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Do Citronella Candles Keep Mosquitoes Away?

Citronella is often lauded as a mosquito repellent in various products, including sprays, lotions, and candles, that you’ve likely seen in stores or mentioned online. While using citronella candles outdoors during summer might help in repelling mosquitoes, the effect tends to be temporary. Studies suggest the repellent effect of citronella candles might only last a couple of hours.

Person lighting citronella candle

What is Citronella?

Derived from the leaves and grass of certain plants, citronella oil is characterized by its yellow/brown color and a distinct scent that blends grassy, floral, and citrus notes. The oil is versatile, finding use not just as an insect deterrent but also in perfumes, as a food flavoring, in promoting wound healing, and as an antifungal treatment. Citronella candles, marketed for their insect-repelling qualities, aim to ward off not just mosquitoes but a variety of insects.

Do Citronella Candles Work?

Citronella repels insects by obscuring the human scents that attract them, making it harder for mosquitoes to locate their targets. When assessing citronella’s effectiveness against mosquitoes, it’s noted that citronella oil can extend mosquito protection up to three hours if mixed with vanillin. When paired with DEET, citronella’s protective duration can surpass six hours. Nonetheless, studies indicate that citronella candles, on their own, offer minimal mosquito deterrence.

Can Citronella Plants Repel Mosquitoes?

Despite the common sale of citronella plants, such as lemon-scented geraniums, for mosquito repellent purposes, they do not inherently repel mosquitoes. The mosquito-repellent properties are actually in the oil found within the plant’s leaves, which needs to be extracted through crushing or rubbing to be effective. Therefore, for dependable mosquito prevention, it’s advised to use more consistently effective and scientifically endorsed methods.

Do Citronella Candles Keep Mosquitoes Away?​ Serving Ocala, St Augustine, Fruit Cove, Palm Valley

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