Best Gnat Repellent for Humans: Gnat Bug Spray

Let’s get to the point.

Probably, you’re looking for the best gnat repellent because you’re going outdoors or on a trip. But, if you’ve gnats in your bathroom, then this article (getting rid of gnats from the bathroom) is more helpful to you.

Gnat bug repellents are not expensive; you can buy them for a few dollars.

But, the striking questions that come to our mind are.

Should I buy a DEET based insect repellent? Are there any harmful effects of DEET on the human body?

What about Natural or Chemical-Free bug repellents? Are they effective?

Which product repels gnats for the longest time? And, it should not feel like oil on my skin.

I won’t waste your valuable time.

I’ve shared almost everything that you want to know before using any bug repellent on your body.

So, keep reading.

I Recommend…

I recommend that you read the whole article, and then make your decision. But, if you don’t have enough time, then here you go.

If I you’re going on a trip, then I’ll recommend you to take two products along with you.

These are Sawyer Premium Picaridin Insect Repellent and Sawyer Premium Permethrin Clothing Insect Repellent.

These look similar to you, but they’re totally different.

The first one, Sawyer Premium Picaridin Insect Repellent will keep the bugs away from your skin. Yes, you have to apply it on your skin, and it’ll keep the gnats & other bugs away from you for 8 hours. Consumer Reports reviewed it as one of the most effective bug repellers.

While, the second one, Sawyer Premium Permethrin Insect Repellent not only repels insects, it also kills them on contact. Use it on your gear, tent, and clothing, but it is not for skin. For skin, you’ve the Picaridin product (the first one).

Good thing is, it lasts for 6 weeks that means for 6 weeks, you don’t have to worry about any bugs. And, after drying, it becomes odorless.

Don’t worry about the price, these are cheap & affordable.

Personal Tip: You can choose any repellent (Natural or DEET or Picaridin), but I highly recommend that, along with any of them, you should also purchase Sawyer Premium Permethrin, as it’ll give you protection for 6 weeks, that is far more than any other. Choose any one repellent for your skin, and the Permethrin based for gear & clothing.

On Amazon, you can also read the specific reviews of people who used Sawyer Premium Picaridin to repel gnats, that’ll be very helpful.

Gnats on Pets (Especially on Dogs)

getting rid of gnats on pets

In the below, I’ve shared that you should not use your gnat spray on your dog. These products can cause health problems to your pet.

If you want to get rid of gnats from your dog or any other pet, then use a pet-safe insect repellent.

All Terrain Natural Pet Herbal Armor is a good insect repellent that is made only for pets. This is DEET-free and GMO-free.

The key ingredients in this herbal spray are Peppermint, Cedar, Citronella, Lemongrass, Geranium, and Soybean.

It is effective; however, cats may not like it because of Citronella present in it.

Ingredients (DEET vs. Picaridin vs. Permethrin vs. Natural)

Ingredients in Bug Repellents

Nowadays, four types of insect repelling sprays are popular. These contain:

  1. DEET as an active ingredient
  2. Picaridin as an active ingredient
  3. Natural Ingredients (Chemical Free)
  4. Permethrin as an active ingredient

You should know the effectiveness of these ingredients in repelling bugs, and also the effect on humans & pets.

DEET based Repellents

DEET (chemical name, N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) is an active ingredient in various pest repelling products. Generally, it’s used to repel biting pests like mosquitoes, ticks, and others.

DEET is designed to repel insects, it does not kill them. When you apply a DEET based repellent on your skin, then it makes hard for biting bugs to smell you.

Repelling gnats with DEET

Another thing that you should note that, if a product contains a higher percentage of DEET, then it means, it’ll last longer, and give protection for a longer time. It does not mean that, a higher concentration of DEET will repel more insects.

Is DEET Safe to Use?

In 1998, EPA completed a comprehensive study of DEET. They concluded that the insect repellents containing DEET as an active ingredient do not present a health concern.

