How to get rid of mosquitoes at home: 7 naturals repellents to deter mozzies

Discover the secret to how to get rid of mosquitoes. Here’s what you need to know to keep blood-sucking biters at bay

A vector image with black text and depiction of mosquito insects flying around text on yellow background
(Image credit: Future)

Need to find out how to get rid of mosquitoes? We've got the inside scoop.

Mosquitoes are unfortunately one of the downsides of weather you might otherwise be delighted by. And, hearing the whine of a mosquito flying past your ear as you nod off to sleep is not a welcome experience...

Some winged home pests can be merely annoying, while others can be destructive or a health hazard, and our guide to how to get rid of flying insects has all information you need on evicting the invaders of our homes. 

Mosquitoes are definitely on the list of house-sharers you don’t want, and if you’re prone to getting bitten, you’ll know why. Mosquito bites can be really itchy, and may even bring you up in pink puffy bumps or blisters, which turn red and hard.

It's bad enough getting bitten once, but these high-pitched pests can prove to be greedy making the most of mealtime with multiple feeds. This can often result in a cluster of mossie bites on your arms and legs.

Fortunately, there are natural repellents, clever buys and smart tactics you might not have thought of if you're scratching your head (and everywhere else) wondering how to get rid of mosquitoes at home.

1. Trap to kill the mosquitoes

If the mosquitoes are still making it through your defences, think about getting a trap for the inside of your home. Some are heavy-duty affairs that aren’t the loveliest items plus they’re noisy, but we like the Adokey Indoor Mosquito Lamp (opens in new tab) because it’s pretty quiet, and doesn’t use chemicals to do away with the home invaders.

Bob Vila's homemade mosquito trap

Too late for preventative measures and no time for buying this shop bought? No need to fret, we've got a great homemade trap hack.

Here's how to make a mosquito trap via Bob Vila (opens in new tab) which is meant to attract the mosquitoes with carbon dioxide, prompting them to enter through the funnel, where they’ll then drown in the water:

You will need:

  • A cup of hot water
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 gram yeast
  • An empty two liter plastic bottle
  • Kitchen scissors
  • Black sock or black paper

How to:

  1. Cut the bottle: Using your kitchen scissors, carefully cut the plastic bottle around the middle.
  2. Create a simple sugar solution: To do this, heat up the water, then add sugar and let dissolve.
  3. Pour the mixture into the bottom half of the bottle: Once the sugar water has cooled down a bit, pour the mixture carefully into the bottom half of the bottle, and add the yeast to begin the carbon dioxide reaction.
  4. Create a funnel: Remove the cap, flip the top of the bottle upside down, push it into the bottom half of the bottle to create a funnel, and tape the two pieces together.
  5. Wrap the bottle: Wrap a black sock or piece of paper around the outside of the bottle.
  6. Position the trap: Place the trap in a shady part of the yard away from any outdoor seating areas.
  7. Empty the bottle and replace mix regularly: Empty the bottle and add more of the mix every two weeks or as needed.

An open-plan kitchen diner with dining table, indoor houseplant and multiple light fixtures

(Image credit: Getty / Westend61)

2. Stop mosquitoes entering the home

Obvious, right? But the fact is that if it’s hot overnight you won’t want to prevent the intrusion of mosquitoes by keeping the windows shut. The solution is to fit insect screens to your windows that still allow you to open them. 

Even if your windows are made from uPVC it is possible to get interior screens, including roll-down versions that you can move out of the way when you don’t need them. 

For a budget solution, you could go for netting you can cut to size and stick it around the window. The Flyzzz self-adhesive window screen from Amazon (opens in new tab) is a super cheap solution that'll keep critters from coming in.

For doors, you might find that a magnetic curtains might work. The lightweight EXTSUD Magnetic Screen Door, available on Amazon (opens in new tab) still allows fresh air to circulate but create a barrier between these annoying bugs and you. What's more, there's no nailing or drilling required so they're super renter-friendly too.

A cottage garden with antique watering can accessories

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

3. Say goodbye to standing water

Mosquitoes breed in stagnant fresh water, so your garden could be the source of the problem. 

Don’t think you have any standing water? It could be in a blocked gutter on your house, an old bucket in the garden, a wheelbarrow that’s not tipped up for storage, old pots round the back of your shed, a watering can, and so on. Even the best inflatable hot tub can be a cozy place to lay eggs, so be sure to drain these post garden party. Scour the outside of your home for all the possible sites and get rid of the standing water.

If you have a water butt to conserve rainwater, you don’t need to give up on it, but do make sure it has a well-fitting lid. Or if you can't find a lid to match the size of the rain barrel, there are drawstring mesh/net covers you can get on Amazon (opens in new tab) which you can tighten to the size of your container. This'll also help to keep leaves and other debris out of your water.

