It’s a fact: people despise mosquitoes. And thanks to this universal hatred of these blood-suckers, there’s a huge burgeoning industry devoted to coming up with new innovations to keep them away from us.
One of the best, most ingenious mosquito repellents recently created? Mosquito repellent clothing.
And no, this doesn’t mean you have to walk around wrapped in a mesh net – mosquito repellent clothes come in a variety of styles and look a lot like the clothes you wear everyday.
How Does Mosquito Repellent Clothing Work?
Mosquito repellent clothes are essentially just your everyday clothing items. The difference is that these clothes have been ingeniously treated with an invisible, odorless Insect Shield that’s so tightly bonded to the fabric fibers that it effectively discourages mosquitoes from even going near you.
Better yet, it’s not just mosquitoes – these specially treated clothes are as effective at preventing a host of other annoying bugs such as ticks, ants, flies, and chiggers from getting too close to you.
The secret ingredient that makes all this possible isn’t exactly a secret. It’s permethrin, which is a popular pesticide and the synthetic version of a naturally occurring chemical in chrysanthemum flowers called pyrethrum.
And this is the best part – permethrin isn’t simply an insect repellent. No, it’s considered a “knockdown” insecticide, so called because it actually disables insects that come in contact with it. This is how it’s able to be so effective in shielding you from mosquitoes.
Typically, a mosquito is able to poke its sneaky little proboscis through clothing to help itself to your blood. That’s why you often end up with mosquito bites despite the fact that you were fully clothed. But with mosquito repellent clothing, permethrin is woven into the fibers of the fabric so any mosquito who dares to stick its mouth parts into that fabric is knocked out or killed.
And you get to enjoy your outdoor time without unwittingly donating your blood to the mosquito population.
Is Mosquito Proof Clothing Safe?
If you’re planning to put insect repellent clothing on yourself and your family, then the next thing you really want to know is if it is, in fact, safe to do so.
Well, rest assured, because it’s been found it be very safe. Insect Shield’s permethrin-treated clothing was approved by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2003, after seven extensive years of research and testing that confirmed no adverse reactions on people, animals or the environment. In fact, these mosquito repellent clothes received the safety rating of Category IV, the highest safety level possible.
Fun fact: Insect repellent clothing is considered so safe and effective that the US Army treats uniforms with permethrin. When you consider that through history, more soldiers have died from the diseases caused by various insects than bullets and bombs, it just makes sense.
And not just for those in the military – mosquitoes kill almost one million people every year. So protecting yourself against mosquito-borne disease by wearing insect repellent clothing is actually a very safe option.
How Long Does Mosquito Repellent Clothing Last?
Okay, you’re sold. You like the idea of simply tossing on some clothes that repel mosquitoes and other unwanted pests instead of dousing yourself in bug spray. But before you shell out any money, you want to know: how long does mosquito proof clothing stay effective?
Most clothes treated with Insect Shield retain repellency up to 70 launderings. That means if you wash your clothes once a week, it’ll still retain its insect repelling powers for up to one year and three months.
Not bad. Not bad at all.
Just make sure that you’re washing the clothes as instructed and never dry clean.
While clothes and other apparel treated with Insect Shield last up to 70 launderings, gear – think backpacks – treated with Insect Shield only last up to 25 washes. Which is not too bad considering how often do you really wash backpacks and the like?
Last but not least, there are quite a few mosquito repellent clothing brands that do not use the proprietary Insect Shield technology but other, similar methods. The mileage for these treated clothes vary – usually they’ll be effective for up to 50 washes.
Can I Make My Own Insect Repellent Clothing?
The nice thing about insect repellent clothes – apart from the fact that they repel insects – is that they aren’t much pricier than your standard outdoor gear.
If you also take into consideration the fact that most mosquito proof clothing is also functional in other ways – i.e. moisture wicking, has built-in sun protection – it’s actually a very good deal, considering outdoor athletic wear is pricey to being with.
That being said, maybe you already have a lot of outdoor clothes and don’t want to fork over more money for a whole new wardrobe or you simply don’t like the style of any mosquito proof clothing on the market.
Can you make your own?
Yup, it’s totally doable to DIY your own mosquito repellent clothing. It’s actually as simple as picking up a bottle of Sawyer Products Premium Permethrin Insect Repellent.
Once you’ve got yourself a bottle, all you have to do is spray your desired items. Remember to do the actual spraying outdoors in a well-ventilated area. It won’t technically hurt you if you do it indoors but if you have asthma or other breathing problems, it can be problematic.
Even if you don’t, it’s generally recommended you do the spray treatment outdoors.
To treat your fabrics, simply spray the bottle about 6 to 8 inches away in a slow sweeping motion. Remember to treat each side for roughly 30 seconds.
And always spray directly on the item you’re treating – never add the Insect Repellent to a washing machine for treatment. Yes, in theory – that would be ideal for quickly treating all your clothes. But in reality, it will not have that desired effect. So spray only.
Note: You may think these bottles look big, if you compare to the average size of a bottle of insect repellent, but remember that you’re treating each side of your fabrics and gear and get enough. A 24 ounce spray bottle is enough for five complete outfits. If you need more, then buy accordingly.
Last note: While Insect Shield bonded clothing last up to 70 washes – the clothes and gear that you treat with Sawyer Products Premium Permethrin Insect Repellent only lasts up to 6 washes or up to 6 weeks (whichever comes first).
What’s the Best Mosquito Repellent Clothing?
Don’t want to spray everything yourself and wondering what mosquito repellent wardrobe options you have? There is a lot of mosquito proof clothing – and gear – out there. We obviously don’t have the time or space to list them all. But we hope the below list demonstrates just how much variety there is to be had.
Here’s what to wear to protect yourself from mosquitoes from head to toe. Pretty much all the clothes and accessories featured here come in a range of sizes, colors and styles so if you like something, click on the picture and it’ll take you to a page where you can see all the colors and styles.
Mosquito Repellent Headwear
Don’t you hate when mosquitoes come buzzing around your head, kamikaze-ing into your face every once in awhile?
Keep them away from your entire head and face area by donning one of these mosquito repellent hats.
They’ve even got bug free headbands and bandanas!
Mosquito Proof Scarves
Nothing brightens up an outfit like a scarf – except these do more than that. These gorgeous, gauzy scarves will keep the mosquitoes away from your face, neck and shoulders. Hurrah!
Too gauzy for you? No worries – they’ve got neck guards for men, too.
Mosquito Repellent Tops for Women
You don’t wear mosquito gear for fashion, so we didn’t expect the women’s mosquito repellent clothing to be so cute.
We were wrong.
Mosquito Repellent Tops for Men
And the men’s tops are just as stylish…
Mosquito Repellent Jackets for Women
Both men’s and women’s jackets are quite spiffy as well…
Mosquito Proof Pants for Women
We especially love how they have a wide selection of pants since that’s an easy zone for mosquitoes to strike.
Unfortunately, there are no bug free jeans (‘though most mosquitoes would have a hard time biting you in jeans anyway), there are plain pants as well as leggings.
Mosquito Proof Pants for Men
There’s also a good selection of men’s pants – keep in mind that the below pants come in more colors than pictured here.
Insect Repellent Socks
And of course, we can’t forget the socks. We did say “head to toe” after all.
More Clothing Options…
It’s not all basics and casuals in the mosquito repellent clothes department – they’ve even got bracelets and dresses for those of you who need protection for summertime BBQs rather than for hiking in the jungle.
Happy mosquito-free shopping!