Among the many problems the inmates of the Sabarmati Ashram had to face one was that of malaria that visited the Ashram every year after the monsoon. Doctors were consulted as to the cause and means of protection, and one of the usual means suggested was the protection from mosquitoes with mosquito curtains.
"How can all afford a mosquito net? Is there no means which the poorest can afford?" Gandhiji asked the doctors, who said there was one. That was keeping the body properly covered, and smearing the face with kerosene oil. Gandhiji generally used the mosquito net, but as soon as he saw that there was a poor man's remedy, he asked the net to be removed and began smearing his face with kerosene oil before bed time.