Deet - Pros and Cons

Deet Information

When it comes to protection, nothing beats DEET at repelling mosquitoes! It also offers extended protection from ticks, flies, fleas, chiggers and more. Developed by the US army during the 1940's for use in areas with high populations of biting insects, this product has stood the test of time and offers unrivaled protection under the toughest conditions.

So why even consider alternatives like Picaridin or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus? There are several drawbacks to DEET.

1) DEET can cause skin irritations and rashes. While most of these side effects are minor there have been very rare instances or neurological side effects and fatalities (thought to be due to individual sensitivity to the product). Take care not to get DEET products in contact with broken skin, in your eyes, or on mucous membranes. It is also toxic or potentially fatal if swallowed.

2) DEET can't be used on young children. DEET shouldn't be used at all on children under age 2 and should be used in concentrations no greater than 10% on children under 13.

2) DEET melts some synthetics. It can ruin your shoes, glasses, watch, clothing, and other vinyl or plastic materials.

3) It smells bad! Many people would rather put their health at risk from insect bites than use DEET repellents because they don't like the feel or smell. Picaridin and Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus are more pleasant alternatives which may encourage these people to protect themselves.


DEET repellents are highly effective and proven protection against mosquitos, ticks and other insects. There are some disadvantages to using it however, which make Picaridin repellents an attractive alternative.

Recommended Deet Repellents