How to treat clothes with permethrin

Written by shelley moore
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Permethrin is a synthetic insecticide that can be applied to clothes to repel and kill ticks, as well as bothersome insects such as mosquitoes. Because these bugs can carry infections such as Lyme disease and West Nile virus, people spending time in infested areas may want to treat their clothing with permethrin. Permethrin is convenient for those who enjoy camping, backpacking, hiking, fishing or hunting. The spray is available at sporting goods stores that feature outdoor equipment.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Permethrin 0.5 per cent spray
  • Black plastic bag

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  1. 1

    Spray permethrin on the outer surface of clothing, including socks and shoes. Do this outdoors when there is no wind or very little wind.

  2. 2

    Lightly moisten the entire clothing surface and do not saturate, because the solution does not need to reach the inside of the fabric. Be sure to cover areas where ticks and mosquitoes can get in, such as the tops of socks, shirt cuffs and the bottom hems of jeans.

  3. 3

    Hang the treated clothing outside for at least two hours. If the weather is humid, leave it outside for at least four hours.

  4. 4

    Wear your clothing only when you want to repel bugs, and store it in a black plastic bag between uses. This will retain permethrin effectiveness through six washings. You won't have to treat the clothing again until after that.

Tips and warnings

  • You also can apply permethrin to bed nets to keep mosquitoes out while sleeping.
  • Do not apply permethrin to skin because it can cause irritation, and it is ineffective when applied to skin.
  • Do not apply permethrin to clothes while you're wearing them.

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