Q. I read your column on killing mosquitoes with isopropyl alcohol spray. I have a remedy that works better and is fireproof, unlike alcohol.

Try Listerine. It kills them DEAD. I also put it in a spray bottle and spray it around the picnic tables and chairs to keep mosquitoes and bugs away.

A. Thanks for the tip. Another reader also had success with Listerine as a repellent.

We heard about an even more unorthodox method of killing bugs: “A better way to kill insects is ordinary hair spray. Most households already have it, and the spray is sticky. It makes the wings of flying insects unusable and seals the breathing orifices to suffocate the insects.

“It is water-soluble so it can be easily wiped up with a damp cloth and leaves no stain on curtains or wallpaper. I’ve used it on wasps, ants, roaches, etc. I chase flying insects to a window and spray them on the glass pane, then clean up with a wet paper towel.”

Keep in mind that hairspray is flammable and should never be used around an open flame.

It's almost Black Friday at The People's Pharmacy!

Black Friday at People's Pharmacy 2017
View Specials Now

Get The Graedons' Favorite Home Remedies Health Guide for FREE

Join our daily email newsletter with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies AND you'll get a copy of our brand new full-length health guide — for FREE!

  1. Thomas. edTwoodzz
    Crystal Beach. humptruck infia

    That’s what mama said. Vitamin B1 is us as is good for stippling the skeeters.

  2. Hd100

    Hi 100mg each day. Start taking a few weeks before you think you will be subjected to insects. I have found this dosage level is only available at good herbalists. You need the high dosage so that when you sweat the excess B1 is secreted.

    • linda

      in Europe the dosage is 300 mg 3 times a day. I lived in Switzerland since I was a child and every summer all the pharmacies have a HUGE mosquito by the cash register to remind you to buy your B1! I loved it when I was small it had a red light on the stinger. LOL and you do not have to start before as it is a water soluble vitamin and it leaves in the water NOT absorbed into the fat to keep for a long time.

  3. nw

    I have used hairspray with great results on wasps. The hair spray stiffens their wings and they drop to the ground usually immediately of getting sprayed. It doesn’t kill them but immobilizes them so you can then get the fly swatter. But make sure you get a good hairspray in an Aerosol can. The kind that just lightly mists them and does not shoot far does not work as well.

  4. RS

    As far as wasps. wasp nests, spiders and such, I have used just a spray-bottle of ordinary soap-water solution, and when they fall to the ground due to wet wings, just step on them! (or on a window-sill, squash them with a fly-swatter or paper towel). =D There’s a sense of satisfaction when you have a whole nest of them floundering on the ground to step on, and no chemical spray residuals bad for you to worry about! =D

  5. John H

    We put Listerine in a spray bottle and it is an effective insect deterrent. 100%? Of course not – nothing is. But about as good as DEET, cheaper and I’d bet fewer side effects.

  6. elaine g.

    I would love to try Vitamin B1 but do not know correct dosage. I have sick little Bichon with Cushings and hate to use any more chemicals than necessary.

  7. M

    Interesting stuff. The other day I used Raid to kill a wasp in my house. I suppose hairspray is a lot healthier for our lungs. But would hairspray, alcohol, 409, etc. be strong enough to make it so the wasp would not fly around a bit and sting you? Does anyone have experience to know it quickly disables them?

  8. hg

    You may also be interested in the fact that vitamin B1 given to animals like cats and dogs repels fleas so one doesn’t have to use toxic chemicals to keep them flea free. I’ve read some reviews that it does not work, but most reviews and my own experience say that it does. You can get it in the form of little tablets or “treats” that they eat right up or you can crush them and sprinkle it on their food. I was skeptical, but it works for my animals.

  9. EK

    Alcohol and Listerine damage paint on walls and furniture. Another way to deal with mosquitos is 409 or some other cleaner designed for paint but kills all bugs.

  10. RMD

    I like the Listerine approach much better than the Hair Spray. Any one who has used Hair Spray, knows it will leave a definite residue on all surfaces, especially marble and tile. In addition, having come from a family of Hair Dressers, the ultra fine mist of Hairspray can get into your lungs and over time cause problems. I suppose airborne sprays like, Listerine and Alcohol can cause problems also if inhaled, but the extremely fine particles that aerosol hairspray generates along with the it’s “sticky” nature pose an added health threat, particularly to asthmatics as well as others with lung problems.

    • TF
      New York

      I used hairspray throughout my entire teenage life (hey, it was the 80s) and my mother hated the sticky residue it left all over the bathroom sink. Having said that, I always have a bottle handy now that I do not hesitate to use if a big, nasty fly gets in the house. For mosquitoes on my porch, I think I’ll try the Listerine tip.

  11. abigail

    The alcohol we usually have around the house is only 70%. The 91% strength is available at most drug stores and is more effective against insects.

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted.

Your cart

Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.