Mosquitoes and insects become one of the sources of diseases. Many people get sick and even die from diseases carried by the mosquito. That is why it is important to keep you safe from mosquito and insect bites as much as possible. But how do you repel mosquitoes and insects? Citronella oil is a natural solution to prevent mosquito and insect bites.
Citronella is derived from the steam distillation process of Cympobogon genus leaves. The plant is also known as lemon balm because it has a floral and citrusy aroma. Citronella contains a natural compound of citronellol, geraniol, and citronellal which is responsible to repel mosquitoes and insects. The essential oil has been used in Chinese medicine and Ayurveda treatment for a long time.
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Citronella oil as mosquito repellent
Almost 90% percent of mosquito repellent brands use citronella oil as the active ingredient. The essential oil is combined with other ingredients to provide stronger protection against mosquitoes and insects. When applied to clothes or skin, the pungent smell of citronella keeps mosquitoes away.
Mosquito usually attracts certain scents such as carbon dioxide and lactic acid. However, the aroma of citronella masks the scent that usually attracts mosquitoes. This makes mosquitoes and insects difficult to locate people. The efficacy of citronella may last only 20-30 minutes and needs to be reapplied.
Aside from mosquito and insect repellent, citronella is also effective to treat itchiness due to mosquito bites. It helps soothe itchiness and reduce swelling because of insect bites. Compared to chemical-based repellent, natural source such as citronella is safer because it does not have side effects.
How to use citronella oil as mosquito repellent?
The fascinating aspect of citronella oil is its flexibility. This essential oil works just fine in any method and you can still get wonderful results. Here are some methods to use citronella as a mosquito and insect repellent.
- Candles – you can add drops of citronella oil into beeswax or paraffin. Place the candles in the desired area. Candles citronella is considered the least effective method because the fragrance disperses quickly and is not effective for a large area.
- Moisturizer – add drops of citronella into moisturizer or lotion and apply it directly on the skin. Make sure to dilute the oil right and avoid contact with sensitive areas.
- Bath oils – adding citronella into bath oils and soaps not only make you relax but also masks the scent that attracts mosquito. Though the efficacy is short it is a good way to use citronella.
- Torches – similar to a candle, adding citronella to torches protects mosquitoes and insects. This method is suitable for outdoor use because the amount of citronella oil used in torches is plenty.
- Spray – citronella spray is a good addition to use as a mosquito repellent. You can blend citronella with other essential oil that also has insect repellent properties such as eucalyptus, peppermint, or lemongrass. When combined with other essential oil, citronella has stronger effects and is more effective. Just make sure to spray it from a 15-20 cm distance and avoid sensitive areas.