Summer is in full swing, which means the bugs are out in force – and everyone’s least favorite summer pest is the mosquito. These bloodsucking insects multiply rapidly in warm, humid weather, and are particularly active in the evening and early morning.
The raised, red welts left behind by mosquito bites are ferociously itchy, but the discomfort could just be the start of your problems. Mosquitoes are known vectors for a wide range of nasty diseases and can transmit a variety of infectious pathogens to those they bite. Though the incidence of mosquito-borne illnesses in North America is very low, these insects can potentially transmit Zika, malaria, yellow fever, West Nile virus and more.
It’s no surprise, therefore, that the market for mosquito-repelling sprays, devices, and products is enormous. Aside from the wide variety of over-the-counter products available, there are also dozens of home remedies that are reported to be just as effective.
One of these is the dryer sheet method. Supporters claim that placing a few in your pockets and areas where mosquitoes gather can effectively ward off the bugs – but does it work?
Can dryer sheets keep mosquitoes away?
Dryer sheets are a popular DIY mosquito repellent in the USA, but is this particular home remedy really effective?
Unfortunately, despite their widespread use, there is little scientific evidence to suggest that dryer sheets can repel mosquitoes.
Certain brands may, however, contain ingredients that are effective for deterring other insect species, which is why they are commonly mistaken for having mosquito repellent properties.
What insects are repelled by dryer sheets?
Dryer sheets may not do much to keep mosquitoes away, but they could potentially be used to deter other nuisance bugs.
One study found that a particular brand of dryer sheet effectively repelled fungus gnats, a major greenhouse pest that is prevalent throughout North America. These dryer sheets contain linalool, a naturally occurring compound found in plants such as lavender, marjoram, and basil.
Linalool is known to repel a variety of other insect pests, including German cockroaches, certain species of mite, beetles, and weevils. However, there is no evidence to suggest that linalool as any significant repellent activity against mosquitoes.
A dryer sheet bug repellent may be an effective way to keep certain pests out of your kitchen cupboards, but they’re unlikely to ward off mosquitoes. The good news is, there are several other easy and cost-effective methods of repelling these particular summer pests!
Home remedies for repelling mosquitoes (that actually work)
Natural and organic remedies
- Harness the power of essential oils
Linalool may not strongly repel mosquitoes, but this doesn’t mean you have to give up on natural remedies altogether. There are a range of other plant extracts (such as peppermint, citronella, thyme, clove and lemongrass oil) that have been clinically proven to deter the bugs, and can be used to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home.
Rather than using dryer sheets, use an oil burner or a reed diffuser to release the vapors of these essential oils into the atmosphere of your house. Alternatively, shop for a candle containing essential oils (such as citronella) to create a mosquito-free zone around you.
For added protection, you could double up with a mosquito repellent spray containing essential oils to further reduce your chances of being bitten.
- Install fans around your home
Mosquitoes struggle to fly in a breeze, so setting up fans around your house can be an effective way to reduce their numbers. Mosquito barriers can also be placed at the windows and doors of your home, where they create a downward gust that prevents the insects from coming indoors. Elsewhere in your house and yard, sitting in the breeze of a strong fan can help to keep mosquitoes off your skin.
- Wear long, loose-fitting clothing
Mosquitoes won’t bite you if they can’t get to your skin! One reliable way to keep the bugs off you all evening is to minimize the amount of bare flesh available to them. The easiest way to do this is to wear long, loose-fitting clothing that covers your arms and legs. Apply a mosquito repellent spray for extra protection!
- Sleep under a mosquito net
Most mosquito repellent sprays will wear off before you wake up, so how can you keep bugs off you throughout the night? Sleeping under a mosquito net creates a physical barrier around you that bugs can’t penetrate, keeping you bite-free until the morning. Make sure that your net is securely fastened around your bed and completely intact before you go to sleep, as mosquitoes can find their way in through even tiny gaps and holes.
Other methods of repelling mosquitoes
Bug repellent sprays containing DEET or picaridin
If you have a big problem with bug bites and the natural remedies aren’t cutting it, over-the-counter sprays containing DEET or picaridin may be the answer.
These insecticides have strong repellent properties and are widely considered to be the most effective way to keep mosquitos (and a wide range of other bugs) away from you.
This is especially useful if you are planning to be outdoors for an extended period of time, such as on a hiking or camping trip.
Mosquitoes are a summer nuisance we all wish we could be rid of, but opinions are divided over the best way to do so. One home remedy that has gained a lot of popularity over the years is dryer sheets, which supporters claim can be used to effectively repel the bugs.
The dryer sheet mosquito repellent method may not work but, fortunately, there are a bunch of other simple solutions that do. Use essential oils like peppermint, citronella or thyme to keep the insects away from you and make use of fans, nets, mosquito repellent sprays and appropriate clothing to keep them off your skin.