Insect Repellent Clothing: 4 FAQs

Insect-repellent clothing is popular with hikers and others who spend lots of time outdoors. Wear this clothing, and you should not have to spray yourself with insecticides all day! However, if you're like many customers, you probably have a couple of questions you'd like answered about insect repellent clothing before you make this purchase.

What clothing items should you buy?

In most stores, you'll see insect-repellent pants, shirts, and hats. You may even see insect-repellent socks. Do you need all of these items? Maybe. If you will be spending time in dense forests where there are lots of bugs, it's wise to dress head to toe in insect-repellent clothing. On the other hand, if you'll be in clearings and in areas where insects are more sparse, you may just want a hat or a shirt. This will keep the insects away from your face and your most vulnerable skin.

What makes the clothing insect-repellent?

Most insect repellent clothing is embedded with a chemical called permethrin. This substance has been used as an insecticide for many years, and it does a good job of clinging to the fabric in your clothing. It also repels a wide variety of insects, including ticks and mosquitoes.

Can you wash insect repellent clothing?

Yes! You will want to use a gentle laundry detergent, but you can absolutely wash this clothing. The insect-repelling properties won't last forever, but they can last a long time. The label on the clothing will tell you how many washes it can sustain. Of course, if you can avoid washing the clothing every single time you wear it, then the insect repelling properties will last longer. This is easier to do with a hat than it is with a shirt or pants, which may be one reason why insect-repellent hats are so common.

Does insect repellent clothing smell?

If you've ever sprayed yourself with bug spray, you know that it smells, and you might imagine insect-repellent clothing would have a similar odor. Thankfully, this is not the case. The form of permethrin used in insect repellent clothing is not very odorous. You may detect something if you bury your nose in it and inhale deeply, but not when you're just wearing it around as usual.

Now that your questions have been answered, get out there and enjoy wearing your insect-repelling clothing. The bugs should stay away so you can have a more relaxing hike, bike, or outdoor adventure.