However, consumers are advised to read & follow the instructions and label directions while using any pesticide or repellent.

They concluded that the normal use of DEET does not cause a health concern to the general population, including children.

In 2014, EPA completed an interim review under the Registration Review Program to ensure that whether DEET continues to meet our safety standards, based on our current scientific knowledge.

They still believe that the normal use of DEET doesn’t cause a health concern to the general population, including to the children.

According to, when using it on children, you should pay attention to its concentration. You should not apply it on babies less than 2 months. While for children, use a repellent having DEET between 10% to 30%.

DEET can be used on the exposed skin, clothes, shoes, & socks, but should not be used on the face, near cuts, irritating skin, and in under clothing.

So, with that, we can say that the normal use of DEET as a gnat repellent is safe for the general population. However, people with super sensitive skin may see a little side effects.

Effectiveness of DEET against Insects

DEET was developed by the U.S. Army in 1946, and by considering its effectiveness as an insect repellent, in 1957, it was registered for use by the general public.

There is no doubt, DEET based products are highly effective, and they repel the biting insects away from you.

Most Effective DEET based Gnat Repellent

Even, if you do research on your own, then you’ll find that Repel 100 Insect Repellent is one of the most effective gnat repellents.

However, in the description, they only mentioned that it works on mosquitoes. They just didn’t mention that, it also effectively repels gnats, ticks, biting flies, fleas and chiggers. As, DEET repel all the biting insects, not just mosquitoes. You can confirm that by looking at the product image.

So, if you’ve decided to go outdoors with a DEET based gnat bug repellent, then, as per my personal choice, Repel 100 Insect Repellent is the best choice for you.

Picaridin Based Insect Repellents

Picaridin is a synthetic compound that was first made in the 1980s. It effectively repels insects, chiggers, gnats, and other insects. It was made to resemble a naturally occurring compound called piperine, which can be found in the plants that are used to produce black pepper.

Since then, Picaridin is a popular insect repellent in the Australia and Europe, and, since 2005, it also available in the United States.

It works similar to DEET. It doesn’t kill insects; it just blocks them from sensing you.

Is Picaridin Safe to Use?

According to Health Center of Indiana University, there are various studies that show that Picaridin is highly effective, yet safer and contains fewer unpleasant qualities than DEET.

It is odorless, and it doesn’t feel oily on the skin.

In the normal use, Picaridin doesn’t cause any health concern.

Is Picaridin Effective?

Yes, Picaridin is an effective insect repellent.

Repel Gnat Bugs with Picaridin Products

There are studies that show that, it is as effective as DEET, when used at the same strength.

Most Effective Picaridin Based Gnat Repellent

The best Picaridin based gnat repellent is Sawyer Premium Insect Repellent.It is available in many different sizes, so you can choose one according to your size requirement.

It contains 20% Picaridin, and it effectively repels mosquitoes, gnats, biting flies, chiggers, and ticks. This Sawyer Premium product provides 14 hours of protection against mosquitoes & ticks, while 8 hours of protection against gnats, chiggers, biting flies, and sand flies.

So, if you want to purchase a Picaridin based product, then there is nothing better than Sawyer Premium Insect Repellent.

Natural Ingredients Based Gnat Repellents

These are the chemical-free pest repellents. They don’t have chemical pesticides like DEET or Picaridin.

In most of the natural gnat repellents, you’ll find the combination of naturally occurring products like Lemongrass, Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Citronella, Clove, Geranium, and a few others.

Is Chemical Free Repellent Safe to Use?

Yes, absolutely.

The main purpose of manufacturing such chemical free repellents is that, they’re free from any harmful effects of chemical pesticides.

These sprays are comparatively safer than the other repellents.

Another advantage they have over the chemical products is that, they have a refreshing scent. They smell good, and even some products can be used on pets also.

Effectiveness of Natural Repellents

There are some studies that suggest that insect repellents manufactured from natural ingredients are not as effective as DEET or Picaridin.

