How to Use Mosquito Coil – Complete Guide + 5 Top Picks

Mosquito coils are excellent repellents. Just light it up, set it, and it will do its wonders on knocking off the mosquitoes or keeping it away from your room. Although there are health concerns raised about this product, a lot of households –especially those in the tropics – resort to coils. In this post, we will teach you how to use mosquito coil, its possible side effects, how to limit the adverse effects, and some of the best commercial options.

PIC Mosquito
Repelling Coils
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OFF! Mosquito Coils Check Price
W4W Mosquito
Repellent Coils
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How does a mosquito coil work?

Basically, mosquito coils are flammable matter packed with pyrethroids or other repellents. While burning, the coils release the insecticides which will kill or drive away any mosquitoes nearby.

The main advantage of mosquito coils is it allows you to repel or kill mosquitoes without putting anything on your skin.

Even if the mosquitoes aren’t killed, the smoke from the coils will reduce the biting abilities of the insect. This is helpful so you won’t sustain itchy bites and you can dodge various illnesses brought by mosquitoes.

Still, mosquito coils aren’t set-it-then-forget solutions. Since it’s lit, you have to watch out to prevent any burning incidents. If possible, use an enclosed holder.

How to use mosquito coil

For total newbies who haven’t tried using mosquito coils before, this portion is for you.

Mosquito coils usually come pairs. So the first thing that you have to do is to tear the two apart without breaking the individual coils.

Moreover, start from the middle and gently pry each coil open in different directions. Trace the coil pattern with your pulling motion until the pair is separated.

Once you have the coil, light the tip as if you’re lighting a cigarette. Let the tip smolder and form a small ember.

After that, you should place it on a stable holder or stand. If you’re placing the lit coil indoors, we highly recommend that you use an enclosed holder with holes. This way, nothing will burn accidentally plus your pet won’t get to play with the smoldering coil.

Also, make sure that you use a plate (preferably, metallic) to catch the coil ash. After that, you can place the coil holder on your patio, garden, or living room.

However, we have one strong reminder about indoor use of mosquito coils: always have proper ventilation. Trapping the smoke indoors won’t just make your home smell like a burning pit. It will also cause health problems for you and your pets.

Also, keep the coils away from any flammable materials like curtains, carpets, rugs, paper, and drywall. Aside from that, don’t place mosquito coils under your bed, unless it’s made of citronella and no pesticides.

Over time, the heat from the coils will burn your furniture and leave smoke marks on it.

Where to use mosquito coils

Experts recommend that you use mosquito coil outdoors. However, many households use it as an indoor mosquito repellent as well. There’s no problem to this as long as precautions are observed.

Mosquito coils are also ideal for patios, gardens, decks, and other outdoor areas mired with mosquitoes. Anyway, if you don’t plan to stay within these spots, there’s no need to place a mosquito coil in it. You may disturb the mosquitoes and cause them to seek another harborage – your home.

Mosquito coils vs mosquito sticks

Aside from mosquito coils, you can also use mosquito sticks. Basically, the function is the same, but the ingredients might be different.

Mosquito sticks are usually made of citronella and other natural repellents. So when you light it up, the sticks will release the repellent effect and a citrusy scent. Still, this will produce smoke, so make sure that your room is properly ventilated.

Although mosquito coils may also contain natural ingredients, sticks are deemed to be more eco-friendly.

First of all, mosquito sticks are DEET-free. Also, you can plant the sticks all outside your home during the night, so you’ll have a mosquito barrier.

However, mosquito sticks tend to burn faster than mosquito coils. Also, it only repels the mosquitoes and not exterminate as coils do.

Aromatic vs pesticide coils

There are two types of mosquito coils in terms of ingredients and scent – the aromatic and pesticide coils.

Aromatic coils are made of natural ingredients like citronella, eucalyptus, lavender, and other sources of essential oils. So when you light it up, the coil produces a nice whiff, which will also repel the mosquitoes.

Take note that aromatic coils could also be blended with pesticides. One good example here is the Baygon Lavender Coils.

However, most insecticidal coils are blended to kill mosquitoes, sans the pleasant smell. This is why most of it has the suffocating smell of smoke.

Nevertheless, it’s a matter of personal choice. If you can’t stand the smell of non-aromatic mosquito coils, you can simply diffuse some lavender oil or citrus oil to match the effects of the coil.

