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Is Your Soap Making You A 'Mosquito Magnet?' Here's What New Study Says

Floral or Fruity: the fragrance of your soap can make you more attractive to mosquitoes, finds a new study.

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Do you feel like mosquitoes always find their way to you? Your soap could be the one to blame, finds a new study published in the journal iScience.

The study suggests the fragrance of the soap you use could potentially make attract mosquitoes.

These scents can attract mosquitoes by supplementing their sugar intake with plant nectar when they are not feeding on blood.
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Soap vs Natural Odour: Key findings of the Study

But first, here's a quick run-through of how the study was conducted.

The study, which was conducted by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Virginia Tech in the US, involved four volunteers.

The distinct scent profiles of the volunteers were examined before as well as after using various kinds of soaps such as Dove, Dial, Native, and Simple Truth.

With this in mind, the researchers put two cups of odour extracts in a meshed cage. The mosquitoes could either make their way to the cup with unwashed scents collected from individuals, or their scents after washing up with soap.  

This process was repeated multiple times with varying combinations of scents.

The study results revealed that specific types of soaps have the potential to increase the attraction mosquitoes have to you.

It was found that over 60 percent of your 'scent' after washing comes from soap rather than your natural body odour.

Thus, researchers believe that there is a lot of chemical interaction between our natural chemicals and soap chemicals.

The study further explained how mosquitoes rely on volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are emitted by plants and animals in order to identify sources of nutrients.

Therefore, fragrances that are fruity or floral in nature, can be especially appealing to mosquitoes.

"The other aspect is that it's not simply adding stuff to our body odour, but it's also replacing some chemicals while eliminating others that are washed away."
Clement Viauger, Study Author
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Which Kind of Soaps Are Safe to Use?

Of all the combinations of scents the researchers experimented with, it was found that 3 out of 4 soaps were found to increase mosquito attraction.

While soaps that were used had a floral or fruity scent, thereby increasing the attraction, it was found that coconut-scented soap decreased attraction.

Overall, despite the interplay of natural fragrances and soap scents, researchers concluded that this isn't the sole factor. There are several other factors that impact the attraction mosquitoes feel towards an individual.  

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Mosquito   Mosquitoes 

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