They may smell good, but they provide less protection as compared with DEET or Picaridin.

These repellents last for the shorter amount of time. You’ve to reapply the natural products 2 to 3 times, while DEET or Picaridin based product will give you the same result with only 1 application.

But, if you want a safer way to repel bugs, then you can choose these types of products. These are not like the waste of money. These are comparatively less effective.

If you reapply 2 to 3 times, they’ll work great.

Most Effective Natural Gnat Repellent

When it comes to repelling gnats, my favorite natural product is Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Insect Repellent.

On this product, the Company didn’t mention that it also repels gnats. If you go to Amazon, then you’ll think that, why I mentioned it as an effective natural gnat repellent. Even, the Company didn’t say anything about it.

I don’t know, whether they forget to mention or any other reason. But, the main thing is, this is the most effective natural gnat repellent.

I know, you should not use any product on your skin without knowing if it works or not. So, just search gnats in the reviews section of this product and it’ll show you the number of users who used this product as a gnat repellent. You can also click on this link that’ll lead you to specific reviews that are written after using this product for repelling gnats.

This product has a refreshing scent, and it contains oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.

It is used by thousands of people and it’s very cheap, therefore, you should also try it at least once.

Insect Repellents Based on Permethrin

Permethrin is an insecticide that comes from the pyrethroid family. Permethrin was re-registered with the United States EPA in 2006 followed by 1979.

Permethrin is a chemical compound that can kill insects if they touch or eat it. It affects their nervous system, and can lead them to death. It is more toxic to insects as compared to the humans and dogs.

Permethrin Gnat Repellent

But, cats are more sensitive as compared to humans and dogs towards this chemical. Therefore, it’s advised that, the products containing Permethrin as an active ingredient should be used away from the cats, and those products should never be used on cats. Permethrin can be toxic to cats.

Is Permethrin Product Safe to Use?

The Permethrin should not be used directly on the skin.

The best and safe way to use it as a gnat repellent is to spray it on clothing, tent or gear. If you spray it on your skin, then it can cause harmful effect to you, according to the sensitivity of your skin.

Is Permethrin Effective?

Yes, it is highly effective.

The other products (DEET or Picaridin or Natural) only repel insects, but the Permethrin products really repel them and also kill them on contact.

Therefore, do not use it directly on your skin. Use it on your clothing, tent or gear.

Most Effective Permethrin Based Gnat Killer Spray

Sawyer Premium Permethrin Insect Repellent & Killer is the most effective Permethrin based product.

This product should be applied to clothing, and it’ll protect you from various kinds of mosquitoes, gnats, chiggers, ticks, and mites for up to 6 weeks.

It becomes odorless after drying.

It’ll last for up to 6 weeks, and it won’t damage plastics, outdoor gear, finished surfaces, and there’ll be no stains on clothing & fabrics.

Sawyer Permethrin Insect Killer is a good product to create a barrier between you and insects.

Best Gnat Repellent Reviews

The below are the best gnat repellent to keep you safe.

Repel 100 Insect Repellent

No doubt, Repel 100 Insect Repellent is one of the best gnat spray bug repellents on the market.

If you’re going outdoors, then you need a product like this that repels various kinds of bugs. It gives a strong protection from mosquitoes that can spread diseases like Zika, Dengue, & Chikungunya. Not just mosquitoes, it effectively repels chiggers, ticks, fleas, and also biting gnats repellent.

It contains 98.11% percent DEET formula that is responsible for its bug repelling effect.

If you’re going outdoors like hiking, then you wouldn’t want to reapply the repellent on your body again and again. Repel 100 solves this problem. It gives you 10 hours of protection from various kinds of bugs, whether you’re facing a mosquito problem, or you’re getting annoyed with the gnats, this product will deal with them.

