Does Using Listerine as Mosquito Repellent Work?

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It’s convenient to buy at your local grocery or big box store. Almost everyone owns it. It is nontoxic, safe to use, and leaves behind a minty fresh smell. The allures of using Listerine as mosquito repellent are apparent. But this anti-mosquito remedy sounds like it could be too good to be true.

Using Listerine as mosquito repellent is only an effective deterrent for about 30 to 40 minutes. Listerine will provide a fine-smelling bubble around your outdoor occasion, but it should not be used instead of bug spray and will not kill mosquitoes.

This guide will help you understand the myth surrounding Listerine as a mosquito repellent, including exploring scientific studies on this topic. You will have a better explanation of how this myth came to be after a dive into the active ingredients of mouthwashes like Listerine.

We will also provide the best ways to utilize Listerine to the best of its mosquito deterring abilities. Read on for simple homemade recipes using Listerine as a mosquito repellent.

The Claims of Listerine as Bug Spray

Multiple sources online overstate the abilities of Listerine as a mosquito repellent. Unfortunately, the rapid spread of urban myths like these is almost guaranteed on social media sites. As we stated above, Listerine can help deter mosquitoes for a while, but these insistent insects will return.

Articles like this Facebook post provide a first-person account of the use of Listerine at an outdoor gathering. The post states this simple application on the deck floors and around the guests made the mosquitoes disappear entirely.

Hunker.com article also touts the effectiveness of using Listerine as a mosquito repellent. This article provides you with a simple recipe to use this mouthwash to make a bug spray. It even directs readers to apply the Listerine directly to their skin to deter mosquitoes effectively.

However, both of these articles fail to explain the duration of time the use of Listerine as bug spray is effective. Listerine as bug spray will only work for a short time and does not kill or permanently remove mosquitoes from your outdoor environment.

Debunking the Listerine Mosquito Spray Myth

Unfortunately, those who spread the myth of using Listerine as a mosquito repellent are short-sighted. While some of the ingredients in Listerine are consistent with those used for commercial bug sprays, there is more to it than that for serious mosquito repelling.

There have even been studies completed about the effectiveness of using Listerine as a mosquito repellent. The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine determined Listerine is useful to repel mosquitoes temporarily but is not an effective long-term solution.

Listerine contains eucalyptol, an ingredient that is often found in commercial repellents. However, these commercial pesticides have 75 percent of the final compound, eucalyptol. In Listerine, the amount of eucalyptol present represents closer to 1 percent.

Further, this study explained that Listerine is eucalyptol mixed with alcohol and water. This further dilutes this product and reduces its strength. Listerine also dries up quickly after application because the alcohol and water in the solution promote quick evaporation.

Listerine, therefore, should only be used as a very temporary solution to a mosquito problem. Using Listerine as mosquito repellent will only work for between 30 to 40 minutes before a reapplication is needed.

Listerine does not kill mosquitoes but will repel them for a short amount of time. More toxic products containing DEET are in commercial bug sprays and effectively kill mosquitoes.

If you have a severe mosquito problem on your property, it is essential to escalate your efforts from homemade remedies like using Listerine as a mosquito repellent. Explore local exterminators or see if pools of standing water nearby may contribute to your mosquito problem.

What’s in Listerine that might repel mosquitoes

The primary active ingredient in Listerine is eucalyptol. This ingredient is derived from eucalyptus oil. This oil provides the signature scent and taste of Listerine and promotes that minty freshness we are all looking for when using mouthwash.

In addition to eucalyptol, water and alcohol means this mosquito repellent is non-toxic and safe to use around humans of all ages. The quick evaporation of the water and alcohol in Listerine also means you will not damage outdoor surfaces with the spray.

Related: Can Alcohol Repel Mosquitoes?

Homemade Listerine Mosquito Repellent Recipes

You can try a few homemade recipes for a safe and low-cost mosquito repellent. The first recipe involves the common kitchen ingredients Epsom salts, Listerine, yeast, and stale beer for those hoping to repel mosquitos naturally. Combine everything in equal parts and add a package of yeast for every gallon.

The concoction called Arnie Mason’s Mosquito-Gone Listerine Special involves almost the same ingredients as the above recipe but omits the yeast. This recipe is claimed to be “unhealthy for bugs,” It is also not advised to use this recipe on human skin.

Listerine and lemon-scented Joy liquid dishwashing soap is also a typical mixture for a homemade mosquito repellent. Combine equal parts of these two ingredients and spray throughout your home or even on your arms and legs.

Related: Does Irish Spring Soap Repel Mosquitoes?

 So Can You Get Rid Of Mosquitoes Using Listerine?

There is some truth to the idea of using Listerine as a mosquito repellent. However, the effectiveness of this homemade remedy is overstated. Listerine can be effective as a mosquito repellent, but only for short.

Because the active ingredient—and signature smell and taste—of Listerine comes from eucalyptol, people naturally draw a link to other products with the same active ingredient. Products like mosquito repellent and bug spray also have high levels of this active ingredient.

However, Listerine has a significantly lower ratio of eucalyptol in its final solution. Therefore, it is not enough to be a proper mosquito repellent and will only provide relief for your outdoor gatherings for 40 minutes maximum.

Using Listerine as mosquito repellent is only advised for about 30 to 40 minutes. There are multiple online recipes to help you combine simple household ingredients into your homemade mosquito repellent for your outdoor spaces and even your body.

Jack Dempsey