Is it effective against mosquitoes?

Yes! We’ve visited tropical countries and camped in outdoor spaces. We know how mosquitoes can be so pesky so mosquito coils are a staple. The smoke itself is enough to drive any small insect away. And since these coils are infused with insecticides, the bloodsuckers will die if they push through the application area

Be it repelling or exterminating the mosquitoes, coils are effective to some extent.

Health concerns about mosquito coils

Over the years, medical professionals have expressed concerns over the use of mosquito coils on households. These are legitimate concerns, though, considering that a lit coil will emit smoke.

Overall, the insecticide content isn’t harmful. In addition, mosquito coils are manufactured with safe amounts of insecticide that’s unlikely to cause serious health problems.

However, the main issue here is the residue it leaves. Moreover, Dr. Sundeep Salvi, the director of the Chest Research Foundation, argued that lighting up one mosquito coil inside a closed room is equivalent to smoking more or less 100 cigarette sticks.

This may sound overwhelming, but you have to note that this scenario is for a ‘closed room’. It means that there’s zero ventilation and the person fully inhales the smoke. Take note that this can happen in your bedroom as you sleep.

Dr. Salvi added that the pyrethrin residue from the coils is bad for the lungs. And even if it doesn’t cause immediate health issues, these substances are still considered as lung irritants.

So should you shy away from using mosquito coils? No.

Like any insect repellent, there’s always a way to balance the adverse effects as well as the benefits.

How to limit the health risks of mosquito coils

One thing that you should check is the registration of the mosquito coil product. Proper registration and certification mean it has been tested for safety.

Also, use mosquito coils wisely. If you’re lighting it up indoors, make sure that you crack a screened window with an electric fan on. Besides, the wind from the fan will disrupt the mosquitoes’ flight.

Safety tips in using mosquito coils

*Don’t place coils beneath the bed or furniture

As we mentioned earlier, never place lit coils beneath any item that could burn. Although the coil is just producing smoke, its tip is still smoldering and may burn the material over time.

*Don’t place coils on baby rooms

As much as mosquito coils are relatively safe, you should never place one inside your baby’s room. Your child will be suffocated and the smoke may have adverse effects on his or her small lungs. Also, always seek the opinion of a pediatrician before using any repellent on your baby.

*Ventilation the area of application

Circulating the air inside the application area or room is necessary for two things. First, it helps disperse the smoke to kill more mosquitoes. On the other hand, it also impedes the flying abilities of mosquitoes.

*Avoid inhaling the smoke directly

No matter how aromatic the coil could be, never inhale the smoke intentionally. This isn’t a steam treatment. You’re inhaling pyrethroids that could irritate your lungs.

*Don’t let kids light up mosquito coils

Never let your children handle mosquito coils, let alone them light and place one. Also, ingestion of the mosquito coil is dangerous, plus your kids may get injured from burns.

Types of mosquito coils

There are two types of mosquito coils, the traditional coil which we discussed here and the smokeless electronic version.

-Traditional coils

Traditional coils are lit manually and work by burning pyrethroids to release its insecticidal effect. It’s commonly used outdoors, but it can also be used indoors with proper precautions. In addition, a single coil can burn for up to 7 hours, giving you longer protection against mosquitoes.

-Smokeless electric coils

On the other hand, there are smokeless electric coils. Basically, this isn’t shaped like a coil, but a small mat inserted into an electronic device. Once plugged, the device will heat the mat and release the mosquito-filling substances.

Top 5 Mosquito Coil Options

If you’re looking for the best mosquito coils, here are our top picks:\

OUR TOP PICK: PIC Mosquito Repelling Coils
how to use mosquito coil

Product Name: PIC Mosquito Repelling Coils

Product Description: The PIC Mosquito Repelling Coils can last for up to 7 hours per piece. Also, each coil covers up to 10 feet of distance, so you’re guarded even if you place it away from your bed or by the bedroom door. It’s perfect for patios and porches, but you can also place it indoors with proper ventilation. Overall, PIC coils are excellent in driving away mosquitoes that bring dengue fever, Zika virus, and other transmittable diseases.

Offer price: $$$

Availability: InStock

  • Burn Time
  • Repellency
  • Value for Money


Each box of PIC comes with 4 coils, but you can purchase it in a bundle of 12, so you have enough supply for weeks.

