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How to Use Permethrin Insect Repellent on Clothing

The insect repellent, Permethrin, is designed for clothing and is effective against mosquitoes, ticks, spiders, chiggers, and mites. Permethrin is odorless after drying and provides protection for up to six weeks of outdoor exposure or six washes.

Paul Bodnar       Educational       07/19/2021
Paul Bodnar
Educational
7/19/2021

Permethrin

Permethrin is an insecticide and in some specific cases used as a medication.

Permethrin is sprayed on clothing and then dried. After the Permethrin dries it binds with the fabric. Permethrin incapacitates and kills insects when they come into contact with the Permethrin on the clothing.

**PERMETHRIN IS TOXIC TO CATS IN LIQUID FORM.

DO NOT APPLY PERMETHRIN NEAR CATS.

insect repellent being sprayed onto clothing

Apply Outdoors

Permethrin should only be applied to clothes outdoors. You should spray Permethrin about 6 to 8 inches away from the clothing (while not being worn) and spray in a slow sweeping motion to lightly moisten the surface of the fabric. Treat the outer surface of the fabric front and back and then allow the fabric to dry for at least two hours.

**ALWAYS FOLLOW MANUFACTURER’S INSTRUCTIONS

shorts that have been soaked in permethrin

Liquid Pooling May Occur

When the Permethrin solution is applied to tightly woven fabrics (or water resistant fabrics) you might observe some pooling of the solution. Be sure to allow the liquid to slowly soak into the fabric and dry completely.

**ALWAYS FOLLOW MANUFACTURER’S INSTRUCTIONS

Summary

Permethrin is easy to apply to clothing and provides a good first line of defense against insects when you’re out on a trail backpacking or thru-hiking. Permethrin-treated clothing is effective against mosquitoes, spiders, ticks, chiggers, and mites. Permethrin is odorless after drying and provides protection up to 42 days of outdoor exposure or six washings.


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Photo courtesy of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association

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About the Author
A man wearing an Arizona Trail baseball cap stands in a field in front of a mountain.

Paul Bodnar

Paul has always liked hiking and thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 1997 after college. After years of working in chemistry, he wanted to create a career involving the outdoors, so he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail again in 2010 to do research for his guide book Pocket PCT. He realized that creating a smartphone app for navigating the outdoors would make it easier to keep the data current and provide a better way to navigate. While hiking with Ryan (aka Guthook) in 2010, they decided to work together to create the first comprehensive smartphone guide for the Pacific Crest Trail. Now with the help of a team of great people they have created over 50 guides for trails around the world.