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The best bug sprays for your skin — and your wallet


Beth Marcinko,

Every summer, I get eaten alive by mosquitoes as soon as I step out the door — so an effective bug spray is a must!

Bug sprays to look for this summer

Consumer Reports has tested a variety of bug sprays to determine the most effective. While the test mainly measured how long the spray protected against mosquitoes, it also factored in whether damage was done to other materials the spray might come into contact with. Bonus: The sprays tested were found to be as effective on ticks as the were on mosquitoes!

Read more: Powassan virus: How to protect yourself from this rare but deadly tick-borne disease

The ratings chart based on the test results also gives info on price and what the active ingredients are.

Consumer Reports’ top three:

  1. Total Home (CVS brand) Woodland Scent Insect Repellent
  2. Off! Deep Woods Insect Repellent VIII Dry
  3. Repel Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent

The top-rated Total Home by CVS also happens to be one of the most cost-friendly choices at $1.17 per ounce.

The number three-ranked Repel is the only one of the “excellent”-ranked repellents that is plant-based. However, the study also suggests that DEET and picaridin are generally the most effective active ingredients.

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