After giving it a test, we found that Wondercide Insect Repellent checks all the boxes.
At one point in time, insect repellent companies had us believing harsh chemicals were the only way to combat bugs, especially mosquitoes. But we've opened up our eyes to the implications of those substances, and realized there are safer, less harmful natural alternatives that do the same thing.
Wondercide is an Austin, Texas-based company that's taken that notion and ran with it. Their Wondercide flea and tick control formulas put them on the pet lover's radar, and if our experience is an indication, their insect repellent is what's going to push them into the mainstream.
I got a chance to try out the DEET-free, aromatherapy-based scents, in a variety pack meant to be completely safe for people of all ages. In other words, it keeps our youngest family members in mind while providing something useful for adults, too. They're made in the USA from food-grade ingredients, using only the highest-quality essential oils.
And they do all that with no harmful chemicals, artificial colors, fake fragrances, or synthetic pesticides.
That's the kind of pest control anyone can get behind.
Wondercide Insect Repellent
Wondercide has a few different scents they base their insect repellents off of, and I received a Scent Sampler to try out. It included Cedar, Lemongrass, Rosemary and Peppermint, meant to help you "find the right scent for you and your Pack."
The Sampler came in a pleasant display box with one-ounce spray bottles of each of the four scents.
I knew this would fit the bill for my wife, who's taken on the responsibility of finding and using the safest chemical-free, natural products in our home ever since the first of our two boys came along. She also loves spending time outdoors with them, and where we live in Central Texas, mosquitoes can be a serious concern.
My testing process was admittedly unscientific, but the results nonetheless stand for themselves. I made sure to use it in a preventative manner several times, as well as a few times in response (meaning I waited until I could see or feel some skeeters before applying). Biting bugs, plus annoying gnats and no-see-ums, were kept at bay with both uses.
There's actually science at work here too, and we can thank the cedar oil in each of the scents for that. I'll let Wondercide themselves explain what's at work:
Cedar oil affects octopamine, which is essential to life for pheromone-driven pests (like fleas and ticks) as it is responsible for regulating heart rate, movement and behavior in insect pests. Cedar oil blocks the octopamine neurotransmitter receptors in pests, causing pests to be repelled from the area. When contacted, pests suffocate and die.
Plus, it won't mess with beneficial insects, and only put the kind of pest pressure those annoying bugs deserve.
I wanted to give it the chigger test, but I just couldn't make myself take the risk. I hope I'm excused. If I ever find myself covered in Wondercide with a buddy who gets bit by chiggers, I'll be sure to report back.
I also knew passing the kid test was important (but also difficult to keep exact), so I took what info they could provide with a grain of salt. Still, my boys typically don't hold back opinions, and they seemed to like this stuff just fine.
My youngest, who's 3, was a little turned off by the Cedarwood scent, and my oldest claimed the Peppermint smelled like my toothpaste, but those were the only remotely negative things they could muster up.
Otherwise, it was all thumbs up from the kids.
And what about the wife? I can safely say they passed her test too.
The fact that no active ingredients were anywhere near her danger scale meant a lot. The inert ingredients didn't scare her away either. Just for reference, Wondercide lists them as thus: water, polyglyceryl oleate, glycerin, sodium chloride, ethyl lactate, sodium citrate, citric acid, and vitamin E.
She had less to worry about when the outdoor areas she wanted to be in just happened to be teeming with mosquitoes. That's pretty valuable in her book.
It's worth noting that a little bit goes a long way, and your skin doesn't need full coverage for Wondercide to work. The small pump sprayer produces a finer mist than most mosquito spray cans, which actually works in your favor.
None of the scents were overwhelming, it provides long lasting protection, it didn't feel sticky on my skin, and I even gave it what I dubbed the "lip test." I sprayed my arm with the Lemongrass scent and gave my skin a little smooch. I know that a DEET-based bug spray would instantly make my lips numb, a nice reminder of the harmful stuff that's used in the formula. No tingling or numbing occurred when Wondercide touched my lips. I guess that's to be expected seeing as it's made from nothing but food grade ingredients.
Though I haven't tried a ton of different types, I'd say this Wondercide bug spray is the best natural mosquito repellent using an alternative to DEET that I've come across. It certainly smells better than the others I've had experience with, and it works wonders.
And finding a method of mosquito repellency that my kids don't mind and my wife eco-friendly loves is tough. I think I've found one.
Going Above and Beyond
Whenever I test out a company's products that I'm not all that familiar with, I like to do a little homework and learn what I can about the brand and their story. Doing that with Wondercide is like eating from a bottomless bucket of movie popcorn. The good stuff just never seems to run out!
As a recent example, Wondercide is teaming up with Dog is My CoPilot, a nonprofit organization helping save at risk pets by flying them to different locations and relieving the burden on overcrowded shelters. Wondercide has committed to helping the organization in 2021, ensuring up to 250 pets find a forever home with flight sponsorships.
Also, a percentage of proceeds from the Wondercide Holiday Sampler Box, which will feature a set of four trial sizes of their signature Natural Flea & Tick Pets + Home, an Indoor Pest Control Sampler, or the same Insect Repellent Sampler, will go towards benefiting the partnership. The sampler box will be available for sale online starting on October 26, 2020 and can be purchased through the end of the year.
If you're one of the first 250 purchasers, you'll receive a one-of-a-kind, custom-made magnet from Dog Is My CoPilot, commemorating your involvement in this noble cause.
You've got to give the nod to a company that goes above and beyond. That's the kind of stuff that helps brands stand out.
As far as campers and wilderness-lovers go, Wondercide Natural Insect Repellent is an obvious choice. If you're hunting and concerned about deer or other animals picking up your scent, well, it might not be your best option. But that's not necessarily Wondercide's target demographic.
They're more concerned with winning over families who spend time outside, especially parents that care about what they're subjecting their kids to. We have enough reason to not use certain chemical-based stuff that's rightfully getting phased out, but finding the replacements that actually perform is the most important part.
When I was reading up on Wondercide products, I learned that it was a 2016 appearance on "Shark Tank" that helped really spark their burgeoning business. If their success since then is any indication, the brand is headed for even more recognition.
In my opinion, it's well deserved.