Why TikTok Warns To Stay Away From Crate & Barrel's Stylish Mosquito Coil Repellent

Dealing with mosquitoes is one annoying thing that comes with enjoying good weather. Cracking the window open is great to let in fresh air but it also gives them a way to come in. In the same way, sitting outside or camping allows you to enjoy the air and some sun, but it leaves you exposed. Mosquito bites can cause skin irritation and infections in serious cases, not to mention the disturbance when you're just trying to sit in place. Whether indoors or outdoors, it's crucial to have a dependable mosquito-repellent strategy to keep them at bay.

Whether you have to deal with them year-round or just in the summer, mosquito management is always a hassle, and a big part of the challenge is finding a repellent strategy that is effective and reliable. From body sprays to coils, there are many options out there, and the new hanging outdoor citronella mosquito coil from Crate & Barrel has joined the list. It costs between $18 and $43 based on size, and if you want the holder included, and it has a stylish form and pleasant scent. Though it seems like a promising product, the responses to Crate & Barrel's TikTok post criticize its efficacy — many users also seem to think it's overpriced.

Users claim it isn't really effective

It is a common belief that the citronella plant, through its oil or scent, is a very effective mosquito repellent. So citronella candles or essential oil mixes can be used just like commercial repellents. However, it isn't that straightforward. Citronella does work to keep mosquitoes away, but how well it works really depends on how it is used, the amount, and even how sensitive a given person is to mosquito bites. A high level of citronella content means more efficacy, but that isn't common with the typical repellent product.

Crate & Barrel's coil is modeled on flat coils that have been around since the early 20th century, which today contain either citronella oil or pyrethroid insecticides. Crate & Barrel's version is conical, but both work in the same way: Slowly burn the coil from the end to release mosquito-repelling smells and other essential oils. Ideally, you can have it on for a long time while sitting outside. When we weigh this description against the way that citronella works, we think that the coil might be releasing too little of the scent to be a powerful contender against the aggressive nature of mosquitoes. The reviewers on the product page also say that it doesn't hang properly, the threads don't allow it to unfold all the way, and it breaks easily, which isn't ideal considering the price you pay for it. A small coil with the coil holder runs $43, and the large coil starts at $40.

There are better options for dealing with mosquitoes

If you specifically want a mosquito coil, many TikTok users in the comments on Crate & Barrel's post recommend going for the standard, old-school coils because they work the same and are much cheaper. They can cost as little as $3, like this PIC four-pack sold by Home Depot. You should also note that mosquito coils are more effective when combined with other methods like repellent body spray or mosquito nets. For sprays, you can choose from the many commercial products out there like OFF!, which contains the chemical DEET, or make your own homemade mosquito repellent. All you need is some distilled water, essential oil, and rubbing alcohol. 

For nets, we like RYB HOME nets that can be used to stylishly cover the porch or patio. You can get them on Amazon in black or white ranging from $26 to $50 based on the size you get. It's about the same cost as Crate & Barrel's coils, but you don't have to keep replacing them after every 18-hour use.

Even changing your exterior paint colors can help. By adding yellow, blue, and white to your patio, your color choices can repel mosquitoes because they won't be attracted to them, as a 2022 study published in Nature found their sense of smell to be linked to their vision. Another technique to repel mosquitos is to plant plants with strong scents around your outdoor space like lemongrass, garlic, sage, lavender, and of course, our friend citronella.