How to Make Homemade Organic Mosquito Yard Spray
Gardening is my favorite pastime because of how much I enjoy spending time in the yard. However, nothing ruins that enjoyment more than being bitten by a mosquito. So I determined that they needed to go, and I wanted to repel them naturally.
A gardening friend, understanding my desire to use safe and organic products, recently shared this wonderful mosquito repellent with me. The following slightly minty smelling and organic mixture can be sprayed throughout the yard to repel the flying pests. The spray is very easy to make (dissolving the salt will probably take the longest). A little separation is completely normal. Just give the bottle a shake before spraying. You can also dilute essential oils that mosquitoes don't like in the mixture.
In my experience, one spraying lasts for about two and a half months before needing to be sprayed again. My friend can’t remember where she found this solution, but she's been using successfully for years. I am happy she shared it with me. And I am happy to share this organic mosquito repellent with you.
This organic solution for repelling mosquitoes has worked really well for me—and I hope it works equally as well for you.
I tried it! It works!
How to Make DIY Natural Mosquito Repellent
- 2 (24-ounce) spray bottles
- Large bowl
- 16-ounce bottle of mint-flavored mouthwash (I used PerioBrite)
- 3 cups Epsom salt (I used lavender and eucalyptus scented)
- 3 stale 12 oz. beers (I used Budweiser)
- Place all the ingredients together in the large bowl and then mix with the spoon until the Epsom salt is dissolved.
- Use the funnel to pour the solution into the spray bottles.
- Spray all around the yard, especially anywhere you plan to be outside.
This recipe will produce approximately 8 Cups (64 ounces) of solution. If you let the Epsom salt dissolve completely it will displace some of the volume, thus, producing a mere 64 ounces versus 72 ounces of volume. I recommend letting the Epsom salt dissolve completely so that it sprays out more evenly.
I found that it is easier to handle the smaller 24-ounce bottle of solution instead of handling the larger (heavier) bottle.
This solution will not harm your yard. In fact, some gardeners say the Epsom salt helps the grass grow greener. But I would not spray it directly on flowering plants. Instinct tells me it might be too harsh for the flowers. Mosquitoes will stay away for about two and a half months. That’s almost a whole summer!
What Are the Best Ingredients/Supplies to Buy?
- Spray Bottles: You can find spray bottles at stores like Walmart; however, the easiest place to find spray bottles in just about any size is Amazon. They offer inexpensive and fast delivery. If you want to cover a large area quickly, you might consider one of those pressure sprayers. You can pick up a decent one for as little as $15 and save your hands a lot of work in the process.
- Mouthwash: Look for a mouthwash that boasts its organic qualities. Make sure it is mint flavored because mosquitoes do not like the scent of mint. Also, be sure the mouthwash is alcohol-free because mosquitoes are attracted to alcohol. I shopped online and was able to find an organic mouthwash through a health-related store.
- Epsom Salt: Any Epsom salt will work fine. I just happened to have Epsom salt with lavender and eucalyptus. So I just used that.
- Beer: Do not spend a lot of money on beer because any beer will work fine. I have seen cheap off-brand beer at the Dollar General for as low as 75 cents per can.
Non-alcoholic beer is still beer. By law, in the United States, brewers are allowed to label beer as non-alcoholic if it contains less than or up to 0.5% of alcohol by volume (ABV). Remember, mosquitoes are attracted to alcohol. So, because of the fact that non-alcoholic beer has alcohol, it is always best to allow beer to sit on the shelf and become stale (allowing the alcohol to evaporate) before using in this solution.
Other Natural Ingredients That Work as Mosquito Repellants
- Lemon eucalyptus oil
- Cinnamon oil
- Thyme oil
- Catnip oil
- Soybean oil
- Tea tree oil
- Neem oil
- Celery extract
Are Bees Harmed by Beer, Mouthwash, and Epsom Salt?
After reading a number of gardening guides, scientific journals, and visiting various forums related to bee care, I discovered that the organic mosquito repellent presented in this article, for the most part, is harmless to bees.
Please note: Bees can get drunk from consuming too much alcohol. While the repellent recipe here contains beer, it also contains mouthwash. Bees do not like mouthwash. So if you spray this solution in your yard, it is likely the bees will simply stay away from the areas that are sprayed with the solution. Regarding Epsom salt, scientists have discovered that Epsom salt is safe for bees.
The Dangers of Mosquito Bites
A report issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) provides compelling information about the dangers of mosquito bites, indicating that mosquito bites account for several million deaths every year. Two prominent bite-related health concerns are malaria and the Zika virus.
The World Health Organization states that about 3.2 billion people are at risk of contracting malaria, a life-threatening but treatable disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through bites of infected mosquitoes. According to WHO, about 90% of the reported cases are in Africa. Contracting malaria in the US is pretty rare, according to the CDC. There were only 1,724 confirmed cases of it in the US in 2014 (compare that to the millions of cases in some other countries).
