DEET-Free, Day and Night

You’ve probably heard about DEET when it comes to bug spray, but if not, here’s a quick primer: DEET’s scientific name is N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide (what a mouthful), and the US army developed it in the 1940s. Today, it’s one of the most common chemicals used to repel bugs and mosquitos.

But DEET can be harmful in large doses or when misused, especially because our skin absorbs most of what we put on it. In this case, we like to go with DEET-free bug sprays to keep us safe while still staying protected. The nine bug sprays below use green alternatives like citronella, lemongrass, and lemon eucalyptus to keep pests far away.

(Pssst—before you head out on your next sustainable hike or camping trip, don’t forget natural sunscreen and vegan hiking boots, too. Happy trails to you. 🎵)

1. Meow Meow Tweet

Natural & Organic | Natural & certified organic ingredients Eco-Friendly | Plastic-free packaging, palm oil-free Ethical | Handmade formula, vegan, Leaping Bunny certified Price | $25 for 3.8 fl oz

Meow Meow Tweet’s Insect Repellent tops our list for a number of reasons. This natural bug spray keeps critters away without any toxic chemicals. It’s also multi-use if you’re in a pinch (hello, deodorant and foot spray!). Best of all, you can repurpose the container when you’re done. With hints of lavender, cedar, and fir, it’s an enticing aroma—luckily one that bugs also “flea” from.

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2. Kinfield

Natural & Organic | Natural spray, paraben-, phthalate- & sulfate-free Eco-Friendly | Eco-friendly packaging, recycling program Ethical | Cruelty-free, vegan, Leaping Bunny certified, gives back Price | $22 for 3 fl oz

For a clean bug spray that actually works, we love Kinfield’s Golden Hour Spray. That’s because Kinfield sources an Indonesian citronella that’s more effective than what we’ve seen mainstream. Mixed with a number of other plant-based ingredients and tested by third parties, this mosquito repellent is free of any toxins. Plus, the packaging is waste-free and Kinfield hosts its own recycling program to keep things as sustainable as possible.

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3. Skeem Design

Natural & Organic | All natural spray Eco-Friendly | Locally made in the the USA Ethical | Cruelty-free, vegan Price | $30 for 8 fl oz

Skeem Design’s Citronella Body Spray uses the power of lemongrass leaves to repel bugs and insects for hours on end. This all natural formula can be gently sprayed on bare skin, and the bottle itself is recyclable—or it can be repurposed. We’re big fans of Skeem’s commitment to sustainability alongside its beautiful designs and packaging. Bug spray that looks pretty? Okay, we see you.

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4. Erin’s Faces

Natural & Organic | All natural, paraben- & phthalate-free Ethical | Cruelty-free, vegan, Leaping Bunny certified Price | $14 for 4 fl oz

Keep buzzing bugs at bay (say that five times fast!) with Erin’s Faces DEET-Free Bug Spray. This formula uses essential oils that the whole family will love, wherever you’re based. Don’t believe us? Reviewers say this repellent is effective whether in New York, Yosemite Park, Central America and everywhere in between. Pick from your choice of two or four oz sprays.

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5. Jao

Natural & Organic | Natural & organic ingredients, paraben-, phthalate- & sulfate-free Eco-Friendly | Locally made in USA Ethical | Cruelty-free Price | $30 for 3 fl oz

If sprays aren’t your thing, give Jao’s Patio Oil a try. This plant-based bug balm is crafted with jojoba butter, vitamin E, and lemon eucalyptus to soothe your skin—and keep it that way. This repellent is produced in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, then packaged using materials from all up and down the East Coast, so it’s proudly made in the USA. No new bug bites, itchy rashes, or dry skin this summer! 🙌

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6. Badger

Natural & Organic | All organic ingredients Eco-Friendly | Recyclable packaging Ethical | Cruelty-free, vegan Price | $9.9 for 2.7 fl oz (or $12.99 for 4 fl oz)

Badger’s Anti-Bug Spray is one of the only fully organic formulas we’ve found for insect repellent. Outside of water, literally every other ingredient is organic, including peppermint, citronella, and soybean oils. That means it’s also suitable for kids! For added reassurance, Badger tests its sprays with third party labs for efficacy, too. As an added bonus, the packaging is recyclable—consider it our safe and sustainable pick.

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7. Good Flower Farm

Natural & Organic | Natural & organic ingredients Eco-Friendly | Locally made in the USA, organic & sustainable growing practices, eco-friendly packaging Ethical | Gives back Price | $16 for 4 fl oz

Good Flower Farm’s Into The Woods Bugspray won’t leave that sticky feeling we all hate, just a smooth shine that gets the job done. This mosquito repellent is made with organic essential oils, witch hazel, and distilled water for the purest—and most effective—spray. Good Flower Farm locally grows and harvests herbs near Nashville using passive solar power, sustainable water management practices, and organic farming practices whenever possible.

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8. Lulu Organics

Natural & Organic | Certified organic formula, paraben- & preservative-free Ethical | Cruelty-free, handmade, vegan, gives back Price | $12 for 2 fl oz

Go for a hike or cuddle around a bonfire with abandon, thanks to Lulu Organics’ Bug Beater. One of the best mosquito repellents we’ve found, this organic formula leverages lemon eucalyptus rather than citronella. Every Lulu Organics product is made in-house, including its popular hair powder and hand purifiers. A portion of proceeds support organizations caring for people and the planet, including the Sierra Club and the ACLU.

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9. Hello Bello

Natural & Organic | Natural & certified organic ingredients, paraben- & phthalate-free Eco-Friendly | Plant-based ingredients, petroleum-free Ethical | Cruelty-free, vegan, gives back Price | $9.88 for 6.7 fl oz

Hello Bello’s Natural Bug Spray is our top pick for a family-safe bug spray that can even be used on furbabies! This green brand was launched by Kristen Bell who, as a mother, understands the importance of safe, sustainable products for kids. This organic bug spray is lab-tested, deemed hypoallergenic, non-irritating, and best of all, it’s affordable and accessible at under $10 per bottle.

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