Traditional Venezuelan Insect Repellent: Coffee and Clove Method

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During the summer months, insects can become a major nuisance, driving people to seek effective and natural solutions for pest control. One traditional method from Venezuela utilizes common household items—coffee grounds and cloves—to create an effective insect repellent. This guide will explain the step-by-step process to make this repellent at home.

Materials Needed:

  • Thick napkin or paper towel
  • Ground coffee
  • Whole cloves
  • Toothpaste
  • Matches or lighter

Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Napkin: Start by laying out a thick napkin or paper towel on a flat surface and smoothing it out to eliminate any wrinkles.
  2. Add Coffee and Cloves: Place a small pile of ground coffee in the center of the napkin. Add a few whole cloves on top of the coffee. The cloves are essential as they contain eugenol, a compound known for its insect-repellent properties.
  3. Roll the Napkin: Carefully roll the napkin into a tight roll, ensuring that the coffee and cloves stay in place within the center of the roll.
  4. Apply Toothpaste: Coat the exterior of the rolled napkin with a thin layer of toothpaste. The toothpaste helps to keep the roll intact and also contributes to the repellent properties when burned.
  5. Ignite the Ends: Using a match or lighter, ignite both ends of the rolled napkin. Allow the flame to burn for a few seconds before blowing it out. The ends should smolder rather than burn with a flame.
  6. Create Smoke: The smoldering ends will produce smoke, which is what repels the insects. Place the smoldering roll in a heat-resistant dish or ashtray to prevent any fire hazards.
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How It Works:

The combination of burning coffee grounds and cloves produces a smoke that is effective in repelling mosquitoes, wasps, and other insects. The smell of the smoke is unpleasant to many insects, driving them away from the area. This method is particularly useful during outdoor activities such as camping or barbecues.


  • Natural and Chemical-Free: Unlike commercial insect repellents, this method uses natural ingredients, making it a safer option for families and pets.
  • Cost-Effective: Utilizing common household items such as coffee grounds and cloves makes this an economical choice.
  • Easy to Make: The simplicity of the ingredients and the process allows anyone to quickly create this repellent.

Additional Tips:

  • Ensure the coffee grounds are completely dry before using them. Wet grounds do not burn well and can produce excessive smoke.
  • Always supervise the burning process to avoid any accidental fires.
  • This method should be used in conjunction with other mosquito control measures for best results, such as eliminating standing water where mosquitoes breed.

By following these steps, you can create an effective and natural insect repellent using traditional Venezuelan techniques, keeping your summer activities pest-free.

For more detailed information on various natural mosquito repellents and their effectiveness, sources like Hunker, Pest Prevention Patrol, and Gardening Know How provide valuable insights.

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