Stop Mosquitoes in Their Tracks with this Surprising Kitchen Staple

Mosquito at Sunset

Written by Gerald Dlubala

Updated: October 27, 2023

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Mosquitoes have to rank near the top when thinking of insects that immediately ruin an outdoor event. The constant slapping, stomping, itching, and scratching among guests can, at times, resemble a new TikTok dance trend. But you can stop mosquitoes in their tracks with a surprising kitchen staple that’s probably already in your pantry. Stop those mosquitoes and keep them away with a few creative uses of cinnamon. And get everything smelling good in the process.

many mosquitoes on insect net wire screen close up on house window

Stopping mosquitoes can seem like a full-time job during the summer months.

Does Cinnamon Stop Mosquitoes?

The short answer is yes. We know cinnamon as a common, flavorful, and pungent spice with many food-related purposes. But this surprising kitchen staple also contains compounds that can stop mosquitoes in their tracks.

Yes, really. These mosquito-deterring compounds include cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate, copane, camphor, eugenol, and anethole. When used in high doses, these compounds have a biocidal effect that destroys mosquito larvae and can prevent egg-laying functionality.

Mosquitoes detect their target by their sense of smell. The strong fragrance emitted by cinnamon directly affects the sensitive nervous system of mosquitoes, distracts them from their intended target, and encourages them to steer away from the treated area.

Cinnamon is available in various forms. Each form is useful in repelling mosquitos and other pests. We’re all familiar with cinnamon sticks and ground cinnamon, but did you know that cinnamon oil is highly successful as well?

Cinnamon Sticks

Cinnamon sticks can work against mosquitoes as well as other types of bugs and insects. Carry one in your pocket, or dangle one from a neck chain. You might want to attach one to a cap or hat for personal protection.

Bundled cinnamon sticks look fine bundled together and set on patio tables or inserted into flower arrangements. For a stronger presence, drop a cinnamon stick into the melted wax of a burning candle, allowing the increased scent from the warming wax to permeate the surrounding air.

Combine the cinnamon stick with a citronella or lavender candle to add an extra layer of deterrence. A bolder move is to light the actual cinnamon sticks and release a bit of smoke with the fragrance to further deter pests in the immediate area.

Whole cinnamon sticks positioned in strategic areas indoors are another way to deter insects and pests. Places like window sills, doorways, or under sinks or basins are good choices to put cinnamon sticks to deter or reduce the presence of annoying pests in your home.

closeup saigon cinnamon sticks

Common household cinnamon is key to making a non-toxic pesticide to stop mosquitoes.

Ground Cinnamon

Ground cinnamon powder is perhaps the most recognized form of cinnamon while also being the most convenient. Ground cinnamon possesses a powerful, permeating, and rich fragrance that affects the sense of smell for many insects, including mosquitoes. The aroma is disruptive and causes the mosquitoes and other insects to clear the area and stay away.

Ground cinnamon also works as an indoor pest deterrent. Sprinkle the ground cinnamon powder around known damp areas or standing water to significantly reduce the presence of mosquitoes, larvae, or their eggs. Mix cinnamon with dirt, sand, or your favorite potting soil for use around the home and garden to discourage pests in those areas.

closeup ceylon cinnamon sticks

Ground cinnamon is the easiest way to get it into your soil and potting mixes.

Cinnamon Oil

Cinnamon oil is perhaps the most effective way to use cinnamon against mosquitoes. It contains cinnamaldehyde and cinnamyl acetate, both toxic to many household pests, including mosquitos. Cinnamon oil is, in effect, a pesticide. It’s gentle and non-toxic to humans but has the natural ability to make large populations of mosquitoes scatter and eliminate their larvae and eggs.


Use cinnamon oil spray for gentle, non-toxic mosquito and insect repellant.

Making DIY Cinnamon Oil to Stop Mosquitoes (And More)

A quick search will lead you to a variety of cinnamon oils for purchase. But with a little planning, you can make your batch of cinnamon oil for use around your home. By using various sizes of jars and cinnamon sticks, you can make as little or as much cinnamon oil as you think you will use.

Put whole cinnamon sticks into an airtight jar. Cover the cinnamon sticks with household olive oil, or another oil like peppermint or lavender. Make sure to submerge the sticks in the oil. Close the jar tight and place in a dry area that receives moderate light, making sure to regularly shake or agitate the solution.

After at least four weeks, strain the oil and store it in another airtight jar. Your cinnamon oil is ready for use. Use it by putting drops on cotton balls or other materials to locate near problem areas, or add a few drops of the oil to water to make a sprayable solution for pests in and around the home.

essential oil based mosquito repellent

Use cinnamon oil in drops or spray for mosquito and other insect relief around your home.

Cinnamon Helps Deter Other Household Pests

Although we’ve covered how cinnamon can stop mosquitoes in their tracks, it is also a deterrent for other common household pests and insects.

  • In the garden. Just 20 drops of cinnamon oil mixed with two cups of water will provide an excellent, all-natural, non-toxic, indoor and outdoor pesticide spray for your garden, planter boxes, and flower pots. The solution sprayed around and in your garden will help prevent harmful garden pests like aphids. Additionally, mix ground cinnamon right into the soil to discourage those pests that live or lay eggs in the soil in gardens, raised beds, or flower pots.
  • The use of cinnamon oil’s ingredients like cinnamaldehyde and cinnamyl acetate are toxic to other household pests. The oil can also be used in air fresheners and diffusers to deter ants, spiders, wasps, flies, and fruit flies. Additionally, because the oil is gentle, it can be applied to the skin for use as a bug deterrence.
  • Ground cinnamon repels bugs because of its fragrance, but also because of its texture. The texture of the ground-up spice irritates bugs and encourages them to leave the immediate area. The strong fragrance is a deterrent to ants, spiders, wasps, and even bedbugs.
Tetramorium immigrans ants foraging

Cinnamon use around the home also deters many common household bugs and insects.

Using cinnamon in various forms in and around your home can put up a solid barrier to many of life’s little pests, all while adding a familiar fragrance to your home’s aesthetic.

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About the Author

Gerald Dlubala is a writer at A-Z Animals where his primary focus is on animals, plants, and places. Gerald has been writing for over 25 years and holds a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Gerald has shared his home with numerous pets, including dogs, cats, a variety of fish and newts, turtles, hermit crabs, rabbits, and a flock of birds. Gerald enjoys all animal and plant life and looks at every day as an opportunity to learn something new about the world around us.

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