Mosquitoes bugging you? These are Consumer Reports’ top-tested insect repellents

Insect repellents with 15-30% Deet work best, tests show

SAN ANTONIO – After recent rains, you know the mosquitoes will be bugging you soon. Not only do their bites itch, they can spread disease. To find out which insect repellents protect the best, Consumer Reports put several to the test.

Volunteers applied repellent and after 30 minutes, stuck their arms into cages filled with 200 disease-free mosquitoes.

“Our testing paints a pretty clear picture,” said Consumer Reports’ Catherine Roberts. “No matter the brand or what kind of repellent you’re using, products made with 15 to 30% Deet worked the best.”

Two repellents named “best buys’ by Consumer Reports are Total Home CVS Woodland Scent Insect Repellent and 3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent8.

The top-scoring repellents are Ben’s Tick and Insect Repellent wipes and Ben’s Tick and Insect Wilderness pump repellent.

According to the EPA, Deet has been thoroughly tested and is safe when properly used. It should not be used on infants.

If you’re still looking for a non-Deet product, Consumer Reports found repellents with 30% oil of lemon eucalyptus are good alternatives . Also, some repellents with 20% picaridin tested well, too.

No matter which product you choose, to be effective it has to be applied properly. That means using a thin coat on exposed skin. It can be applied on top of clothing, but should not be applied under clothing. Be sure to wash hands after applying and keep it away from eyes.

About the Author:

As a consumer reporter, Marilyn is all about helping people stay safe and save a buck. Since coming to KSAT in 1985, she’s covered everything from crime to politics, winning awards for her coverage of the Mexican Mafia, Oklahoma tornadoes, children’s transplants, an investigation into voting irregularities and even a hit-and-run Santa Claus.