Water vs oil based fogging solutions

If you want to fight and win the fight against mosquitoes you should try mosquito foggers, because they are an extremely efficient way how to first keep the mosquitoes at bay for several hours and later after repeated fogging’s break their breeding ritual and eliminate them from your area completely. But it is not enough to know about mosquito foggers to choose the best type of fogger, additionally, you also need to know about insecticide that goes inside the mosquito fogger and essentially is the thing that will kill and repel the mosquitoes.

The mosquito fogging solutions are largely divided into two categories: water-based solutions and oil-based solutions. And to know which liquid to use you need to know a little more about them and where each of these types of insecticide is used.

Water-based fogging solutions

First I will talk about water-based fogging insecticide, because this kind of insecticide is the most commonly used one in more non-commercial applications such as at home to fog backyards, picnic spots or even camping sites, but also many commercial fogging companies that do mosquito fogging or other types of fogging’s, such as odor control, are found of water-based solutions.

Water-based solutions are much more common in fogging industry, because the water base allows insecticide manufacturers to create a liquid that is virtually odorless and that does not stain the area that is fogged, which is very important for those solutions that are used in indoor applications, as well as outdoors to prevent it from transferring on our skin for example. Also, a water-based insecticide is lighter and will disperse quicker, so it is perfect to use a little while before a party or a BBQ because by the time the guests arrive there will be no sight or smell of insecticide and no sight of mosquitoes too.

Oil-based fogging solutions

The other type of fogging insecticide is an oil-based solution that as the name suggests is based on oil, not water, therefore it is also thicker and denser than water-based insecticide. This thickness also provides that the insecticide will stay wet longer onto the surface that it is sprayed on, making it very efficient at applications such as odor control or disinfection.

Unfortunately, that also means that the fogging solution might stain the surface a little bit which is the reason that oil-based fogging solutions are more used outdoors than indoors. But on the other hand, because it stays on the surface longer it is more durable when used in bad weather conditions. For example if your area often experience strong wind or rain, say you live in coastal town near the sea and there aren’t many days where there is only light breeze, you don’t have to wait for the days without the wind, you can fog your area any day and the solution will work as well because it stays longer on the surface.

So to sum up water and oil-based fogging solutions have three main differences that mainly dictate their usage too. Firstly, the water solution is without odor but oil-based solutions might have a bit of lasting odor. Secondly, if water-based solutions don’t stain surfaces, then oil based ones might stain them. And lastly, water-based solutions disperse much quicker with the air flow, but oil-based ones linger on the surface. The last difference also is the reason why you should use water-based insecticide in conditions where there is little to no wind and precipitation or at times where you don’t want to see a sight of insecticide only a little while after fogging, as well as indoors, but use oil-based solution if you are fogging in stronger wind or precipitation conditions or don’t mind the insecticide to linger on your surfaces for a bit longer. Word of caution though, first check your fogger and see for what type of insecticide it is meant for because there are those that work with only water or only oil-based solutions and then there are those that work with both types of solutions and will allow you to use a larger variety of insecticides in a fogger.


Main editor

Expert in mosquito control and the main website editor at InsectCop.net. Karen started InsectCop to help people get rid of mosquitoes. But now she gives advice an all things pest control.


Lynn Harvey

I just read your online article on water versus oil fogging. It was informative, and I think you for it. However, it seems to me that you neglected to cover the most important issue relative to these products. That question, and it is my question, is: Is fog from oil-based foggers explosive. Could that fog be caused to explode by phones ringing, pilot lights, motors starting, static sparks, etc.

I would appreciate very much an answer to this issue, and also think that it would be very beneficial to update your article with this information.

Thanks very much for your support


    Hi Lynn,
    As long as you don’t use a flammable oil-based liquid with the fogger, there shouldn’t be any danger of an explosion.


    I have a small propane fogger for home use. I want to fog a durable mosquito insecticide in my overgrown back lot.

    What would you recommend?

Anil Desai

I would like to know whether I can use water based insecticide or oil based insecticide into thermal fogging machine for Mango hoppers control. If oil based then which oil & what will be the cheapest I can use.
Anil Desai


    It depends on what type of thermal fogger you have because there are some that work with both oil and water-based insecticides, and then there are some that don’t. Just check the manual of your fogger to see what type of liquid the fogger can be used with.


What type of oil should be used as a carrier for fogging cattle. When I was a kid we used diesel as a carrier and I do not think that is the best option. Should I us mineral oil, cooking oil, etc. that is my main question.
Thank you,


    Yes, you can use diesel or biodiesel as a carrier to fog cattle. Another option is deodorized paraffin oil.


I’m thinking of using essential oils (citronella/lemongrass).Mixed with vegetable glycerin in my propane fogger as a mosquito control. What do you think? Am I on to something? You’re opinion please.


    This could work, Sal, at least for a while. Not sure how long the effects will last tho since I have never tried using this mixture myself.

Jim Capone

For mosquito control – outdoors small yard + landscaping can you recommend a good water-based and a fogger?


    I would say go with one of the smaller propane or electric foggers on this list and pair it with the Black Flag, Bonide or Repel fogging insecticides.

Donnie Koym

What would be the ratio of Malathion to diesel to use as a fog?


    It will depend on what type of Malathion product you are using. The dilution instructions should be noted on the label of the product.

Billy Reid

Am working as a gate guard in south Texas near Corpus Christi. Had large amount of rain last week.. I am in a kind of swamp area. Mosquitos are getting serious. Ordered a Burgess 980 electric fogger today. Can I use a diesel and permitherm mix in this unit. Have quite a lot to fog and need as strong a mixture as I can. No worry about neighbors.


    I would advise you to use the Black Flag Insecticide with your Burgess 980 since this fogger is designed to be used with this particular fogging liquid.


I use a longray ts35 thermal fogger and i dont know what i can use as a solution with it it snot written in the manual ??


    The Longray TS-35A Thermal Fogger is capable of dispensing both oil and water-based solutions.

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