Certain body wash products may make consumers more attractive to mosquitoes

By Austyn King | Published: 11-May-2023

Dove, Native, Dial and Simple Truth body washes were tested by researchers at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Certain types of body wash may make consumers more likely to be bitten by mosquitoes, scientists have discovered.

It comes after an investigation by researchers at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, who tested Dove, Native, Dial and Simple Truth products.

Researchers used nylon strips to obtain volunteers’ natural odour, before washing their forearms with one of the four body washes to collect the second sample.

When placed inside a cage containing female mosquitoes, the insects appeared to land most frequently on the samples from participants that had used the Simple Truth body wash.

Dove and Dial body wash also appeared to increase the participants’ attractiveness to mosquitoes, according to the findings published in the iScience journal.

Native, however, appeared to provide a repellent effect, with the mosquitoes more likely to avoid strips that had been washed with this scent.

“Our study highlights the importance of the interaction between the specific soap chemicals and the body odour of each person in determining whether a person would become more or less attractive to mosquitoes after applying soap to their skin,” said Clément Vinauger, lead author of the study.

Analysing the chemicals, the research team believed that the compounds benzaldehyde, benzyl benzoate and γ-nonalactone could repel mosquitoes.

This could present opportunities for personal care brands to develop products with mosquito repellents, the scientists said. 

Some 725,000 people are thought to die from mosquito-borne diseases every year, according to figures from the World Health Organization.

You may also like