I’m confident in saying that mosquitoes have plagued humanity since before history began. No matter where you go, no matter what you’re doing, no matter where on Earth you live, mosquitoes are going to be there to bite you and suck your blood.
It’s truly enough to drive you crazy! Of course, I suppose that we should be thankful we have a variety of effective bug sprays to choose from today to help with the problem.
But in truth, I’m wary of all these chemicals. Who knows what the long-term side effects are?
Luckily enough, there are quite a few other effective mosquito repellents to choose from, including a few that you wouldn’t expect.
How about Vicks VapoRub? Will Vicks VapoRub keep mosquitoes away?
Yes, surprisingly enough Vicks VapoRub is a pretty good mosquito repellent. This is because it has various ingredients that will repulse mosquitoes, including menthol, camphor, eucalyptus, turpentine, and cedarwood oils.
I know there are a few families out there that believe that Vicks VapoRub is the cure for absolutely everything under the sun, up to and including a broken leg, but in this case it isn’t just wishful thinking!
Vicks VapoRub will absolutely repel mosquitoes and is about as effective as even the best bug sprays.
This is great news if you want a more traditional and better understood option- so long as you can stand the aroma! Keep reading and I’ll tell you everything you need to know…
How Do Mosquitoes Find Prey?
To better understand how Vicks VapoRub can help us by keeping mosquitoes away, we first need to know how mosquitoes find us in the first place.
It turns out that mosquitoes are surprisingly adept hunters, and use multiple highly refined senses to locate warm bloodbags like us to feed on.
For starters, mosquitoes are attracted to movement, and more than that they can detect body heat and smell the lactic acid and CO2 emitted by our bodies.
If you’re engaged in strenuous activity or sweating, your body heat, CO2 production and lactic acid production all go up, meaning you’re a bigger and easier target for mosquitoes.
It’s really hard to hide from mosquitoes and harder yet to mask these signals they use to home in on us.
Our only other option is to keep them away by any means necessary, and that’s where the VapoRub comes in…
So Why Does Vicks VapoRub Work to Keep Mosquitoes Away?
There are many kinds of mosquito repellent on the market, containing ingredients that mosquitoes simply find disgusting or ones that will actively irritate them and drive them away.
In the case of VapoRub, it actually has several such ingredients that are known to have mosquito repulsing properties!
For instance, some of the active ingredients in Vicks VapoRub include menthol, camphor oil, eucalyptus oil and turpentine.
Several of these are responsible for giving Vicks that incredibly aromatic scent that actually does the healing according to a legion of grandmas I asked.
No, I won’t provide a source for that; just trust me as I have trusted them.
Jokes aside, aside from these active ingredients, Vicks VapoRub also contains cedarwood oil, known for its insect-repelling properties.
All together, this makes Vicks one heck of a cocktail if you want to keep mosquitoes away from you and it definitely works, no question!
How to Prepare Vicks VapoRub as a Mosquito Repellent
Using Vicks VapoRub as a mosquito repellent could not be simpler. Assuming you’re working with the traditional jelly or ointment, all you need to do is smear it on your skin normally.
Mosquitoes won’t go anywhere near the stuff, and chances are they won’t come anywhere near you generally!
This makes a VapoRub a value proposition if you’re going to carry some with you out into the field because it can, of course, still be used for its typical pain relief, and it can also give you added protection from a relentless swarm of mosquitoes.
Can You Use Vicks VapoRub in Any Other Way to Repel Mosquitoes?
No, not really. Vicks VapoRub might be aromatic enough that you could leave a few strategically placed smears of it around your campsite or other outdoor area to help keep these insects at bay, but I don’t think this is a very effective use of what is otherwise a fairly expensive resource.
Similarly, unlike various herbs, you should never try to burn Vicks in order to spread its mosquito-repelling fragrance around.
Vicks VapoRub is combustible if you heat it up enough, but it can burn unpredictably when it melts and this could be a safety hazard.
How Often Should You Use It to Repel Mosquitoes?
According to the manufacturer, adults should use VapoRub no more than 3 to 4 times daily for muscle aches and pains.
Accordingly, you should be safe to apply VapoRub this often as a mosquito deterrent.
The trick is whether that will provide you with ongoing protection.
The oils in VapoRub are definitely effective, and persistent, but it is likely that your protection will diminish as the aroma of the salve does.
Is Vicks VapoRub Safe to Use as Mosquito Repellent?
Yes, broadly, assuming you have no wounds, injuries or broken skin that might be irritated by the product.
Never, ever use VapoRub in this way for mosquito protection if you’re known to be allergic to it or suffer from other bad reactions.
Also, you’ll want to be especially cautious to avoid getting any of this stuff in your eyes. That is going to make for a very bad day!
Something else to keep in mind is that the manufacturer explicitly warns against heating VapoRub in any way, as it’s likely to cause adverse reactions because it produces a cooling or warming sensation on the skin normally.
Potentially, doing so could lead to pronounced skin irritation.
And, as always, if you experience any negative side effects discontinue use immediately.
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.