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07/25/2018 12:23 pm ET

The Best Natural Bug Spray, According To Consumer Reports

The best DEET-free bug spray is under $6.
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If you get what you pay for, then shelling out more for top-tier prevention products like bug spray sounds like a no-brainer, but this latest find from Consumer Reports has us rethinking everything.

In fact, most of the top-recommended bug sprays from the product reviewing and testing site clock in under $7, proving that effectiveness isn’t necessarily dictated by a dollar sign.

Case-in-point, the only natural bug spray to received top marks for protection against mosquitos and ticks is Repel Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent2, which rings up around $5. It’s the only Consumer Reports recommended bug spray made without DEET or picaridin. Instead, it uses oil of lemon eucalyptus, a naturally occurring compound extracted from the gum eucalyptus tree, to repel mosquitos and ticks. 

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Repel’s lemon eucalyptus repellent received an overall rating of 90 points out of 100, including an “Excellent” rating in its protection against mosquitos and ticks, as well as its effects on different materials.  

Only two other bug sprays received higher overall scorings — OffDeep Woods Insect Repellent Vlll Dry and Total Home (CVS) Woodland Scent Insect Repellent, both of which include DEET.

Both DEET and picaridin have been deemed safe for use by the EPA when used as directed, but there are plenty of reasons folks opt for natural alternatives, like skin irritation. Consumer Reports notes that, of the ingredients found in many natural, plant-based bug sprays (including cedar, cinnamon, citronella, lemongrass, rosemary) oil of lemon eucalyptus proved most effective. 

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