Note: This is one of the most effective gnat bug sprays that you can find online. But, a lot of people don’t buy it because they just look at the product description on the top. And, unfortunately, the Company didn’t mention that it repels gnats also. They only talked about mosquitoes. A lot of people think that, it only works on mosquitoes. But, this is not true. If you see the product image, further scrawl down the page, or even look at the customer reviews, you’ll find that, how effective this product is in gnat repelling.

Repel 100 is designed for easy handling & portability. They only sell up to 4 oz. pack. They designed it for the outdoors, so you can easily keep it in your bag.

It works great.

But, there is a catch!

It’s too oily. Some users also relate it with like; you’re rubbing paint on your body. It also doesn’t smell good. You’re not going to like its smell.

Even, some users suggest that, go to the balcony or outdoors for spraying it on your body. When you’ll rub it on your body, you’ll not like the smell, and then you’ll love your decision that before spraying, you come outdoors in the fresh air.

As it contains 98.11% DEET, therefore, the Company recommends that you should keep it out of the reach of children.

I’ll not suggest you use it on kids. However, use it on their clothes is okays, but don’t use it on their direct skin. If you want to use a DEET based insect repellent, then use one that contains DEET less than 30%. As mentioned earlier, a high percentage of DEET doesn’t mean, it repels more insects, it means, it’ll last longer.


  • Highly Effective, repels various kinds of bugs like gnats, mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, biting flies, & chiggers.
  • Gives at least 10 hours of protection.
  • Available in small size, portable and easy to handle.
  • Cheap & Effective. Price will not be the issue for you.


  • Feels Oily & doesn’t smell good.
  • Not a good choice if you want a product for children.

The Conclusion

As mentioned earlier, according to a study done by EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), DEET doesn’t cause any harmful effect on normal usage. That makes it safe to use.

It is very effective, and will give you at least 10 hours of protection.

If you are going outdoors, then Repel 100 Insect Repellent is a great choice for you. Its scent is not good and it feels oily, but in just a few minutes, you’ll be habitual of it. So, personally, I think, smell & oily feel are not a deal breaker.

Don’t forget, it’s very cheap. Before making a choice, you should take a look at the thousands of customer reviews of Repel 100, that’ll help you a lot.

Check Price & Reviews of Repel 100 on Amazon

Sawyer Products Premium Insect Repellent with 20% Picaridin

Sawyer Premium Insect Repellent is a gnat bug repellent that contains 20% Picaridin, instead of DEET. This is the best bug spray for gnats.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the active ingredient Icaridin (or Picaridin) as the product of choice for the malaria prophylaxis. This is also the first choice of Public Health Agency of Canada’s Canadian Advisory Committee on Tropical Medicine & Travel for the travelers in the age of 6 months to 12 years.

The active ingredient Picaridin is odorless & doesn’t feel oily on skin, this is a big advantage over DEET because a lot of people refuse DEET products just because they’re very oily and have a strong unpleasant scent.

Even, there are some studies that show that when used at the same strength, Picaridin repel insects as effectively as DEET.

The Sawyer Premium Insect Repellent effectively repels mosquitoes that can transmit Yellow Fever, Zika Virus, and other insects like gnats, chiggers, biting flies, and others.

After applying it once, the lotion will give protection against mosquitoes for up to 14 hours, while against gnats, flies, & chiggers, it’ll give you 8 hours of protection.

In the February 2016 edition, Consumer Reports reviewed Sawyer Insect Repellent as the Fisherman’s Formula in their list of effective & safe bug repellents.

It doesn’t feel like, you’re applying oil on your body. It doesn’t have any unpleasant smell like DEET, it has a citrus odor that’ll evaporates when it dries.

It is safe to use on your whole family, and it won’t harm your backpacks, sunglasses, watch, clothing, or other synthetic fabrics.

But, when applying it on your skin, then you have to be careful. It can cause moderate eye irritation, so avoid getting contact with eyes. After getting contact with eyes, hold your eyes, and gently rinse with water for about 15 to 20 minutes. If swallowed, then call a physician or a poison control for the treatment advice.

