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What can you tell me about clothing with bug protection?

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As summer approaches, so do insects, and many outdoor lovers are seeking new ways to protect themselves from stinging and biting. A number of companies are selling alternatives to bug sprays and lotions. Insecticide-treated clothing is a new option available. The treated clothing contains the insecticide permethrin, a man-made form of a natural insect repellent found in the chrysanthemum plant. Permethrin stuns or kills bugs. The Environmental Protection Agency considers it safe and effective when applied to fabrics. Consider the following information:

  • According to the company, Ex Officio, treated clothing remains effective through 25 washings. The clothing should be washed separately, as small amounts of the permethrin can come off in the laundering process. It is recommended that standard laundry detergent be used. The garments can be pressed and starched without adverse effects, but should not be dry cleaned, as this will remove the active ingredient. Consumers are advised to follow the care directions on the garment’s label. In addition to being insect repellent, some garments also provide UV protection.
  • The fabrics used to make the garments are designed to wick moisture. The repellent is odorless, colorless and does not change the feel of the garment. Clothing is available in adult and youth sizes, and includes shirts, pants, shorts, hats, socks and sweatshirts. The clothing is available in stores and online under the name Buzz Off ™. Although the company indicates that the clothing can replace sprays and lotions, insect control specialists recommend that sprays and lotions be applied to exposed skin, especially when people are in areas where mosquitoes are heavy.
  • Other options for treated clothing include repellents made to be sprayed directly on clothing. Check for these online or with your local sporting goods store.
  • Children should be reminded not to chew on clothing that has been treated.

Posted on 24 Jun 2005

Karen Biers
Entrepreneurship/Home-Based Business Specialist

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