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Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent

rated 4.0 of 5 stars
photo: Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent insect repellent

Searching for a DEET-free bug repellent? This stuff seems to work pretty well and is priced right.


  • Non-greasy
  • Pleasant scent
  • DEET free
  • Essential oil based
  • Great for most flying insects


  • Scent is strong when first applied
  • Not the best for repelling ticks
  • Only 6 hrs effectiveness
  • Not for highly infested areas

Was looking for a DEET-free repellent that was less chemical and more natural.  I'm pleased to say this works awesome. I was in our yard doing some cleanup in 90-degree heat today when I grabbed my recently purchased bottle. The mosquitos and gnats had come at me out of nowhere so I went to the garage  for the new spray.

One spray on each arm, once on each leg, and then I used the hand that I spread it with to wipe the back of my neck. I worked 4 hours without a single bug bite after that and they seemed to leave me alone too. None buzzing my head or anything.

I'm sold except for the fact that other web resources show this isn't the ideal tick repellent which is why I only gave it 4 stars. It should be good for my hiking until I can get a repellent that is very effective for ticks since this is supposed to be a bad year.

That being said I have seen other reviews that have said it does have tick repelling properties, just not the highest rated or longest lasting. With some web searches I've also seen it's not great in areas with high mosquito populations. 


I've used many bug sprays for years but most had DEET which is known to sometimes have side effects. In more recent years more natural repellents have surfaced. Avon offers Bug Guard which also repels ticks and is DEET free, works 8 hours, but not as easy to purchase.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $4.98

Very effective


  • Works well against mosquitoes


  • Frequent application required

I have used this product for a couple years now. I moved from DEET after it damaged some of my hiking equipment. Be prepared to have plastic goo on your hands after applying DEET and handling equipment unless you wash your hands after application. I have read conflicting articles concerning DEET over the years and decided it just wasn't worth the possible health risk to continue using it.

I found Repel to be very effective against mosquitoes, but it is not long-lasting.  Reapplication is needed after about two hours to stay protected. I wear long pants while hiking to avoid ticks, but can say that I have only once found a tick on my pants, but was not using Repel at the time. I have never found the presence of ticks while using this product.

Repel is very effective while hiking in hot, humid, heavily canopied forest along streams. I will not go back to DEET products.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $4.95 at Walmart

Works well for mosquitoes, does not damage synthetic fabrics, less likely to have health risks.


  • works well for mosquitoes
  • does not damage fabrics
  • natural, safer ingredients


  • strong odor, may or may not be an issue for you
  • does not last as long as DEET

This is the best non-DEET repellent I have tried. It works well for mosquitoes, possibly for ticks, but I just try hard to avoid them anyway, so it is hard to say. It does not last as long as DEET, but I don't mind re-applying.

The absolute biggest benefit is that it does not damage synthetic fabrics. Since most of my hiking, biking, running, etc. shirts, hats, and pants are both synthetic and expensive this is a huge advantage. I'm done with DEET forever.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $6

I fish trout streams in southwestern Michigan. The mosquitoes hold their conventions on these streams. Lemon oil- eucalyptus works quite well.


  • Works well against mosquitoes.


  • None

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $4.97 at WalMart

We have to use this at work as Deet isn't allowed due to wearing rubber gloves. They say there's a chance the rubber could be compromised. This stuff works ok. I still get eat up from time to time.

The biggest drawback that hasn't been mentioned is that the stuff STINKS! The smell is just strong.

There's still no replacement for Deet that I've found.


As a biochemist, I have to mention that Eucalyptus oil and DEET, along with almost every chemical on the planet, are both toxic at some doses.

The public has the erroneous idea that "natural" chemicals are inherently safe and synthetic chemicals are dangerous. One of the most toxic chemicals ever discovered is a natural compound, botulinum toxin. The estimated lethal dose is 85 to 137 nanograms per adult human. Approximately one ounce would be enough to kill every person in the USA. Aflatoxin, a natural compound found in some molds, can cause cancer at parts per billion. DEET has some toxicity, but it has been declared safe in moderate use by numerous health agencies.

Eucalyptus oil is also toxic. The estimated oral lethal dose of eucalyptus oil is less than 33 milliliters for an adult human (a bit over an ounce). Drinking one-sixth of an ounce can be expected to cause severe central nervous system depression and put a person in coma. Applying the oil to skin is less toxic, but children have a higher surface area to weight ratio and would be expected to be more sensitive than adults.

Between 2014 and 2018 there were over 2000 poisonings  by eucalyptus oil in New South Wales, a state in Australia, which accounted for 46% of all essential oil poisonings. A 2002 article in the New England Journal of Medicine states, "DEET has a remarkable safety profile after 40 years of use and nearly 8 billion human applications. When applied with common sense, DEET-based repellents can be expected to provide a safe as well as long-lasting repellent effect."

Everything is toxic at some dose. One aspirin (based on a natural compound) can be useful, but a whole bottle is too much.

(sources: Royal Children's Hospital of Melbourne and Wikipedia referenced articles on DEET and Eucalyptus oil.)



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Price Current Retail: $7.49-$8.49
Historic Range: $3.93-$8.99
Reviewers Paid: $4.95-$6.00
Active Ingredients Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus 30.0% (approx. 65% p-menthane-3,8-diol) / other ingredients 70.0%
Product Details from Repel »

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