Garden pond

(Image credit: Garden pond)

4. Pay attention to your pond

Yes, we know we said no standing water but there are actually a couple of strategies you can use if your pond is a prime site for mosquitoes. The first is to improve the aeration and water flow of your pond by adding a pump (the AllPondSolutions CUP-305 - 2000L/H is Amazons' Choice (opens in new tab)) and a feature such as a fountain or a waterfall. 

If your pond doesn't have fish in it, now’s the time to get some new pets. Goldfish and others eat mosquito larvae, so you’ll be feeding your fish and dealing with your mosquito problem too.

'If mosquito eggs have ample water, they will hatch, releasing very hungry larvae!' says Rita Stadler, marketing supervisor, EarthKind (opens in new tab).

'While they grow and develop in their larval stage, they feed on algae, bacteria, and organic material in the water. These little wrigglers – as they’re called –also serve as a food source for other aquatic species. Naturally, this means mosquito larvae thrive in bodies of water that lack hungry fish to gobble them up.'

If you don't have a pond (because you think the idea is too expensive or tricky, learn how to create a garden pond in your backyard for a cheap and easy water feature that'll add interest in your outdoor space.

5. Attract bats to your garden

While fish will eat mosquito larvae, bats will eat the adult mosquitoes. But how best to make your garden bat-friendly? You could invest in a bat box (available on Amazon) (opens in new tab) – or better several – for your plot. 

The best place to position them is in sheltered sunny spots, and at least four to five metres above ground level. Make sure the boxes aren’t located where you or the cat will disturb the bats. 

You could also add in flowers, climbers, shrubs and trees that will encourage bats to your garden. There’s plenty of choice, including honeysuckle, buddleia, lavender, sea holly, evening primrose, and tobacco plant, plus hawthorn, hazel, English oak and silver birch. This is how Monty Don would create a wildlife-friendly garden.

6. Natural ways to repel mosquitoes

Try growing the plants that are reputed to put off mosquitoes in a herb garden. These include lavender (which is one of the bat-attracting plants as well, see above, and therefore a double win), basil, eucalyptus, citronella, marigolds, and catnip. 

Camphor is also a great natural repellent which can be bought in various forms like camphor tablets (available from Amazon) (opens in new tab) which you can add to your garden pond.

You can also try burning plant extracts in a essential oil diffuser or oil burner which will deter the critters from coming too close. Or, if you're looking for a flame-less fix, invest in the best reed diffuser or learn how to make your own reed diffuser.

Inside of the home, the best indoor plants to repel mosquitoes include rosemary (position it in the kitchen to for a quick garnish for lamb or G&Ts), basil, lemongrass, and catnip. You see, no one needs to know that you're actively trying to ward off mosquitoes – you'll merely look like a well-stocked chef!

If you own a cat, catnip (aka Nepeta cataria) is a smell that mosquitoes hate, but will be a dreamy addition to the home for your feline friend.

Whichever verdant variety you go for, the air-purifying benefits of plants mean that they'll help to draw out the carbon dioxide in the room. Which, if you've read above can deter these potentially-deadly insects.

7. Try a fan to keep mosquitoes out

Create a breeze and you can deter mosquitoes, which are apparently relatively weak fliers. A fan has another advantage: it’ll disperse the carbon dioxide you exhale and which attracts them.

Of course, we tend to be more conscious of mosquitoes nipping at us in the warmer so it makes sense to invest in the best fan well before summer (where they're likely to sell out!)

Fans are one way reduce the temperature, if you're wondering how to cool down a room fast and can be the secret to stopping mosquitoes from attacking you. This is because mosquitoes are attracted to certain pheromones in your sweat. So less perspiration means that you aren't the plat du jour.

8. Switch up your fashion and beauty buys 

Getting rid of mosquitoes can be as simple as going clothes shopping. OK, now that we've got our attention, it's not that easy but hear us out. Since mosquitoes pick up on sweat and lactic acid, choose cool, loose-fitting garments to stop them from sucking your blood.

A simple outfit suggestion might include a cool cotton, long-sleeved shirt with linen pants. But before you finish the look with a spritz of your fave eau de toilettes, consider going without to ward off the bugs. Strong perfumes and floral scents can attract mosquitoes and other bugs.

Instead, Stay Away  Picaridin Mosquitoes (available from Earthkind on Amazon) (opens in new tab) is a fragrance-free insect repellent that you can spray on your skin and go about enjoying your day.

'Stay Away® Mosquitoes is an EPA Registered repellent made with Picaridin, an ingredient recommended by the CDC.' says Stadler.

This repellent provides 14-hour effective prevention against mosquitoes and ticks. It masks your musk, making you invisible to these pests. It’s water-resistant, too, so you can wear it during all of your outdoor activities without worrying about reapplying.'

Christina joined the Real Homes team as a digital writer in June 2021. Prior to this, she worked for Good Homes magazine and home interest events including the Ideal Home Show and Grand Designs Live. She lives close to Epping Forest and is spoiled for choice with lush green spaces, but loves her own English garden that adjoins her ground-floor maisonette, complete with a floral melange of roses, lavender, jasmine, and an apple tree.

With contributions from