During the height of mosquito season, people will try practically anything to keep the biting at bay. We’ve seen all kinds of unusual remedies for repelling mosquitoes, from essential oils to electromagnetic waves, but not all of these tricks are scientifically proven to be effective. One question we hear often: does baby oil keep mosquitoes away?

Image Credit: The Style PA via Flickr licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Image Credit: The Style PA via Flickr licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Does Baby Oil Keep Mosquitoes Away?

Baby oil is a mineral oil with added fragrance. Many parents use it to moisturize their baby’s skin. Some people claim an unlikely secondary use for baby oil to keep away mosquitoes. The reasoning behind this theory seems to be that the oil makes it difficult for insects to bite your skin or even suffocates them. In addition, people say that mosquitoes may avoid landing on oily surfaces altogether.

On the popular motherhood forum, What to Expect, several moms say that baby oil is a safe and effective way to prevent mosquitoes from biting.

The indie travel site, BootsnAll, has a discussion thread where people discuss their experience using baby oil as mosquito repellent. Many commenters say it works wonders.

Commenters on the natural family blog, Wellness Mama, say they’ve had success with homemade mosquito repellents, including baby oil.

Does Creamy Baby Oil Keep Mosquitoes Away?

Though creamy baby oil is not advertised as a mosquito repellent by its makers, many people say that it effectively keeps mosquitoes away. This non-greasy cream is fast absorbing. Apparently many older children and adults use it to keep away mosquitoes, as this is trending on Pinterest and Facebook.

ABC 13, the local ABC affiliate in Houston, Texas, asked their Facebook fans to share their favorite mosquito repelling secrets. Two women say that Johnson and Johnson creamy baby oil is particularly effective.

Johnson & Johnson lists aloe vera and Vitamin E as its active ingredients. A full list of ingredients for Johnson & Johnson Creamy Baby Oil include: Water, Cetyl Alcohol. Glycerin, Cocoglycerides, Glycine Solo (Soybean) Oil, Dimethicone, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Carbomer, Phenoxyethanol and Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides, Fragrance. Methylparaben, Mineral Oil. Tetrasodium EDTA, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter Extract, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Propylparaben, Ethylparaben, Glyceryl Oleate, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Titanium Dioxide, Mica.

Scientific Proof of Baby Oil Mosquito Repellent?

While this anecdotal evidence is great, unfortunately, there is no factual evidence that baby oil works as a mosquito repellent.

The University of California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources explains that oil can suffocate mosquito larvae and pupae if it is present on the surface of the water where they are living. The oil forms a barrier and effectively drowns any aquatic insects that need air to breathe, including mosquitoes. They don’t mention anything about oil and adult mosquitoes.

One 1990 study from a Senior biology student at the University of Notre Dame’s Environmental Research Center found that baby oil did not repel mosquitoes. Different repellents were tested from May until July. The study noted that the mineral oil did not repel mosquitoes. Other ineffective “repellents” besides baby oil included citronella candles, repellent coils, bug barriers, bug shield, Mosquito Hawk, and Skeeter Beater.

Baby Oil, Mosquito Bites?

There is no scientific evidence that baby oil prevents mosquito bites. If you’re looking for a tested and proven mosquito repellent, it might be better to consult trusted sources, like Consumer Reports. Their insect repellent buying guide tests and rates several of the most popular brands on the market. They also indicate what active ingredients each brand contains. You can view their recommendations here.

We at DC Mosquito Squad are always available to help tackle mosquito problems of any size. Instead of trying ineffective DIY hacks, give us a call. We can keep populations in check on your property with our barrier sprays, and we also regularly offer advice on how to fight the bite on our blog.

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