The study, published in the journal iScience, recruited four volunteers who were identified with their specific odor and then asked to wash with four different brands of soap – Dial, Dove, Native and Simple Truth.
Then, the volunteers who washed with soap, but also those who didn’t wash at all, were exposed to female mosquitoes – only females feed on blood.
The researchers found that the soaps altered the smell of the human body by adding many chemicals that plants release that attract mosquitoes.
This is important because mosquitoes consume the nectar from plants and are attracted to it.
Mosquitoes were more attracted to the volunteers who washed with Dove and Simple Truth.
Instead, the soap Native repelled the mosquitoes. Native’s relatively repellent effect could be related to its coconut smell, the researchers say, as there is some evidence that coconut oils are mosquito repellent.
The study suggests that the choice of soap could partially explain why some people are more attractive to mosquitoes than others.
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