Nothing dampens the great outdoors quite like the buzzing, bugging and bites of mosquitos. Often bothersome and sometimes deadly, a scourge of mosquitos is a surefire way to ruin a summer's day.
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While dozens of electric zappers, citronella candles and insect sprays promise to keep bugs at bay, a new study suggests a mosquito-free summer could be as easy as swapping out your soap.
In a study published in the iScience journal, researchers found that coconut-scented soap could be the secret to repelling mosquitos.
"It's remarkable that the same individual that is extremely attractive to mosquitoes when they are unwashed can be turned even more attractive to mosquitoes with one soap and then become repellent or repulsive to mosquitoes with another soap," said senior author and neuroethologist Clément Vinauger.
Volunteers in the study washed with four brands of soap — Dial, Dove, Native and Simple Truth — to see how each scent impacted the mosquitos' preferences. The researchers found that washing with Dove and Simple Truth increased the attractiveness of some (but not all) volunteers while washing with Native's Coconut and Vanilla Body Wash tended to repel mosquitoes.
"I would choose a coconut-scented soap if I wanted to reduce mosquito attraction," Vinauger said.
"I would choose a coconut-scented soap if I wanted to reduce mosquito attraction."Clément Vinauger, senior author and neuroethologist
Another reason to go nuts for coconuts? The iScience journal is not the first scientific publication to herald coconut as a bug-repellent.
In a 2018 study, USDA researchers found that the fatty acids derived from coconut oil had long-lasting insect-repelling effects against flies, ticks, bed bugs and mosquitoes.
The report concluded that compounds derived from coconut oil repelled some insects better than DEET, which is often considered the gold standard of insect repellents.
So, is coconut-scented soap the secret to a mosquito-free summer? There's only one way to find out. It's time to go nuts for coconuts.