It has fewer harmful effects as compared to DEET, but still, it can be dangerous, so make sure, to keep it away from the reach of children.

How to Apply

As we know, it can cause eye irritation and can cause problems if swallowed. Therefore, when it comes to applying on the face, then don’t spray it on your face. This way, the spray can affect your eyes, nose or ear. The proper recommended way is to first spray it on your palms, and then gently apply it on your face & neck. Don’t apply under clothing.

After handling it, make sure you thoroughly wash your hands.

The Company recommends that, you should not exceed two application of this spray per day.

With Sawyer products, you’ll have two options. You can use a lotion or a spray. But, which is better?

It is very easy to apply the lotion on your body as compared to spray. But, when it comes to protecting your clothing & gear, then spray is more suitable than lotion.

So, I’ll suggest you to purchase both lotion & spray.


  • Effectively repel gnats, mosquitoes, ticks, and other bugs.
  • Gives 8 hours of protection against gnats, while 14 hours against mosquitoes.
  • Available in small size, and easy to handle.
  • No unpleasant scent.
  • Does not feel like oily.
  • Cheap & Affordable.


  • When it comes to repellent for gnats, it repels them for 8 hours, that is 2 hours less than the DEET based Repel 100.

The Conclusion

This is a good choice if you want a cheap yet effective gnat spray that doesn’t have any unpleasant scent. Even, it doesn’t feel like you’re rubbing oil on your skin.

But, if you have no problem with a oily product or unpleasant scent, the only thing you want is longer protection against gnats, then you should go with Repel 100 Insect Repellent as it keeps away the gnats and other bugs for 2 hours longer than the Sawyer Products.

With thousands of positive reviews on Amazon, I’ll suggest you that, you should give it a try, if you have never tried any Picaridin based product.

Repel HG-24109 Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Insect Repellent

Repel HG-24109 Lemon Eucalyptus gnat bug repellent contains oil of Lemon Eucalyptus which is the only plant based ingredient that CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends for bug control.

It has a cool refreshing scent. Initially, the odor may be strong, but it dissipates.

The oil of Lemon Eucalyptus provides protection against insects just similar to the products containing lower concentration of DEET.

If you check the product page of Repel HG-24109 then you won’t find anything that tells you “it works on gnats”.

Simply, the Company forgets to mention that it also works great in repelling gnats and other bugs. But, they just didn’t mention anything about it.

After my research I found that, Repel HG-24109 is one of the most effective natural gnat bug repellent. There are also some other products that work well, but Repel HG-24109 is my favorite.

The best way to find out whether a product is good enough to buy is to check its reviews. So, just go to the reviews section & search “gnat” in the search bar, and you’ll find the specific reviews of people who purchased that product as gnat repellent. If you find difficulty in finding specific reviews, then use this link, specific reviews about gnat repelling of Repel HG-24109.

Whether you’re repelling gnats, mosquitoes, flies or other bugs, it’ll give you 6 hours of protection against them. It is comparatively lesser than the DEET (10 hours) & Picaridin (8 hours) based products.

Some people complain that it works well but, when they’re sweating, it doesn’t last long. They’ve to reapply after every few hours.

This EPA registered personal insect repellent is good against gnats, but unfortunately, it is not the strongest one out there.

To be more specific, this DEET-free product is good in areas where the bug infestation is low. But, if you’re going in the severe insect conditions, then you should not use it on the place of DEET or Picaridin based products.

You can use the pump spray to use it on your gear, don’t worry it won’t harm your gear. To apply it on your face, spray it on your hands, and then apply it to your neck & face.

The Company also says that it is safe to use on 3 years and older children.

This product is designed only for human use. Do not use it on your pets because the pets will try to lick it off and it can be harmful to their eyes, nose, and overall health.


  • Plant based repellent. No nasty chemicals.
  • Cool refreshing scent.
  • Doesn’t feel like you’re putting oil on your skin.
  • Repel gnats and other bugs.
  • Safe to use on children above 3 years of age.
  • Lasts for 6 hours.
  • Cheap & Affordable.


