Ditch citronella candles and get rid of mosquitoes for good with these reliable bug repellents.

By Stacey Leasca
Updated June 10, 2020
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Though there’s plenty to be excited about with the onset of the summer season (hello, frosé and outdoor grilling!), there's one inconspicuous, buzzing creature that threatens all warm-weather activities: mosquitoes. You likely remember as a kid seeing your parents diligently light what seemed like a million citronella candles to keep annoying bugs at bay. Yet, no matter how many candles burned, pesky mosquitoes always seemed to make an unwelcome appearance at every backyard barbecue.

Lighting dozens of citronella candles isn't really the most effective way to curb mosquito attacks (or convenient when you're trying to enjoy as much chilled wine as possible); but you also don't need to utilize harsh chemicals like DEET to keep the peace while enjoying the outdoors. Nature-made bug fighters exist, of course, along with chemical-free insect repellents like these five finds, guaranteed to turn your outdoor space into a skeeter-free oasis.

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This bug-repelling system uses bionic, electromagnetic, and ultrasonic wave technology to drive pests away. Though the system is meant to be used indoors, it’s worth testing on covered patios since the device is reportedly effective against a number of pests, including mosquitoes, mice, roaches, fleas, ticks, and more.

To buy: $30; amazon.com.

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Avoid over-spraying with this convenient roll-on repellent that's both DEET and paraben-free. Made from essential oils, the easy-to-apply gel formula works on vulnerable areas like ankles, wrists and ears. Bonus: It fits neatly in any purse or pocket so you can always have it handy.

To buy: $20; amazon.com.

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According to the bug experts at Terminix, fans can help deter mosquitoes because the bugs are “naturally weak fliers.” Fans also work to disperse the carbon dioxide we exhale, which mosquitoes use to locate humans in the first place. Go big with an oscillating pedestal fan equipped with misting technology so you can keep cool and mosquito-free.

To buy: $170; amazon.com.

RELATED: The 9 Best Tower Fans for Cooling Your Home, According to Reviewers

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Slather on this lotion that contains a non-toxic repellent and moisturizers to help condition skin. The SPF 30 cream is water-resistant for up to 40 minutes too, making it a summer essential you'll reach for again and again. (One note: it's not labeled as hypoallergenic, so definitely do a spot test on a small area of skin, especially if you have sensitive skin, before applying liberally all over.)

To buy: $18; amazon.com.

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Try this fragrant repellent for a fresh scent that wards off bloodsuckers. This DEET-free spray is made from plant-based ingredients, like oil of lemon eucalyptus, recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To buy: $12; amazon.com.