How to get rid of mosquitoes and keep your family bite-free

Make your home an insect-proof fortress with these natural and effective solutions

Garden with raised wooden beds with lavender, herbs and small tree
(Image credit: Future PLC/Leigh Clapp)

Knowing how to get rid of mosquitoes is unfortunately no longer just an issue for holidays in the sun, but with rising temperatures the UK has we're facing mozzie bites in our own homes.

Of course, prevention is always better than cure, so we've spoken with the experts to find out exactly how to repel mosquitoes so we can enjoy our meticulously thought out garden ideas in peace.

And since, according to the British Pest Control Association, the UK is home to more than 30 types of native mosquito species, some of which bite, it's best to get moving quickly to save yourself from those itchy bites. In fact, sales of the Thermacell Mosquito & Midge Repeller, £34.99, Lakeland shot up by over 137% recently, so these pests are here and aren't staying quiet about it.

How to get rid of mosquitoes

We've never really questioned if citronella candles actually repel mosquitoes, and since we've recently found out that they're not actually more helpful than regular smoke, it's time to learn what we should actually be doing.

1. Citronella in other forms

an electronic diffuser sitting on a pile of books with a small bottle of scented oil

(Image credit: The White Company)

Yep, the news that citronella candles won't help with how to get rid of mosqitoes threw us for a loop, too. But it's not as dramatic as it sounds. Citronella still has its place in repelling these irritating pests, just not necessarily in candle form.

'Citronella contains geraniol and linalool which have been scientifically proven to repel mosquitoes,' explains Robert Collins, pest control expert at My Job Quote. 'Using citronella oil in a diffuser is generally the most effective method, as it continuously releases these fragrant substance.'

Robert Collins
Robert Collins

Robert Collins has worked as a professional pest control officer for over 20 years and has represented MyJobQuote as a pest control expert for over 4 years. 

Robert continues to provide pest control services in various regions across the UK, while also providing expert pest control advice on behalf of MyJobQuote. 

2. Other citrus scents

Bowl of lemons with one cut lemon on wooden chopping board

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

It's not just the age-old citronella which comes into play. 'Similar with how to get rid of wasps, mosquitos hate the smell of anything citrus,' explains Dominic Lees-Bell, cleaning expert at Tap Warehouse.

'Cut a lemon in half and stick some cloves into the lemon to make it extra pungent to these small flies.'

3. Essential oils

Brown glass bottle with dropper by eucalyptus leaves

(Image credit: Getty Images)

It's not just the scent of citrus which will help with how to get rid of mosquitoes, there are other natural essential oils which are worth a look. Christopher Nye, overseas living expert at, takes us through these:

  • Tea tree oil, from £5.99 at Amazon: 'Tea tree oil is known for its antiseptic, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties, but studies also suggest that tea tree oil may be an effective insect repellent, as its intense aroma keeps bugs like mosquitoes at bay. Its powerful medicinal properties also mean that, if you do end up being bitten, it can help to heal mosquito bites fast.'
  • Lemon eucalyptus oil, from £5.95 at Amazon: 'The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in America have even approved it as an effective ingredient in mosquito repellent! You can create your own mixture using 1 part lemon eucalyptus oil to 10 parts sunflower oil or witch hazel.'
  • Cinnamon oil, from £3.99 at Amazon: 'Cinnamon oil has shown promise as a great-smelling, environmentally friendly pesticide, and it even has the ability to kill mosquito larvae! It also acts as a repellent against adult mosquitoes, which provides a real win-win scenario.'

4. Plant thoughtfully

Garden with raised wooden beds with lavender, herbs and small tree

(Image credit: Future PLC/Oliver Gordon)

Clever use of planting will actually help with how to get rid of mosquitoes from the garden and home.

'Geraniol and linalool are naturally present in many flowers and herbs,' notes pest control expert Robert. 'So planting up geraniums, lavender and mint near your windows is another good deterrent.'

'Marigolds are really versatile plants in the garden and many gardeners claim they are a good deterrent of unwanted insects like mosquitoes,' adds Henry Bartlam, Founder of Dig Club.

5. Cover any standing water

A mini pond surrounded by foliage at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

(Image credit: Heather Young/Future Publishing Ltd)

Standing water is a firm favourite for mosquitoes. In fact, they even lay their eggs in batches of stagnant water.

'Cover pools when they’re not in use and don’t leave watering cans or water jugs on your windowsill,' advises pest control expert Robert. Clear your gutters regularly of damp leaves and debris, check buckets in your garden, tip up wheelbarrows, drain old pots and your watering can, and so on.

6. Cover doors and windows

Beige painted bedroom with bed decorated with coloured cushions and hanging planter next to large window with blinds and sheer curtains

(Image credit: Future PLC / James French)

Mosquitoes enter the home through open doors and windows, but it can be a struggle to keep these closed in hot weather - even though closed windows will actually help with keeping a bedroom cool.

'There are steps you can take to keep the flies at bay whilst bringing cool air into the home,' says James Talyor, Product Director at Make My Blinds. 'Firstly, if you don’t already have them fitted in your home then venetian blinds or net or voile curtains are a great way to keep pests at bay.'

'Venetian blinds can help to keep your home cool and tilting them on an angle means that you can keep the windows open, whilst reducing the chances of pests entering the property.'

'Use voile curtains and blinds to block their entry without blocking your natural light and ventilation,' agrees pest control expert Robert.

7. Ensure an air flow

Black fan on floor next to bed with linen sheets

(Image credit: Duux)

Yep, we have just said you need to keep those doors and windows closed where necessary, but you have to keep the air moving. 

'Keep a good flow of air through the house, to reduce humidity levels,' recommends pest control expert Robert. 'If you don’t have an air conditioning unit, open windows at the front and back of the house, leave room doors open and use one of the best fans to help circulate the air.'

What is the best homemade mosquito trap?

We've got a great homemade trap hack using apple cider vinegar, which has a sweet smell that will attract the mosquitoes to the trap, allowing you to then catch them and get rid of them. Here's how:

  • Pour a little apple cider vinegar into a bottle.
  • Make a funnel with a piece of paper and place it in the mouth of the bottle.
  • Place the bottle in the area of your home where you're seeing the most mosquitoes.
  • The mosquitoes will trap themselves in after being attracted by the aroma of the apple vinegar.
Thea Babington-Stitt
Managing Editor

Thea Babington-Stitt is the Managing Editor for Ideal Home. Thea has been working across some of the UK’s leading interiors titles for around 10 years.

She started working on these magazines and websites after graduating from City University London with a Masters in Magazine Journalism. Before moving to Ideal Home, Thea was News and Features Editor at Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc and Country Homes & Interiors.