When you hear the term, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), you probably think of an essential oil that’s not very effective against mosquitoes. However, oil of lemon eucalyptus, is not an essential oil and is the only plant-based ingredient recommended by the CDC. In this article, we’ll explain what oil of lemon eucalyptus actually is, how it compares to DEET and picaridin, and the effectiveness of Murphy’s Naturals products.

What is oil of lemon eucalyptus?

Oil of lemon eucalyptus is a natural, plant-based substance that’s been proven to repel mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects. Commonly confused with lemon eucalyptus essential oil, OLE is extracted from the leaves of lemon eucalyptus trees and enriched for an active ingredient called para-menthane-3,8-diol (PMD), which is the main ingredient in OLE that repels insects.

On the other hand, lemon eucalyptus essential oil is different from oil of lemon eucalyptus, as it’s distilled from the leaves of lemon eucalyptus trees and features a few chemical components, such as citronellal, which gives citronella oil a distinct lemon scent.

Benefits of Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus

In addition to preventing mosquitoes, here are some other benefits of oil of lemon eucalyptus:

  • Recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): OLE is the only plant-based ingredient recommended by the CDC and, according to a CDC report, when oil of lemon eucalyptus was tested against mosquitoes in the U.S., it provided a similar level of protection to repellents containing DEET. The CDC doesn’t recommend lemon eucalyptus essential oil because it hasn’t gone through testing for safety and efficacy and isn’t registered as an insect repellent.
  • Repels mosquitoes that carry diseases: Oil of lemon eucalyptus can repel mosquitoes and ticks that transmit diseases, such as Zika virus, West Nile virus, and Chikungunya virus, Lyme disease, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF).
  • Approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): According to the EPA, OLE products are not expected to cause harm to humans or the environment.
  • Is long-lasting: OLE repels mosquitoes for up to six hours and ticks for up to four hours.
  • Doesn’t leave behind greasy residue: Unlike other bug repellents that leave you feeling sticky and greasy, oil of lemon eucalyptus is non-greasy and sprays on dry.
  • Harvested through sustainable practices: Murphy’s Naturals supplier, Citrefine®, only includes the original essential oil components found in the eucalyptus citriodora oil during the harvesting process.

How Oil of lemon eucalyptus compares to other products:

You’re probably wondering how effective oil of lemon eucalyptus is compared to other mosquito repellents on the market, such as DEET and picaridin. Below, we’ll compare OLE to these two alternatives and break down the effectiveness of each product.

Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus vs. DEET

Developed by the U.S. Army in the 1940s, DEET, also known as diethyltoluamide, is one of the most common active ingredients in insect repellents. It’s a yellowish oil that’s typically applied to your skin or clothing to protect against mosquitoes, fleas, chiggers, ticks, and other biting insects. This synthetic chemical is used in a variety of insect repellent products, including lotions, sprays, and sticks. .

If you’re looking for analternative to DEET, OLE is a great option. This natural product works well at concentrations of 30% and is just as effective and long-lasting as DEET, except it doesn’t leave behind a sticky and greasy substance and isn’t harmful to gear or the environment.

Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus vs. Picaridin

Picaridin, also known as icaridin, is a synthetic compound that’s derived from the natural compound piperine, which is found in pepper plants. This odorless, non-greasy substance can be used on skin or clothing and can repel mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, chiggers, and other biting insects. Picaridin is not a plasticizer and can be used on plastics and other synthetic materials.

OLE is similar to picaridin in that it doesn’t leave behind a greasy residue. Additionally, picaridin products with a concentration of 20% are similar to OLE products with concentrations of 30%. However, OLE is a natural product and doesn’t contain any chemicals and is just as effective at repelling mosquitoes as picaridin.

Why choose Murphy's Naturals for mosquito repellent:

For those looking for a natural alternative to chemical mosquito repellents, look no further than Murphy’s Naturals. With a mission to celebrate nature and inspire good through natural products, Murphy’s Naturals offers a variety of natural mosquito repellents that can protect you all year long. From Lemon Eucalyptus Oil Insect Repellent Spray to Mosquito Repellent Balm Sticks and Mosquito Repellent Candles, Murphy’s Naturals provides effective products that contain quality natural ingredients.

All of Murphy’s active ingredients in its mosquito repellents are from the EPA’s 25b list, which consists of natural ingredients that the EPA has approved to be safely used in natural products. 

In line with Murphy’s Naturals’ desire to be the leading outdoor lifestyle brand in natural products, each product features the following characteristics:

  • Natural products that actually work: Murphy’s Naturals measures the effectiveness of its products by using a high concentration of active ingredients in each product, measuring how long a product provides protection for, and considering customer feedback.
  • Made with plant-based ingredients: All of Murphy’s products use plant-based ingredients and typically include essential oil blends that are often overlooked by other manufacturers.
  • Focused on celebrating nature: With an emphasis on sustainability, Murphy’s Naturals is intentional about every step of the manufacturing process, from the packaging of its products to sourcing materials.
  • Each purchase gives back: For every Murphy’s Naturals product sold, 2% of the revenue generated goes to goodwill and environmental organizations.

Not to mention, Murphy’s Naturals has been B Corp Certified since 2015 and has key partnerships with Climate Neutral, Grove Collaborative x Plastic Free Initiative, rePurpose Global, and Compost Now.


Jennings Ridout