DEET-Based Products
What is a DEET-Based Product?

DEET has a long history of consumer use dating back more than 50 years. It is one of the most studied consumer products on the market today, with an extensive collection of safety and efficacy data.  Gone are the days of store shelves with nothing but greasy products that had a medicinal odor.  Today’s repellents are available in floral scents, pleasant woodsy scents, or unscented. 

  • Products are available as aerosols, sprays, creams, and towelettes.
  • Concentrations range from 5% to 100%.  In the U.S., experts suggest that 30% is sufficient.  In areas of the world where Zika, malaria, yellow fever and other endemic diseases are a threat, travelers are often encouraged to protect themselves with repellent.  See Mosquito Bite Prevention for Travelers.

  • There are sweat-resistance aerosol products available, as well as products that are available in “dry” formulations.  There is a sustained release product that will provide protection for up to 12 hours against mosquitoes, even though it has a 35% concentration.
  • Expiration dates are not required to appear on repellent labels.  Consider replacing products that have been open longer than three years.  If you have further questions on product expiration, please contact the product manufacturer.  Most companies that formulate DEET-based products provide a toll-free number for consumers, which can be found either on the label or the manufacturer’s website.


What Do The Experts Say About DEET?

The American Academy of Pediatrics issued guidance in 2003 on the use of DEET-based repellents, noting that children as young as two months of age can use repellents with up to a 30% concentration. This should help to reassure parents that their youngsters can use these products with confidence.