this study was primarily focused on bed bugs. So, does rubbing alcohol keep mosquitoes away? While it may be tempting to attribute the findings from the bed bug study to mosquitoes, it has not been proven.

Beer/Vodka/Wine & Spirits

Believe it or not, using beer, vodka, wine, and other spirits is a practice that is common to treating household pests and thoroughly cleaning many things. For example, vodka can be used as a carrier liquid to dilute essential oils when you want to scent your home with a diffuser.

While there is use for commonly ingested alcohols in household applications, there is currently no evidence to support the question of whether alcohol repels mosquitoes.

A notable experiment also claimed people who ingested alcohol effectively could repel mosquitoes just by the secretions naturally given off from drinking alcohol. One Japanese study showed beer drinkers were more attracted to mosquitoes after drinking a beer.

Mosquitoes are attracted to humans based on the chemicals we exhale when we naturally breathe. These chemicals are carbon dioxide and octanol. However, no one yet knows if another element is exhaled when those who are drinking alcoholic beverages exhale.

While that study was small and limited to only beer, experts are largely divided on whether alcohol repels mosquitoes when it comes to the alcohols you can safely ingest.

Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer has not proven to be an effective deterrent for mosquitoes. As hand sanitizer contains a high level of alcohol, but does alcohol keep mosquitoes away? Some maintain that the drying qualities of hand sanitizer would be harmful to mosquitoes. However, this theory has not been completely proven.

The scent of your hand sanitizer may do more harm than good if you are trying to repel mosquitoes. As mosquitoes are insects who must feed on floral nectar to survive, a floral-smelling hand sanitizer may attract these annoying insects instead of repelling them.

It is important to use hand sanitizer when you need to clean your hands but don’t have access to soap and water. However, depending on hand sanitizer to deter harmful insects may not be the wisest idea.

Isopropyl Alcohol

Isopropyl alcohol is the leading active ingredient in rubbing alcohol. But do mosquitoes like rubbing alcohol or not? It is not proven that rubbing alcohol is effective in repelling mosquitoes. However, the intensely drying nature of isopropyl alcohol and rubbing alcohol may be harmful enough to kill mosquitoes.

Isopropyl alcohol is commonly used for many things as a cheap household remedy. Consider using this ingredient to treat acne or other minor cuts and scrapes. However, it is best to use it sparingly to promote redness and dryness with regular or continued use.

Safety Tips for Using Alcohol To Repel Mosquitoes

Alcohol can be a volatile ingredient. Alcohols are a strong solution that is often flammable, so these products must be handled with care. Alcohols are also poisonous, so adults should always supervise the use of alcohol and keep them stored in a safe place when not in use.

As alcohol is a powerful product, it must be diluted with water. Therefore, applying straight alcohol to a problem area is never a good idea. Instead, a good rule of thumb is to include as much water as alcohol to ensure the alcohol has been subdued.

Homemade mixtures using alcohol can be commonly used to deter pests. Often, homeowners use a solution made from common alcohols like Listerine mouthwash as a mosquito repellent. However, always refer to a recipe the first time you make a mixture to ensure you are doing it safely.

Applying your homemade mixture is best done in a spray bottle. Using this tool lets you easily control the stream, direction, and amount of solution you are adding to your problem areas. Make sure you use a safe, appropriate bottle to contain your alcohol solution.

Does Mosquito Repellent Contain Alcohol?

Yes, alcohol is used to make mosquito repellant. As we discussed earlier, alcohol makes a great carrier liquid. This means alcohol can contribute to a solution by diluting the solution but does not contribute texture, smell, taste, or other elements that may change the solution too much.

Alcohols like ethanol or propanol are commonly used in mosquito repellants. These compounds act to dilute the solution and make it easier for the solution to be distributed in a spray bottle form.

Why not try something that works better than alcohol? Here are a few links to my favorite Mosquito repellents.

  1. Dyna Trap
  2. Katchy Indoor Insect Trap
  3. GTOCS Bug Zapper


Various alcohols are used as an essential ingredient in mosquito repellents, but it is rarely the alcohol you can find in your household. While substances like rubbing alcohol or spirits may dry out or temporarily deter insects, much stronger alcohols are used in commercial bug sprays.

Jack Dempsey