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What is Mosquito Repellent Clothing?

By D. Poupon
Updated May 17, 2024
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Mosquito repellent clothing has an insect-repelling agent bound directly to the fibers of the fabric so that the wearer is protected from insects and insect borne diseases without harsh chemicals that may be absorbed through the skin. The repellent called Permethrin is derived from naturally insect repelling plants and is often used in this kind of clothing. Safe and odorless, mosquito repellent clothing is a good alternative to DEET-based bug spray for small children, pregnant women, and adults in heavily infested areas. Mosquito repellent hats, socks, and everything in between have the same look and feel as regular clothes and do not require any special care.

Mosquito repellent clothing protects the wearer from a variety of pests. Ticks, no-see-ums, flies and ants are some insects other than mosquitoes that are repelled. The wearer is in turn less in danger of insect borne diseases such as Malaria, Lyme disease, West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

Permethrin is a man made version of a natural insect repellent, and is used to coat the fibers of mosquito repellent clothing. It is derived from the African daisy, a type of chrysanthemum, and other mosquito repellent plants. Registered by the United States Environmental Protection Agency since 1977, permethrin is generally considered not to be harmful to humans or the environment, although some concerns have been raised that it may increase the risk of cancer.

The advantage of mosquito repellent clothing over sprays is that it provides effective mosquito protection while limiting the contact of the chemicals with the skin. Harsh chemical based mosquito repellent, notably containing DEET, can cause serious side effects such as dizziness, skin irritation and even death. Small children, pregnant and nursing women, and people with prolonged mosquito exposure, such as men and women in the military, are particularly vulnerable. Other natural remedies such as garlic and citronella based bug sprays are safe but may not be sufficient in heavily invested areas.

The amount of mosquito repellant clothing that a person needs to wear to protect themselves from bites depends on the number of biting insects present. A simple permethrin treated bandana may be sufficient to protect a child at a picnic. A fully treated pantsuit with a mosquito head net and hand mitts might be necessary for camping in swampy areas. Insect Shield®, which has a patent pending and claims to be the first mosquito repellent clothing on the market, reports that their products can be washed 70 times without losing their insect repelling properties.

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