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May 13, 2020  |  Tips & Guides  |  Insect Repellents

Consumer Reports: How to Use Permethrin on Clothing, Safely

Consumer Reports: How to Use Permethrin on Clothing, Safely

This insecticide can help prevent some mosquito and tick bites. But you must use it properly.

When it comes to preventing bites from mosquitoes and ticks, remember: Summer isn’t over yet, so it’s important to remain vigilant and stay protected when you head outdoors.

You may think first of insect repellents, such as products containing deet. Using an effective repellent is one of the best ways to keep biting bugs away. It’s also helpful to take steps that safeguard your yard against these pests.But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends another strategy on top of those two: treating your clothing with a pesticide called permethrin. (A repellent keeps bugs away; a pesticide kills them on contact.)

Permethrin-treated clothing, first developed by the military a few decades ago, has been available to consumers since 2003. And there are a few ways to use it. You can buy pretreated clothing from various manufacturers (especially those that specialize in outdoor gear). At least one company, Insect Shield, will treat your clothes with permethrin for you, if you mail them in. And you can do it yourself: Permethrin spray is available for consumers to buy and apply to their own clothing and gear.

“If it’s used correctly, it works really well,” says Thomas Mather, Ph.D., director of the University of Rhode Island’s Center for Vector-Borne Disease, of treating clothing with permethrin yourself. But the key, he says, is to use it correctly, which not everyone does.

Here, we’ll explain why permethrin-treated clothing might be an option you want to consider for protection against ticks and mosquitoes, how to make sure you get the best protection, and how to treat clothing with permethrin the right way.

Read the full guide from Catherine Roberts on Consumer Report’s website here: 

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