Just take note that this coil is harmful to bees. So if you’re attracting bees in your garden, it’s best to light it at least 10 feet away.


✔️Lasts for up to 7 hours

✔️Covers an area of 10 feet per coil

✔️You can buy loads of this coil for a small amount


❌Not the best smelling coil (not a biggie)


OFF! Mosquito Coils

how to use mosquito coil

Now, if you’re looking for a good smelling coil that can kill mosquitoes at the same time, your best bet is OFF! Mosquito Coils. It’s the same manufacturer of the OFF! insect repellent lotion.

True enough, this brand has mastered the science of insect repellency. Their coils have a fresh country scent and each piece can burn for four hours. It’s shorter than PIC, but the biggest consolation is the smell, much so if you’re planning to use it indoors.

Moreover, OFF! coils use 0.02% of Metofluthrin as the active ingredient. This substance is safe and effective in warding off the pesky mosquitoes.

Overall, one coil covers an area of 10 x 10 feet. Each box of the OFF! Mosquito Coil comes with 6 pieces or a pocket change.

✔️Comes with a fresh country scent
✔️Each coil lasts for 4 hours
✔️Covers an area of 10 x 10 feet
❌Smaller size than other coils

W4W Mosquito Repellent Coils

how to use mosquito coil

If you’re looking for the cheapest find, we recommend the W4W Mosquito Repellent Coils. For a small price, you can get 20 coils and 10 stands.

The W4W coils are EPA approved and guaranteed to burn for as long as 7 hours. However, the manufacturer advises that you use these coils outdoors. It doesn’t contain DEET, but the coils have a strong smell that could be disadvantageous indoors.

For the best protection against mosquitoes, place one coil for every 10 feet.

Anyway, we just want to warn you about the brittleness of these coils. Avoid dropping the box or pulling the coils apart forcefully. Also, these coils are quite a pain to break apart so you should be willing to sacrifice a few broken coils before mastering the art of pulling it apart.

✔️Burns for up to 7 hours
❌Contains a strong smell and the pieces are more brittle than others


If you’re not into coils, you can also try these mosquito sticks instead. You also have to light it up and let it burn. But overall, they offer better scents, but with a shorter burn time:

Murphy’s Mosquito Sticks

The Murphy‘s Mosquito Sticks are one of the pioneers of its kind. It’s made from the combination of peppermint, citronella, cedarwood, bamboo, rosemary, and lemongrass. It’s 100% natural and each stick can burn for up to 2.5 hours.

Each tube of the Murphy’s Mosquito Sticks contains 12 sticks. Overall, it has a nice scent which makes it more appealing for indoor use. Still, you should ventilate your home well since it still emits smoke.

These sticks repel than kill mosquitoes. Also, it burns up faster than coils. So to make sure that you’re protected, light a few sticks and try to stay as near as possible to it.

✔️Nice scent
✔️Made from 100% natural ingredients
✔️Repels mosquitoes efficiently
❌Burns up faster than coils

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is mosquito coil bad for health?

A: A lot of health concerns have been raised about mosquito coils. Mostly, it’s due to the smoke of the smoldering coil. But overall, it’s safe to use as long as the area of application is well-ventilated.

Q: What is the side effect of mosquito coil?

A: If used properly, mosquito coils don’t have adverse side effects. However, poor ventilation of the application area will lead to respiratory problems like asthma attacks, shortness of breath, suffocation, and more.

Q: Do mosquito coils work?

A: Mosquito coils indeed work. Depending on the formula of the coils, it can either kill or repel the insects.

Q: How do you use mosquito coils?

A: Basically, you have to light up the tip of the mosquito coil until an ember-like smolder forms. You should extinguish the flame. After that, you have to set the coil in a dedicated holder and let it burn for hours. Take note that mosquito coils will have ashes as a by-product.

Q: Can mosquito coil kill cockroaches?

A: Since it’s made for mosquitoes, mosquito coils don’t kill cockroaches. It can somehow repel the bugs and roaches, but scientific proof is yet to be established for this effect.

Final words

Knowing how to use mosquito coil properly will let you enjoy its benefits while minimizing the risks. And if you’re looking for the best option, the PIC Mosquito Coils will never disappoint. Each piece lasts for 7 hours for utmost protection against mosquitoes.

What do you think of our suggestions here? Let us know below!