Do Dryer Sheets Repel Bugs?
Mosquitoes are one pest that can ruin a summer evening in the outdoors. You have a few choices when it comes to keeping these pesky creatures at bay. If you are not a fan of commercial products containing DEET, it is good to know that you still have some options when it comes to enjoying your summer in peace.
Dryer sheets are one of the ways that people claim repels mosquitoes, bed bugs, and gnats, but do they really work, or is it just a myth?
Do Dryer Sheets Repel Mosquitoes or Bed Bugs?
The claims are that dryer sheets repel mosquitoes. How are dryer sheets used to repel insects? All you have to do, supposedly, is tuck them around your collar, put them in your pockets, or your sleeves or socks. At present, it is hard to find any studies at all that have examined whether dryer sheets work against mosquitoes.
Studies found that dryer sheets containing certain compounds seem to repel gnats, and it was automatically assumed that they would repel mosquitoes, too. This is not necessarily the case, as gnats and mosquitoes are completely different insects.
The ingredient that is suspected of repelling mosquitoes is linalool, which was found to repel German cockroaches, spotted mites, English lesser grain borer, rice weevil, and Mexican bean weevil.
The National Center for Biotechnology found that linalool beat citronella as a mosquito repellant, but they also found that the compound geraniol was the most effective. Geraniol is found in lemongrass, coriander, blackberries, oranges, cilantro, carrots, and ginger.
Lemongrass is the most common commercial source of it. It might be noted that linalool is an ingredient found in some commercial mosquito repellents.
Just planting these plants in your yard will not repel mosquitoes. The oils in them must be concentrated for them to work. There are a lot of myths surrounding this, and we will explore why this is so later.
Dryer sheets seem to be the latest home remedy touted for getting rid of bed bugs. There has been no evidence to back this claim. Bed bugs are immune to some of the chemicals found in dryer sheets.
Bed bug removal experts don't recommend using dryer sheets to fight bed bugs because it only results in the bugs looking for another place to hide. If you are dealing with a serious bed bug infestation, you should get in touch with a pest control professional as soon as possible.
Are Some People More Attractive to Mosquitoes than Others?
One thing to consider is that mosquitoes are attracted to certain people more than others. It is not necessarily because you are tastier, and several studies shed some light on what makes certain people more attractive to mosquitoes than others. Female mosquitoes have a proboscis that can sense carbon dioxide more than 150 feet away. It turns out that breathing attracts mosquitoes.
It also turns out that mosquitoes are attracted to sweat and the ammonia, uric acid, and lactic acid released by bacteria on human skin. The more you sweat, the more likely mosquitoes will come for a snack.
A Japanese study found that those with type O blood are more likely to get bit than those with type A blood. Metabolism and genetic makeup have also been found to affect the frequency of mosquito bites in some people.
Most oils that are said to repel mosquitoes do so by masking the smell of these by-products of the human body. That is why they lose their potency after a time and must be reapplied. You also have to consider the motivation of the mosquito.
The female mosquito needs your blood to breed, and this makes them focused on finding you to complete their mission. They have evolved to become highly efficient at finding you, and this cannot be said about other insects that are repelled by the linalool in dryer sheets.
Do Dryer Sheets Get Rid of Gnats?
The ability of dryer sheets to repel gnats has been a topic of study for some time. The study was published in the Journal of HortScience in 2010. To conduct the experiment, the researchers set up two large plastic containers. They connected these to two smaller containers. One of the containers contained a piece of a dryer sheet, and the other did not.
The researchers released fungus gnats into the containers, which is the most common type that bugs us in the garden or woodlands. Two days later, they found that the gnats like to be in the containers that did not have dryer sheets. They repeated the experiment several times, and each time they got the same results.
It might be noted that 18% of the gnats moved into the compartment containing the dryer sheets and seemed perfectly happy to hang out there, so it is not 100% effective.
The researchers decided to take the evidence that dryer sheets repel gnats a little further. They analyzed the dryer sheets to see if anything in them might act as a gnat repellent. They found that the linalool in dryer sheets was more than likely what repelled a majority of the gnats.
Linalool, found in lavender and basil, is toxic to some insects. They also found beta-citronellol, a component of citronella, might have been responsible for some of the repellant activity.
It seems that there is some evidence that oils in dryer sheets repel gnats, but there still have not been any studies to see if the same holds true for mosquitoes or bed bugs. Also, it is not known at what distance it works. You also have to consider that, just like any other type of bug spray, natural or chemical, the scent might fade over time, making it less effective.
Dryer sheets are better at repelling gnats, but not completely. Their effectiveness at repelling mosquitoes is largely based on an educated guess. This educated guess would only work if linalool and citronella effectively repelled many different types of insects, which is not the case.
Unfortunately, regardless of whether it is true or not, the highly-tuned sensory organs of the mosquito seem to be a formidable foe against any of our best efforts to hide from them or repel them.
The verdict on dryer sheets is that some contain linalool, which is marginally effective as a mosquito repellent, but there are a few other things to consider. The first is that people who claim that dryer sheets work might be fortunate souls who have a body chemistry that is not as likely to get bit.
Another thing to consider is that some brands might contain more linalool than others do. Linalool disperses quickly into the atmosphere, which might limit the length of time they are effective.
When it comes to you against nature, it seems that dryer sheets are not a guarantee that you will not be a target for mosquitoes. They might be marginally effective in some cases. Unfortunately, other substances emitted from your body might override the effects of the dryer sheets. Support for bounce dryer sheets as a mosquito repellant are only antidotal, at best.
Knowing what we know about what attracts mosquitoes to us, we will never know if the dryer sheets were the repellent or other factors. Either way, there are still some people that claim that it works for them, so at the very least, it is worth tucking a few in yfour pockets or socks that next time you go out. At least it will not hurt anything, and you will at least keep most of the fungus gnats away.