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Home Remedies for Mosquitoes: 8 Foods That Defend Against Bug Bites

Eating these foods each day will keep the mosquitoes away.

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Garlic Cloves and Bulb in vintage wooden bowl.Marian Weyo/Shutterstock


Several days before you take a camping or hiking trip into bug-filled territory, start eating garlic. Have a clove or two every day. As you sweat out the garlic odor, it repels many insects. Maybe this is where the myth of garlic repelling bloodsuckers came from! Try it out with these recipes for garlic lovers. 

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Glass of milk on wooden backgroundshowcake/Shutterstock


If your skin feels like it’s burning up from too much sun exposure or if itchy bug bites are driving you crazy, try using a little milk paste for soothing relief. Mix one part powdered milk with two parts water and add a pinch or two of salt. Dab it on the burn or bite. The enzymes in the milk powder will help neutralize the insect-bite venom and help relieve sunburn pain. 

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Different types of salt. Sea and kitchen salt.Angelus_Svetlana/Shutterstock


For relief from the itching of mosquito and chigger bites, soak the area in salt water, then apply a coating of lard or vegetable oil. By the way, do you know all of the different types of salt?

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Olive oil in vintage bottles and small bowlElena Veselova/Shutterstock

Olive oil

It’s so satisfying to watch birds enjoying the garden bath you provide. But unfortunately, that still water is a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Floating a few tablespoons of vegetable oil on the surface of the water will help keep mosquitoes from using the water, and it won’t bother the birds. But it’s still important to change the water twice a week so any larvae don’t have time to hatch. Here are more smart ways to use olive oil.

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OnionsBrent Hofacker/Shutterstock


Rubbing a slice of onion over your skin can be a good way to keep away mosquitoes and other biting insects.

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Orange peelsKseniia Konakova/Shutterstock

Orange and lemon peels

Not crazy about the idea of rubbing onions all over yourself to keep away mosquitoes? You may be happy to know that you can often get similar results by rubbing fresh orange or lemon peels over your exposed skin. It’s said that mosquitoes and gnats are totally repulsed by either scent.

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Jug of apple cider vinegar and sliced red applesANJELIKAGR/SHUTTERSTOCK

Apple cider vinegar

Planning a camping trip? Here’s an old army trick to keep away the ticks and mosquitoes: Approximately three days before you leave, start taking 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar three times a day. Continue using the vinegar throughout your trek, and you just might return home without a bite. Another time-honored approach to keep gnats and mosquitoes at bay is to moisten a cloth or cotton ball with white vinegar and rub it over your exposed skin. Here are more amazing health benefits of apple cider vinegar.

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Jar with vanilla extract and sticks on wooden boardAfrica Studio/Shutterstock


Everybody likes the smell of vanilla—everybody but bugs, that is. Dilute 1 tablespoon vanilla extract with 1 cup water and wipe the mixture on your exposed skin to discourage mosquitoes, blackflies and ticks.

Adapted from the books 1,801 Home Remedies and Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things

Originally Published in Reader's Digest

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