Best and worst anti-mosquito products in test by French consumer group

The best product scored 16.8 out of 20. The test comes amid record cases of dengue fever

A view of a spray bottle with an anti-mosquito symbol on it
The highest-scoring repellent scored 16.5 out of 20, while the least-effective products failed to score even 10

The best and worst anti-mosquito products on the market in France today have been ranked in a new consumer survey, as fears grow over tiger mosquitoes and dengue fever this summer.

The magazine 60 Millions de Consommateurs tested the effectiveness of 15 anti-mosquito products, including creams, lotions and sprays. The results varied considerably.

All 15 products tested were: 

  • From the brands Cinq sur cinq, Insect Ecran, Autan, Puressentiel, NeoBulle, or Moustifluid

  • Mainly in spray form

  • Based on IR3535 (ethyl N-acetyl-N-butyl-ß-alaninate) or DEET (N1, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), or were natural-based


The products were tested and given a score out of 20.

The best scorers were:

  • Cinq sur cinq spray famille 100 ml: 16.8 out of 20. 

  • Moustifluid spray haute protection pour zone à risque: 16.4 out of 20.

  • Mousti KO: 15.5 out of 20. 

Products from two brands scored less than 10 out of 20: MoustiCare and NeoBulle

The magazine also said that the best protection against mosquito bites is still to wear long sleeves and trousers, to use fans, or hang mosquito nets (especially over your bed at night).

Read also: Tiger mosquitoes: How you can help stop their spread in France 

Read also: Tiger mosquitoes in France: where, what risk and what to do 

Smell and protection duration

Products with IR3535 tend not to have a smell, while DEET-based products and natural repellents can smell strongly.

The duration of protection was found to vary considerably.

The magazine states that:

  • All IR3535-based products tested protected for more than eight hours 

  • Of two products containing 20% concentrated IR3535, the first protected for just over 11 hours, and the second lasted for 8.5 hours

Some products vary in protection duration depending on application and the geographical area. For example, one product said it would protect for 16 hours, but the small print stated that this required two applications. 

Similarly, another said that it protected for eight hours in “at-risk areas”, but this was reduced to seven hours in “tropical zones”. 

The protection duration for products based on natural repellents were much more variable, it found.

Pregnant women and children should avoid stronger products

The magazine recommends that pregnant women and children should avoid stronger products made with IR3535 or DEET. 

The products do not present a severe risk, it said, but it suggests the measure as a precaution.

Plastic risk

The magazine reminds consumers that DEET has the unfortunate ability to dissolve plastic. 

This means that contact lenses, plastic watch faces, small gadgets, glasses rims and arms, and synthetic clothes are all at risk of damage if they come into contact with the product.

People are strongly advised to wash hands after spraying DEET products, never to spray and then touch your eyes, and to apply as carefully as possible to avoid damage to personal items.

Tiger mosquito spread

Tiger mosquitoes - which can carry diseases including dengue fever - are now in all regions of France, and there were 601 cases of dengue reported in mainland France from May 1 to June 18, 2024, alone. 

Read also: Dengue fever cases continue to rise in France

Read also: Tiger mosquitoes: dengue fever cases identified in south-west France 

Tiger mosquitoes are smaller than ‘regular’ mosquitoes, and do not make the same ‘buzzing’ noise. 

They are also more active in the mornings and early evenings, whereas other mosquitoes tend to bite the most at night. Yet, they are just as susceptible to effective anti-mosquito methods.

Spray risk

The Haut Conseil à la Santé Publique recommends that people - especially children - use lotions or creams as opposed to sprays, as sprays present an inhalation risk and can be more difficult to apply, it states.

What anti-mosquito products or methods work best for you in France? Let us know at