"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Your body soap could attract mosquitoes

May 12, 2023 – After testing 4 popular body soaps, researchers at Virginia Tech found that three brands may give you the option to extend an individual’s attractive odor to mosquitoes, while one soap could also be less preferred by the disease-carrying insects.

The bottom line is that mosquitoes clearly prefer fruity and floral scented soaps and dislike coconut scented soaps. How much they like a soap's scent will depend on how the soap interacts with an individual's natural body odor, the study showed.

According to the researchers, about 60% of an individual's odor is as a result of the soap used, whereas about 40% of an individual's odor is as a result of natural body odors.

The Results were published this week within the magazine iScience.

The soaps tested were Dial, Dove, Native and Simple Truth. They were chosen because they're the popular brands of 53% of individuals within the U.S., the researchers explained.

The fragrance was chemically extracted from 4 volunteers before and after washing with each of the 4 soaps.

Mosquitoes in cages were then exposed to the various scents and their preferences were recorded. The mosquitoes clearly preferred the unwashed scents of some volunteers greater than those of others.

The soaps also affected how attractive someone smelled to the mosquitoes. Dove and Simple Truth soaps were sometimes preferred by mosquitoes, with various results depending on the volunteer. This suggests an interaction between the volunteer's body odor and the soap chemistry, the researchers wrote.

All mosquitoes didn't just like the smell of the Native soap.

“Simply by changing the scent of soap, someone who already attracts an above-average number of mosquitoes could increase or decrease that attraction,” said researcher and assistant professor of biochemistry Clément Vinauger, PhD, in a opinion.

The soaps used, from Dial, Dove and Simple Truth, had fruity or floral scents, while Native smelled of coconut, the researchers reported. They suspected that the scent profile of coconut oil may need a deterrent effect on mosquitoes.

The soaps utilized in the study were: Dial Body Wash Marula Oil, Dove Deep Moisture Nourishing Body Wash, Simple Truth Organic Honey Blossom Baby Shampoo & Body Wash, and Native Coconut and Vanilla Body Wash.

The researchers said they plan to expand their study to incorporate more participants and more sorts of soap, in addition to other scented products akin to deodorants and detergents.