  • Just provides 6 hours of protection which is very less as compared to Picaridin (8 hours) and DEET (10 hours).
  • If you’re sweating, then you’ve to reapply after every few hours.
  • Not very effective in heavy bug infested areas. It is good for places where the infestation is low.

The Conclusion

Repel HG-24109 is a gnat repellent spray that is for the people who want a natural bug repeller.  It is DEET free, and doesn’t contain other harmful chemicals.

But, the huge disadvantage of this product is, it lasts for only 6 hours. There are many users who complain that, when they’re sweating, they’ve to reapply after every 1 or 2 hours.

Also, in heavy bug infested areas like rainforest, it is not very effective. You should not substitute it for DEET or Picaridin based product.

So, if you’re looking for a natural product for general use in home or outdoor activities, which you can also use on children, then Repel HG-24109 is a good choice.

Sawyer Premium Permethrin Insect Repellent

This Permethrin based product not only repels bugs, it really kills gnats, mosquitoes, chiggers, and more than 50 other kinds of insects.

It is as effective as 100% DEET based product.

The repelling and killing effect of this Sawyer product will last for approximately 6 weeks, and it won’t damage your gear, plastics, or any other finished surfaces. It also doesn’t cause any stains on fabrics & clothing.

But, before making a purchase, you should know that it should not be applied on skin. It is only designed to use on clothing, tents, and other gear. But, not on skin.

You may think,

What happens, if I use it on my skin as a repellent, will it work for 6 weeks?

No, it is not a good idea.

First, applying it on your skin can cause irritation, and other health problems.

Second, if you’re not sensitive towards Permethrin, in that condition also, it won’t help you. The Company uses the same ingredient that found in hair shampoos for head lice. Within 15 minutes, human skin will break down Permethrin after getting into contact, and then, it won’t repel & kill bugs.

It becomes odorless after drying, so there is no need to worry about bad scent.

It is not toxic to humans and dogs, but bewares; do not use it on cats. Cats are more sensitive towards Permethrin, and therefore, it is recommended that you do not even apply it near cats.

How to Use It?

It is not for skin. It’s for outdoor gear and clothing.

So, use it on your clothing, tent, and other outdoor gear. It’ll create a barrier between you and insects.

For extra protection, you can use an insect repellent based on DEET or Picaridin or just natural, depends on you. This way, Permethrin will repel and kill insects even before they reach you. And, if they reach you, you’ll have your repellent applied on your skin.


  • Highly effective in repelling & killing insects.
  • Gives 6 weeks protection.
  • Becomes odorless after drying.
  • Cheap & Affordable.


  • Can’t be used on skin.

The Conclusion

It’s really an impressive product that gives a long 6 weeks of protection against various insects.

But, the only disadvantage with it is, you can’t apply it on your skin. For that, you have to purchase a product that you can apply it on your skin. Along with it, you can use another Sawyer product that is Sawyer Picaridin Insect Repellent. You can use it on your skin, and it’ll give protection for 8 hours against gnats and other bugs.

This Sawyer Permethrin based product can be used on your clothing, tents, sleeping bags, and on other things. Then, you don’t have to worry for the next 6 weeks.

The Final Words

If you reached this far, that means, now you know almost all the important things about gnat sprays.

Whatever is your choice, make sure, to keep them away from children.

Most of them are tested in ideal conditions, but the wrong usage can lead to harmful effects on your body. So, I highly recommend that you read all the instructions before use, and take some general protective measures against mosquitoes and other bugs.

Dinesh Kumar
Hello, I'm Dinesh. I have 4 years of experience in dealing with pests. I try to provide you the best information that'll help you to make the pest control process easy & affordable. In recent years, I've helped hundreds of homeowners to protect their home from pests like bed bugs, cockroaches, fleas, house flies, snakes, rats and other pests.

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