Review: Greenerways Organic Bug Spray

Posted on June 14, 2012 by Mickey

I’ve dealt with mosquitoes before. I’ve been places where you skip the whole idea of chemical repellants and go straight for physical barriers; nothing ruins a meal like trying to eat pasta through a head net.

But those experiences were always in places where the scenic payoff made enduring the evil bloodsuckers worth it. Never in my own backyard. The lady and I recently took up residence in our first home, and no one told us that the premises were already occupied, heavily, by the winged disease-spreaders (Hello? Seller’s disclosure?) Like building a porch weren’t already challenging enough.

I’d already been liberally applying a years-old bottle of Deep Woods Off when I happened upon a bottle of Greenerways Organic Bug Spray while making my inaugural tour of Natural Foods Warehouse (literally the closest store to our home; lucky us!) While I have the utmost faith in the ability of Deep Woods Off to keep the skeeters at bay, I’m not a fan of covering myself in DEET with too much frequency (related note: When I worked for the Park Service we had these bottles of repellant that contained 75% DEET. I used it once and I’ll never forget the unnatural, oily feeling of that stuff on my skin. I couldn’t get it off fast enough. Deep Woods clocks in at 25%, and that’s plenty.)

Like many purportedly “natural” bug sprays, the Greenerways employs Citronella oil as the active ingredient, along with a bit of Lemongrass oil and Cedar oil. If nothing else, this makes it smell way better than its toxic alternatives. I’d actually call it pleasant.

But does it work? The stuff could smell like a fresh-cut field of Brad Pitt’s shampooed locks (is he wearing it long these days?), but if the bugs are still biting it’s just so much perfume. Verdict: I think so? Yeah, I wish I could be definitive, but the fact is I’m still working on my confidence level. I’ve gone the natural route with bug sprays before and been burned (or bitten), so I’m having a hard time just spraying and forgetting. I’m constantly checking my legs and swatting at imagined invaders. But this stuff seems to be working. I’ve watched the mosquitoes get a little closer than they might with DEET, but they seem disinterested in landing and having a go and I guess that’s a win.

I do have a solid criticism of The Greenerways stuff, though: I feel like the bottle sprays too fine a mist. With any breeze at all I had a hard time getting anything onto my skin; it would just blow away. Moving the pump nozzle closer helped but then I felt like I was missing spots. If you can get it on, the bugs just may stay away.

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If It Doesn’t Smell, Don’t Wash It


According to Real Simple, if every American made an effort to launder less — cutting out just one load of laundry a week per household — we’d save enough water to fill seven million swimming pools each year.

So if it looks clean, and it smells clean, call it clean and wear it again. Consider hanging worn clothes out on your clothesline to freshen them up between wearings.

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