All-Natural Bug Sprays That Smell Nothing Like Bug Sprays


Maybe it's a lot to ask for, but going outside in the summertime should not involve a choice between smelling like a toxic chemical spill or getting eaten alive by mosquitos. Sure, the industrial-strength aerosol cans of repellant might keep you bite-free (and are fun to wield around pretending like you're some sort of badass graffiti artist), but feel a tad hardcore for your average backyard BBQ. In these instances, we find it's best to keep around some sprays sophisticated enough to work like they should, while staying DEET-free and relatively fumeless (hint: the baby aisle is often the way to go). Our office-wide testing led to small but mighty selection of sprays that smell (dare we say it?) good. Or at least better than you'd expect.

California Baby Bug Repellent: When in doubt, try baby products. We picked up this gentle, natural bug deterrent in hopes that it would smell as nice as an infant, while packing a protective punch. Upon spraying it in the Gloffice, one visitor announced it smelled like “baby wipes," but, in a good way. The finish is dry, but not in the sticky, aerosol sense, and reapplication is required every two hours.

Intelligent Nutrients Perfume Spray: Admittedly, it was the adorable baby vampire-bat on the bottle that had us all reaching for this self-proclaimed “aromatic experience.” But the certified-organic, minty, slightly oily concoction mixes geranium and cedar for an effect that’s more moody, woodsy perfume than pungent citronella candle. Plus, it leaves your skin a little more moisturized. Intelligent Nutrients suggests spritzing it all over yourself and your "personal effects," to prepare for two hours of bite-free, or close to it, bliss.

The Honest Co. Bug Spray: This one is a little on the sweet side, but the once-again certified-organic blend of rosemary, citronella, and wintergreen makes up one of the purest and safest repellants out there. It's also hydrating and baby-friendly, which, because it bears repeating, is always the way to go.

Mrs. White’s Unstung Hero: Ah, punsss. Once you get past the clever name and its très chic package, we couldn’t stop sniffing this so-called “repellant.” It’s lemony, like real Southern sweet tea, and is so lightweight it doesn't feel like you're wearing anything. Depending on how deep South you venture, reapply every two to four hours.

Here's wishing you a welt- and itch-free tomorrow, ladies and gents!

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Alice

    Was the Malin + Goetz spray not up to snuff?

    • ITGFerber

      It seems to be discontinued! I know—we were bummed, too :(

  • Buggins is Amazing

    BUGGINS!!! It works!!!

  • graceb

    Sooo they all worked for 2 hours at a time? Here in the south I regret going outside after 6 pm most nights.

  • Haiku Jew

    Itchin' to try these
    bothered by bug bites at night
    kiss-off, mosquitoes!

  • kt mo

    DENISE AIMEE. This stuff is amazing, smells so good and works all night (i don't know HOW mosquitos continue to get into our apartment, but I wake up with 10 new bites if I don't put this on before bed.) It's pricey, yes but even if you just spray it like twice, over your pillow the bugs stay away! A+ would recommend.

    • Monkey

      where do you buy it? Tried a google search and nothing came up

  • Clever Girl Reviews

    I'll have to try the CA Baby!

  • Heather P.

    I NEEDED this post this week! I go hiking 2-3 times every week, but I'm getting tired of being eaten alive each time I go out. That, and my brother-in-law's backyard has some serious mosquitoes that left my legs with some gross welts instead of bites!


  • Jamie

    Avon Skin So Soft dry body oil is also A+.

  • Carolyn @ The Makeup Writeup

    Mosquitoes unfortunately love me; I'll definitely have to try these. Thanks for the recs!

    The Makeup Writeup

  • sarita coren

    Lovely choices! We've been doing well with Balm! Baby's Shue Bug this summer. None of the ones that I've tried are that great but at least the ingredients are not harmful and they do smell good. Reapplication is often required.

  • lisa robb

    These are exactly what I need

  • A. Mac

    Definitely going to have to try this! Thanks for the tip!


California Baby
California Baby Bug Repellent
Intelligent Nutrients
Intelligent Nutrients Perfume Spray
The Honest Co.
The Honest Co. Bug Spray
Mrs. White's