Mosquito Repellent & Dryer Sheets

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Despite claims on the Internet stating otherwise, dryer sheets have no properties that lend themselves to being used as a mosquito repellent. These claims have been proven false several times by different independent studies.

Misconceptions

  • An article on the urban legend database site Snopes.com by site co-founder Barbara Mikkelson reprints an anonymous email that began circulating in 2003 during heavy media reporting of the West Nile virus, a disease spread by mosquito bites. According to the anonymous email, rubbing yourself with a dryer sheet is a cheap and effective way to stop mosquito bites. In the article, Mikkelson says that dryer sheets and many other home remedies to stop mosquitoes from biting work only for a few minutes at most.

Expert Insight

  • Dryer sheets contain several chemicals, but none are cleared by any agency to work as a mosquito repellent. An article on the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) website written with the cooperation with Health Canada, the department of the Canadian government responsible for national public health, also debunks the claim that dryer sheets can be used as a mosquito repellent. Health Canada also says that any other so-called alternative or natural mosquito repellent will only work for 30 minutes to an hour at most.

Alternatives

  • The only proven mosquito repellent that has been shown to consistently work is DEET, a strong chemical insect repellent found in most bug sprays. Mikkelson's article on Snopes cites a study done at the University of Florida that showed any repellent with DEET worked hours longer than any alternative method of mosquito control.

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  • Photo Credit Design Pics/Valueline/Getty Images
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