The effectiveness of homemade mosquito repellents varies depending on the specific ingredients used, but many are fairly effective for a short time. They may lose effectiveness more quickly or wash off more easily than commercial sprays.
Homemade mosquito sprays usually use plant oils such as rose geranium, lemon balm or mountain mint to repel mosquitoes, and these vary in effectiveness. Highly concentrated essential oils can also irritate the skin. The Centers for Disease Control considers oil of lemon eucalyptus to be fairly effective at repelling insects, but it should not be used on very young children. Homemade and natural sprays may be more effective when combined with other strategies to help deter mosquitoes, such as avoiding heavily scented soaps, lotions and perfumes.