Does Citronella Repel Mosquitoes?

  Sprinkler Magician
  July 1, 2021

Besides regular mosquito repellent spray and DEET, citronella is often touted as the next best mosquito repellent. But does citronella repel mosquitoes? We did the research so we can bring you information on the most effective, natural mosquito repellents. Learn more about whether or not citronella repels mosquitoes here!

Do Citronella Plants Repel Mosquitoes?

In certain forms, yes, citronella can repel mosquitoes to some degree. However, Citronella doesn’t repel mosquitoes as effectively as you might think, and it’s definitely not the absolute most effective mosquito repelling plant or essential oil.

There are some common misconceptions about citronella — citronella is the name of the oil derived from a plant, but it’s not the actual plant itself. Citronella oil comes from a plant in the lemongrass family called Cymbopogon nardus which, on its own, will not repel mosquitoes (unless you had a ton of these plants).

Do Citronella Candles Repel Mosquitoes?

You’ve probably seen citronella candles that say they repel mosquitoes, but those don’t really work. While lighting a decent amount of citronella candles may temporarily confuse mosquitoes enough to keep them away from you, studies have shown that citronella candles have zero effect on certain types of mosquitoes. In fact, the smoke they produce is probably more effective than the scent.

Another study found that lighting citronella candles reduced the number of mosquitoes within three feet by about 35%. This means it might work well at keeping mosquitoes away from your close surroundings, however, there are other types of candles (and oils!) that are more effective at repelling mosquitoes. That same study found lavender and geraniol candles reduced mosquitoes by 65% and 82%, respectively.

How Effective is Citronella Oil Against Mosquitoes?

Concentrated citronella oil can be effective at repelling mosquitoes, though that efficacy starts to decrease when it’s used in products such as candles and tiki torches. Citronella candles can contain as little as 5% citronella oil, which isn’t enough to keep mosquitoes away from you.

Certain types of citronella oil can be applied directly to your skin, though you’ll want to test a small area first to make sure you aren’t allergic to it!

Is Citronella Toxic?

Citronella is a natural essential oil and is deemed as “practically non-toxic” by the EPA, which is the lowest level of toxicity rating possible.

While it’s not toxic to humans, citronella plants can be toxic to pets. If you’re growing any citronella plants in your yard, make sure that pets don’t have access to them. Yes, dogs can still get bitten by mosquitoes and they can need their own form of mosquito repellent to avoid getting heartworms, but citronella plants should be avoided!

Using Citronella Oil to Repel Mosquitoes

While the citronella plant itself won’t get rid of mosquitoes, citronella oil made from the plant can be effective.

Natural mosquito repellent sprays and lotions that contain citronella oil are the most effective at repelling mosquitoes naturally.

While citronella can repel mosquitoes, a 2015 study discovered that citronella-based repellents usually only protect you for about two hours. This makes it much less effective than other natural counterparts. When it comes to mosquito proofing your clothes, citronella can be effective for up to 30 days when it’s used to treat clothing.

Plants That Naturally Repel Mosquitoes

Safe to say, we probably all learned something today about how ineffective citronella can be at repelling mosquitoes, despite widespread marketing efforts.

There are many other plants that repel mosquitoes, some of the most effective being:

How to Naturally Get Rid of Mosquitoes

There are many natural ways to get rid of mosquitoes — no toxic chemicals needed. Some of the best methods include:

The End of Mosquitoes Begins Here!

Are you tired of being harassed by mosquitoes? The end of mosquitoes begins now! Fight off mosquitoes with effective Mosquito Magician products.