OFF! is one of the most popular brands of insect repellents. First sold back in 1957, it is now available in many variants. Some examples include Overtime, Kids, Clean Feel, and Deep Woods. Although it is being marketed for keeping mosquito bites at bay, many can’t help but wonder if OFF! spray can be used to repel bed bugs, too.
One OFF! spray variant called “Deep Woods” can repel bed bugs because it contains 25% DEET. Other variants do not have enough DEET for them to be able to repel bed bugs. However, OFF! spray repels bed bugs for a short time only.
Continue reading if you are facing a bed bug infestation. Below you will come across a few more important matters about the use of OFF! spray against bed bugs.
DEET: The Active Ingredient
OFF! spray, no matter the variant, contains an ingredient that is effective for driving mosquitoes away. It’s none other than DEET, which is also the same ingredient used by many makers of mosquito repellents.
The chemical name of DEET is N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, and it can repel not only mosquitoes but also fleas, flies, and various small insects.
It works by keeping mosquitoes from detecting the carbon dioxide that you breathe out. Because mosquitoes hunt you down by means of carbon dioxide, DEET makes you invisible to them.
What’s really nice about DEET is that it can also ward off many other insects. If you are sharing your bedroom with bed bugs, you will be more than happy to learn that DEET can repel bed bugs, too!
But before you get your hands on dozens of OFF! sprays, there’s an important matter that you need to know first. According to experts, for DEET to drive bed bugs away, it needs to be present in high concentrations.
Studies have shown that 25% or higher concentration of DEET is effective in preventing bed bugs from biting.
Just because OFF! spray contains DEET doesn’t necessarily mean right away that you can use it for fending off bed bugs. The problem is that most OFF! spray variants have small amounts of DEET only.
The good news is that there is an OFF! spray variant that contains enough DEET.
It’s none other than OFF! Deep Woods because it contains 25% DEET, which is the minimum concentration of the chemical for it to work on bed bugs. So, does OFF! spray repel bed bugs?
Yes, it does repel bed bugs, for as long as it’s OFF! Deep Woods.
High DEET Concentration is Bad
Are you wondering why the DEET content of OFF! Deep Woods is 25% only?
Well, here’s the deal. Although DEET is effective in driving away mosquitoes and a bunch of other flying and crawling insects, the presence of too much DEET can cause serious problems.
Some of them include rashes, disorientation, and seizures.
Because of this, the maker of OFF! as well as the makers of many other mosquito repellents do not include more than 25% of DEET in their products.
Otherwise, they will surely end up with costly lawsuits from the consumers.
If the OFF! spray you have is not the Deep Woods variant, you can rest assured that it won’t help in keeping bed bugs at bay.
Luckily, it’s not just OFF! Deep Woods or any other mosquito repellent with 25% DEET that you may count on. There are many products that you may give a try, too, a lot of which are free of DEET.
Especially if you refuse to apply anything synthetic on your skin, it is a wonderful idea for you to opt for alternatives to OFF! spray and other products that have DEET in them.
Alternatives To OFF! Spray For Bed Bugs
The answer to the question “does OFF! spray repel bed bugs?” is clear — yes, it does repel bed bugs, but only if it’s the Deep Woods variant and not the rest, which contains way less than 25% DEET.
Whether you find the price tag of OFF! Deep Woods (a six-ounce bottle is around $16) a little too high for your budget or you refuse to use topical products that contain synthetic ingredients, fret not.
That’s because there are many alternatives to DEET-containing mosquito repellents that you may count on to save yourself from bed bug bites.
Some very good examples are:
Online or offline, you can easily come across beauty products that contain neem oil.
A naturally occurring pesticide found in the seeds from the fruits of the neem tree, which is native to India and various areas in South Asia, neem oil is considered as one of the most effective all-natural remedies for bed bugs.
Applying hand and body moisturizer or softening oil that contains neem oil before hopping into bed may spare you from waking up the following morning scratching all over.
There is another extremely popular home remedy for bed bugs. It’s none other than lavender oil. In fact, many mosquito repellents, especially for kids, contain it — yes, lavender oil is also effective against other insects.
A bed bug infestation can cause stress and anxiety, especially at bedtime. This can keep you from catching seven to nine hours of Z’s, which is what health experts recommend.
Fortunately, aside from repelling bed bugs, lavender oil can also help you fall asleep, thanks to its scent’s soothing and relaxing properties.
Many chemical-free creams and ointments for insect bites contain peppermint oil. That’s because this naturally existing substance with an unmistakable minty aroma can help deal with inflammation, irritation, and itchiness.
Did you know that peppermint oil can also drive a lot of mosquitoes away, including bed bugs? It works by masking carbon dioxide that you breathe out, thereby making you undetectable to bed bugs.
Unfortunately, if you are not a huge fan of products with a strong minty smell, you may also be repelled by peppermint oil.
Worry not if you are not particularly fond of the powerful smell of peppermint oil. There is another essential oil effective against bed bugs with a milder aroma.
It’s none other than citronella oil. Obtained from a tropical grass native to Asia, citronella is an ingredient found in so many all-natural products for repelling mosquitoes.
By the way, citronella has the same citrusy smell such as orange and lemongrass oil. It’s because of this why the application of citronella oil-containing insect repellent may also lift your mood.
No one really knows how petroleum jelly can keep bed bugs at bay. Some people say that it’s because bed bugs do not like the way that petroleum jelly smells.
However, there is no scientific proof that this is true. Others say that it’s simply because bed bugs are intimidated by petroleum jelly’s stickiness.
Whether it’s the smell or consistency of petroleum jelly that is the reason, the fact remains that a lot of people swear by the product’s effectiveness against bed bugs.
Just Before You Shop for a Bed Bug Spray Repellent
DEET is proven effective in repelling mosquitoes. It can also drive away a few other types of insects, including bed bugs.
However, for DEET to keep bed bugs at bay, it should come in a concentration of 25% or higher. One mosquito repellent that contains enough DEET to make it effective against bed bugs is OFF! Deep Woods.
What makes OFF! Deep Woods capable of saving you from bed bugs is that it contains 25% DEET, which should be the minimum amount of the chemical in a mosquito repellent for it to be able to also work as a bed bug repellent.
Unfortunately, mosquito repellents that contain more than 25% DEET may do more harm than good.
Fortunately, DEET-containing mosquito repellents are not the only ones that you may use to shield your skin from bed bugs.
Feel free to choose any from the all-natural bed bug repellents that we mentioned above.
Pro-tip: Exposing bed bugs to high temperatures (over 120°F) kills them in a matter of minutes. If you want to get rid of bed bugs without calling an exterminator check the best steam cleaners that produce over 300°F on Amazon now.
Can spraying bed bugs with OFF! spray kill them?
Even if the OFF! spray you use contains enough DEET, it can only make bed bugs run away, not exterminate them.
How often should I spray a DEET-based repellent to drive away bed bugs?
It is recommended to spray a product containing DEET every six hours, or according to the manufacturer’s directions.
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