No matter where you go and what you are doing, you can count on mosquitoes being there in the warmer seasons to torment you.
It’s just a fact of life, but if you are ever near a body of water you probably noticed that it seems like the air is positively thick with them.
That’s because mosquitoes lay their eggs and complete their life cycle in water.
Naturally, if there was something we could do to keep mosquitoes out of and away from the water it might make our lives a little bit easier during pool season.
Unfortunately, you can’t just go dumping chemicals willy-nilly into any body of water. Maybe there’s something we put in the water anyway that could help us do the job.
What about chlorine? Does chlorine keep mosquitoes away?
Chlorine might keep mosquitoes away in very high concentrations and it can kill mosquito larvae, but it is ineffective in typical concentrations used for the maintenance of pools and fountains.
Although it’s popularly reported that chlorine is an effective mosquito deterrent, it turns out that in most practical ways, it just isn’t.
Mosquitoes will happily lay their eggs in still pool water, and sighting their wriggling little young swimming through the water is a common occurrence whether or not you have treated the water in question with chlorine.
Unfortunately, it seems like chlorine is a no-go as a general repellent, but it can still help us in our mission to eradicate mosquitoes. Keep reading and I’ll tell you more…
How Do Mosquitoes Typically Find Their Food?
To better understand how we repel mosquitoes, we need to know how mosquitoes find people to bite. They rely on several senses to do this, namely vision and olfactory glands.
For starters, mosquitoes look for movement to start zeroing in on prey, and then they can directly detect the heat emitted by our bodies along with our exhaled carbon dioxide and lactic acid coming through our skin.
This is why sweaty and hard-working people always seem especially plagued by the biting little scumbags.
To prevent mosquitoes from biting us, we either need to hide or conceal those signals from them so they don’t know where they are, or else we need to employ some sort of chemical or compound that will actually repulse them.
Chlorine can potentially do the latter, just not in a practical way.
So Why Doesn’t Chlorine Work to Keep Mosquitoes Away?
Chlorine is often touted as a chemical with an aroma that mosquitoes just hate. And accordingly, they will fly away from it and stay away from any source of it.
If that were the case, it would be enough to hang out near or in a well-maintained pool and expect invulnerability to mosquitoes, but that just isn’t what happens.
In fact, it’s entirely common to see huge clouds of mosquitoes thronging around pools, ponds and fountains that aren’t running even if they have been treated with chlorine.
If mosquitoes were repelled by the scent of chlorine, it stands to reason they wouldn’t be nearby.
Worse yet, mosquitoes routinely lay their eggs in pools and fountains that aren’t running! I myself have treated both with chlorine before in an effort to kill off mosquito larvae that were already in the water.
I came back days later to see the young swimming around like nothing had happened!
To be clear, there are indeed fragrances that will drive off mosquitoes, and I’ve talked about several of them before, but chlorine is just not one of them…
Typical Chlorine Treatment Alone Won’t Keep Mosquitoes Out of Your Pool or Fountain
If you take care of your pool, fountain or other water feature and regularly treat it with chlorine to eliminate bacteria and other microorganisms that will turn the water green and cloudy, you won’t have any additional mosquito protection from the chlorine.
That’s because typical home and pool concentrations of chlorine in water, usually anywhere from one to three parts per million, is adequate for killing off these microorganisms, but completely inadequate for repelling or killing mosquitoes or for killing off mosquito larvae.
It is possible that this chlorine might affect the overall number of eggs that mosquitoes lay, or even the amount of eggs that hatch, but it’s not going to make a meaningful difference.
Strong Concentrations of Chlorine Will Kill Larvae and Might Repulse Mosquitoes
However, just because your typical doses of chlorine prove ineffective at eliminating these insects, menace that doesn’t mean chlorine can’t get the job done.
Intense applications of chlorine, or highly concentrated chlorine, can and will kill mosquitoes and their larvae.
This is commonly referred to as a shock dose and sometimes it’s sold accordingly as specially formulated chemicals for the purpose.
So while this is a worthwhile step, potentially, to eliminate mosquito larvae in a body of water and one that could potentially keep adult mosquitoes away, if it is strong enough you aren’t going to be able to use the pool in the meanwhile.
In any case, that doesn’t help keep mosquitoes away from you directly, either.
Keeping Water Moving and Filtered is a Better Way to Protect Pools from Mosquitoes
For keeping mosquitoes from laying in your pool or fountain, the very best thing you can do is keep the water moving and filtered.
Mosquitoes avoid moving water because they know it will destroy their eggs or kill their young, and that’s exactly what we want to do.
Keep the water circulating through a pump with a good filter, and you can generally rest assured that mosquitoes won’t be able to lay eggs in it effectively and they will be less likely to hang out near the water.
Can You Use Bleach as a Mosquito Repellent?
No. Bleach, that is sodium hypochlorite or common household chlorine bleach, is not an effective mosquito repellent for all of the reasons I’ve already outlined in this article.
In any case, you should never, ever consider slathering chlorine bleach on yourself as a mosquito repellent no matter how desperate you are.
Aside from being ineffective, it’s ruinous to clothing and potentially toxic as we will learn in the next section.
Chlorine is Not Safe as a Personal Mosquito Repellent
To be perfectly clear, chlorine is not, and will never be, a personal mosquito repellent.
Yes, it might have some efficacy if you use it in a strong enough concentration for protecting pools and other bodies of water from mosquitoes, but you never want to put this stuff on your skin.
Weak solutions of chlorine are unlikely to cause any serious harm to your skin, but putting a stronger one on your skin, leaving it on for a long time, or applying it often can result in it being absorbed and causing chlorine toxicity.
Also, it can eventually severely burn your skin.
For these reasons, never try to use chlorine, in any form as a mosquito repellent no matter how badly they’re tormenting you.
Tom has lived and worked on farms and homesteads from the Carolinas to Kentucky and beyond. He is passionate about helping people prepare for tough times by embracing lifestyles of self-sufficiency.