The CDC notes that symptoms can appear anywhere from 7-30 days after infection (called the incubation period). Signs can seem somewhat innocuous at first, including fever-like symptoms, tiredness, nausea, and vomiting. These signs usually appear ten to fifteen days after an infected bite. In severe cases, malaria can result in a coma or even death. Antimalarial treatments do exist and can delay the appearance of symptoms, including symptoms in people who took preventative medicines (such as a tourist planning to visit a region known to have many occurrences of the disease).
There are vaccines and treatments available for malaria if you can catch it early enough. One of the tough things about this disease is that extreme symptoms can occur in a matter of hours or days, which potentially isn't enough time to realize the person is infected—let alone get treatment for it. According to WHO's annual world malaria report for 2016, there were approximately 216 million malaria cases of which 445,000 resulted in death.
For signs, symptoms, and treatment of the Zika Virus, read the fact sheet published by the World Health Organization
As of July 20, 2016, the World Health Organization reported that 65 countries and territories have reported evidence of Zika virus transmissions since 2007, and some of them have been reported in my local area in northern California.
The Zika virus is caused by a virus transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. Common symptoms are mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, headache, and possible death. Some notable rare complications are microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome and other neurological complications. When pregnant women are bitten, the virus can be transferred to their fetuses, which can result in birth defects. There is currently no treatment for the virus.
Mosquito Bite Allergies
Most people have mild allergic reactions to mosquito bites. But sometimes people can have severe reactions. Many authorities, including the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), suggest that the most effective solution to ward off mosquitoes is to use mosquito repellent products that contain DEET. Personally, I prefer to shy away from using products that contain chemicals of which I am not familiar. However, I am realistic. I don’t like being bit by mosquitoes; at the same time, I don’t like taking chances with my health and well-being. The chance of being bit by a mosquito and contracting a harmful disease outweighs any apprehension I have against using products containing DEET. I am smart, and I concede to using products that contain DEET if they are the only solutions at my disposal. It is better to be safe than sorry. And then again, the use of DEET is recommended by authorities who know more than me about repelling mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes And Alcohol
Please note that mosquitoes are attracted to the scent of alcohol and that is the main reason the beer must be stale. You want the alcohol content in the beer to be low or completely evaporated or this mosquito repellent solution will not work.
Please consider that if you are in the yard consuming alcoholic beverages, the mosquitoes will be attracted to you, regardless of how much you do to ward them off.
I have had great success with this mosquito repellent solution and to keep the mosquitoes away from me, I avoid consuming alcoholic beverages while outside in the yard.
White Residue on Outdoor FurnitureClick thumbnail to view full-size
Effects of Organic Mosquito Repellent on Bees
- Natural Pest Repellant via The Peoples' Pharmacy
- The Home Gardener's Guide to Safe, Bee-Friendly Pesticide via Garden Collage
- Beer Hops Beneficial to Honey Bees via Yale Environment Review
- Boozing Bees via New Scientist
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
How long does it take for beer to go stale once it is opened?
Typically, beer loses about 30% of its alcohol in about 12 hours. The longer the beer is left open and out on the counter, the more the alcohol evaporates, making it go stale. This information is according to "Our Everyday Life" and "Can It Go Bad."Helpful 48
It doesn’t matter if the mouthwash is alcohol free or not. Beer has alcohol, therefore, it won’t matter if the mouthwash has alcohol, right?
Yes. It does matter if the mouthwash has alcohol. Yes. Beer has alcohol. But, remember, for this solution to work, you must allow the alcohol to evaporate from the beer to get to the other qualities that the beer possess without the alcohol.
Mosquitoes are attracted to alcohol, so if there is alcohol in the mouthwash or beer, and if you mix this solution using ingredients that contain alcohol, then you will be making a solution that actually attracts mosquitoes rather than repel mosquitoes.Helpful 21
- Helpful 2
How does beer prevent mosquitos?
This mosquito repellent is all about creating a SCENT that mosquitoes do not like. It is important to know that mosquitoes like the smell of alcohol and are attracted to people who drink alcohol. This is the main reason it is highly important that you use “stale” beer for this mosquito yard spray. You want the alcohol to evaporate before using beer in this solution. Once the alcohol has evaporated, the beer now has the scent of thiamine (Vitamin B1) which is a scent that, generally, mosquitoes do not care for.
Thiamine, alone, may not be enough to deter aggressive mosquitoes, however the scent of thiamine, combined with other scents in this solution create an overall scent that (together) help keep mosquitoes away.Helpful 18
For DIY mosquito yard spray, does it matter if we pour the beer in and then let it go stale or does it have to be stale before mixing with the rest of the ingredients? This is what I get for mixing before I read the whole article.
This is a very good question. In fact, when I was preparing to mix up my last batch I wondered the exact same thing. I opted to let the beer go stale first before mixing it in. I am not a chemist, so I do not know how the chemicals will react if the beer is not already stale. I imagine if you mix it all together and then set it out for a couple of days it should produce the same results.
If you have already mixed it all together, then go ahead and use it. Spray it around your yard. You will know right away if it works. My guess is that it will work. I am curious and would be grateful if you came back to let me know in the comments section.Helpful 17
© 2016 Marlene Bertrand