Study: Mosquitoes love the smell of these types of soap

A recent study revealed that the smell of soap can make you a more attractive target for mosquitoes, as mosquitoes in the study tests preferred the smell of volunteers who showered with three out of four popular soap brands tried.

Researchers have discovered that mosquitoes are attracted to soap, just as they are attracted to human odor, justifying this by saying that when they do not feed on blood, they are replaced by eating sugar from nectar.

Clément Fenoger, who led the work at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute, said: "It's like waking up and smelling something like coffee and cake together. It's very attractive."

The study indicated that the effects of soap vary between people, due to the interactions between soap and the smell of each person.

"It is remarkable that the same person who is very attractive to mosquitoes before washing, can become more attractive to mosquitoes using one soap, and then become repellent or disgusting to mosquitoes with another soap," the researcher added.

The study, published in the journal iScience, recruited four volunteers who provided cloth samples they wore as a sleeve while not washing or after washing with four different types of soap — Dial, Dove, Native and Simple Truth. Female mosquitoes – only females feed on blood – have been observed landing on tissue specimens to give an indication of their preference. The fabric was used instead of exposing the volunteers themselves, to rule out the effects of exhaled carbon dioxide, another important indicator of mosquitoes.

Washing with Dove, Dial and Simple Truth increased the appeal of some, but not all, volunteers, while washing with genuine soap tended to repel mosquitoes.

Scientists said the relatively repellent effect of natural soap could be related to the smell of coconut, as there is some evidence that coconut oil is a natural deterrent to mosquitoes.