Why you should consider using a natural mosquito repellent

Natural insect repellants can not only be just as effective as their DEET-based counterparts, but are also better for personal and environmental health.

Posted Updated
Abbey Slattery
, WRAL Digital Solutions
This article was written for our sponsor, Murphy's Naturals.

The effectiveness of natural mosquito repellent versus chemical-based mosquito repellent has been long-debated. Some swear by natural ingredients, others insist only DEET works. But according to experts, it all depends on the exact brand of repellent used.

For Philip Freeman, the CEO and founder of Murphy's Naturals, the effectiveness of natural repellent brands comes down to the details. It's all in the ingredient concentration, and many companies skimp in areas where they shouldn't.

"You must have the proper concentrations of the natural repellent oils, and it's best to have a variety of oils blended together to cover a broader spectrum of insects," Freeman said. "There are many plants that insects will not disturb due to their natural repellent properties. Much like the camouflage of animals that help them blend in with nature, plants produce oils that help protect them from their predators. What we do is harvest the power of nature in order to protect ourselves."

At Murphy's Naturals, Freeman and his team have put together a repellent formula that includes a minimum of 5 percent essential oil concentration and premium waxes. It uses this formula in its sprays, candles, balms and incense to ensure maximum effectiveness against a number of insects — not just mosquitos.

To put that number in perspective, many other natural repellent companies use as little as 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent citronella oil by concentration, which, while cutting costs, produces a mostly ineffective product and often gives natural alternatives a bad name.

Not only does Murphy's Naturals use a stronger concentration of ingredients, but the company also seeks out the highest quality options. The majority of its products contain oil of lemon eucalyptus, a natural extract that is recommended by the CDC and has proven to be an effective repellent in multiple studies.

Aside from the effective oil of lemon eucalyptus, Murphy's Naturals also uses ingredients like essential oils and beeswax in its products, all of which are obtained through natural resources that are sustainably harvested.

In sourcing its inventory this way, the company hopes to bring an increased awareness to not only personal health, but also the health of the community and environment — setting Murphy's Naturals apart from other natural repellent companies on the market in the process.

"We're a true natural-products brand, and we're a company that believes in the importance of natural products and the benefits they provide — especially the health and wellness that comes from the environment," Freeman said. "We don't play at naturals, like many large mass brands, where they make a ton of chemical-based products and then throw out a token natural product line. We live for responsibly sourced naturals and we focus on plant-based products for outdoor living."

As Freeman mentioned, it's easy for companies to talk the all-natural talk, but few actually walk the walk. Under his direction, Murphy's Naturals does just that.

The company has been deemed a certified B Corporation, which is awarded to businesses that reach the highest levels of social and environmental performance, while also maintaining public transparency, balancing profit and purpose. Additionally, Murphy's Naturals contributes 2 percent of its gross revenue to goodwill organizations and nonprofits on a local, national and international scale.

A portion of the funds are given to members of 1% For the Planet — an organization that emphasizes environmental solutions through annual membership and everyday actions. The other portion of funds are put towards its Doing Others Good initiatives, partnering up with local organizations to build a healthy community — whether that be supporting the five honeybee hives on the company's rooftop or giving to veteran-owned businesses.

For Freeman, the importance of creating and using natural repellents lies in an obligation to the community and the environment.

While many popular insect repellent offerings are packed with chemicals like DEET and insecticides, which, when used incorrectly or in high quantities, can cause skin irritation, dizziness and seizures, and when introduced into the environment, can be toxic to fish and other aquatic invertebrates. Natural repellent accomplishes the same goal with far fewer risks.

"We take care of our people and our planet," Freeman said. "There is no reason why we can't do well and do good in the process."

This article was written for our sponsor, Murphy's Naturals.


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