Mosquito Repellent Clothing: The Single Most Powerful Secret against Bites

Find out everything about the best apparel that works against mosquito bites. Field tested recommendations and strategies against annoying bugs.

I’m talking about modern mosquito-proof clothing that fits you in the jungle as well as during a normal barbecue with friends.

  • While repellents offer reliable safety from itchy bites most of the time it’s wise to have an additional layer of protection.
  • There are several mosquito proof apparel brands available which save you the hassle of applying lots of spray.

I will guide you through the most important things you have to consider when buying a mosquito repellent outfit.

How does mosquito-proof clothing work?

There are basically two types of mosquito clothing.

The first category includes normal fabrics which are not treated with any chemicals.

The second group consists of products that got treated with insecticides to kill any mosquitoes lunatic enough to annoy you (try to guess most people’s favorite).

Untreated outfits

Normal, everyday apparel provides at least basic protection from insect bites. In case the fabrics are tightly woven, mosquitoes can’t penetrate your skin.

That’s why it’s recommended that you cover as much exposed skin as possible when you visit areas with many bugs flying around. You don’t need any special fabrics to decrease your risk of mosquito borne diseases.

Coghlan's Bug Jacket, X-Large
Coghlan’s Bug Jacket

  • Protects against mosquitoes, wood ticks, deer ticks and no-see-ums
  • Easy access to face
  • Lightweight and cool

Some products like bug jackets even stop no-see-ums and bees (which are immune to most repellents). While I wouldn’t use them in a shopping mall they are one of the best and chemical-free solutions out there.

If you have to visit dangerous areas for short amounts of time this is one of the best solutions because it keeps you very safe from mosquitoes. Without a greasy screen or oily texture on your skin.

Camo Coll Outdoor Anti-Mosquito Mask Hat with Head Net Mesh Face Protection (Khaki, One Size)
Anti Mosquito Mask Hat

  • Anti-mosquito and sun protection
  • Perfect for the fishermen, hunters, hikers, campers or anyone who is outside in the fly insect filled environment

Bug jackets or mosquito masks reliable protection and they are completely chemical free. The only downside is that it can get quite hot when you wear them.

And of course you look like you came straight out of a Ghostbusters movie, so choose something else to impress your date (or anyone else in town). Feel free to try them if you don’t care too much about appearance.

As I have mentioned before normal T-shirt or hoodie can give you some protection too.

The thicker the outfit the higher the barrier for mosquitoes that want to bite you. However it is often not feasible to wear this kind of clothing in hot environments. If you are out hiking you need something lightweight and cooling.

Treated outfits

Fortunately there is another type of clothing available which helps to prevent dangerous bites.

Fabrics that have been proven most effective against mosquitoes are usually treated with Permethrin, a strong mosquito repellent registered with the EPA. That way even thin and breathable clothes can become effective against bugs and form an effective mosquito shield.

Many clothes come pre-treated but it’s very easy to make your existing apparel mosquito-proof.

  • The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends certain products containing Permethrin to use on clothing, shoes, bed nets, and camping gear.
  • After you treat your outfit with Permethrin it repels and kills ticks, mosquitoes, and other annoying bugs.

You can buy it separately and apply it to your existing clothes or you can get clothing which comes pre-treated.  The big advantage is that these clothes not only help against mosquitoes but you can also wear them on normal occasions.

They look way better than any netting and nobody will be able to guess that they have another purpose besides fashion.

Field-tested outfit recommendations

I regularly use shirts like ExOfficio – BugsAway with great success on many trips to different countries. I have to admit that it might sound a bit unsettling to wear treated clothing. However I found that they allowed me to cut down my use of other insect repellents.

So it might outweigh any potential side effects (which are considered very low anyway).

Sale ExOfficio Men's BugsAway Tarka Lightweight Long-Sleeve Shirt, Black, Small
ExOfficio Men’s BugsAway

  • Protects against mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and other bugs
  • Odorless built-in treatment lasting up to 70 washes
  • Get it in your favorite color

The best thing is however: this stuff just plain works.

From my experience I don’t have to apply as much DEET as usual because the shirt helps to repel a lot of bugs. During my trips to the rain forest a lot of my partners got harassed by endless waves of bugs.

In contrast almost none of the little blood suckers tried to bother me. I’m quite sure that I can account this pleasant experience to my treated clothing.

Together with convertible pants like these I feel quite safe in regard to mosquito borne diseases.

ExOfficio Men's BugsAway Ziwa Convertible Pants - Short Length, Cigar, 38
ExOfficio Men’s BugsAway Pants

  • Convertible – wear it short or long
  • Insect Shield technology repels mosquitoes, ticks, ants, flies, chiggers and midges
  • With handy security zip pocket

All of this stuff is available for women too. My wife uses shirts and hoodies from ExOfficio similar to this and she has no complaints about it. Most of this type of clothing offer features which are quite useful for outdoor trips.

Besides protecting against mosquitoes most of these products also have some great functional properties.

They dry fast and are way better than cotton for hot climates. Despite the thin fabric I haven’t got bitten once during my use of mosquito proof clothing.

Treat your own clothes

Keep in mind though that frequent washing diminishes the effectiveness of Permethrin. I can’t tell you exactly how long it will last because it depends on how often you clean it. I usually treat my clothing every 3-4 months.

Don’t be too worried about the durability though because you can apply Permethrin on any clothes you already have. It’s possible to buy a spray and treat your outdoor apparel by your own. It requires some work each time you do it but luckily you only need to put it on your clothes 3 times a year.

Sawyer Products SP657 Premium Permethrin Clothing Insect Repellent Trigger Spray, 24-Ounce
Sawyer Insect Repellent Clothing Spray

  • Insect-killing repellent for your clothing
  • Long lasting
  • No stain, no damage to your clothing

From my experience you will notice a considerable difference between treated and untreated clothes, especially in high risk mosquito vectors.

Info: Apparel alone can’t protect you from all bugs. Use it in combination together with other means and to reduce the amount of repellent.

Keep in mind that there is no solution that saves you from mosquitoes in every situation. Although the right clothing can play an important part in your plan to avoid insect bites it can’t guarantee you 100% protection.

There are 176 mosquito species in the USA alone, so it’s best to combine anti-mosquito apparel with other things like nets that work against the little bloodsuckers. Use repellents and try to control mosquito populations as much as possible.

Conclusion

Anti-mosquito clothes can offer an additional layer of protection when you are out in the woods.

  • Even normal fabrics can help to stop mosquitoes from biting you.
  • In many cases these are not enough however and you better opt for treated clothing.

These products with Permethrin combine lightweight fabrics with excellent repellent features. I recommend them if you search for another safeguard in environments with a lot of harmful mosquito borne disease.