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EPA-Registered Insect Repellent

Computer-generated image of an orange spray pump bottle with an icon of the mosquito on the front with a red circle and line through the mosquito. The bottom of the bottle has text reading "EPA Reg. No. 1234-567" with an arrow pointing to the text.
Registered products have a clear (but usually SMALL!) label indicating the EPA registration number, which is sometimes shortened to "EPA Reg No"

Protect yourself from mosquito bites

Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective.

Registered repellents have an EPA registration number on the package, which is a simple way to check to see if a particular product is registered.


Common repellent ingredients in EPA-registered products

Common ingredients include:

  • DEET (note: this is not DDT, which was an insecticide banned in the US in the 1970s)
  • Picaridin
  • IR3535
  • Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (note: this is not the same as lemon eucalyptus essential oil)


Read the label

Computer-generated image of (from left to right): an orange squeeze bottle with a little sun on it, meant to represent a bottle of sunscreen, with text below that says "Step 1: Apply sunscreen", then a black shadow outline of a person with two layers of dotted colored lines around the body (meant to represent putting on a layer of sunscreen and then a layer of insect repellent), on the right is an orange spray pump bottle with an icon of a mosquito covered by a red circle with a line through the mosquito, underneath reads "Step 2: Apply repellent over sunscreen"

Check the label of any product for:

  • An EPA-registration number.
  • Any age restrictions (some products should not be used on very young children).
  • Whether the product works against mosquitoes or ticks, or both.
  • How to apply - read the whole label to understand the instructions before using the repellent.
  • How long the product will work, and how often to reapply.

Learn more at:

When using sunscreen and repellent, apply sunscreen first and then repellent. Sunscreen should be applied at least every two hours, while most insect repellents need to be applied much less frequently.  Combination sunscreen/insect repellent products are not recommended.


Computer-generated image of an orange spray pump bottle spraying liquid onto a yellow long sleeve shirt and blue long pants.
Permethrin is meant to be applied to clothing PRIOR to wearing the clothing.

Do you hike, camp, or spend a lot of time outdoors?

You may be interested in a product called permethrin. Permethrin is effective against mosquitoes and ticks. You can apply to clothing and gear before using. Permethrin products are not meant to be applied directly to skin. As with any product, always read the entire label to understand the instructions before using permethrin.




Page last reviewed: April 21, 2024

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