Frequently Asked Questions About Insect Shield®

What is Insect Shield?
Insect Shield® Repellent Apparel and Insect Shield® Repellent Gear are designed to provide long-lasting, effective and convenient personal insect protection. They are one of the most effective new tools launched in over 50 years to help battle insects such as mosquitoes and ticks, some of which may carry diseases. The protection they offer is the result of years of research and testing. Our products combine the Insect Shield process with a proprietary formulation of permethrin, resulting in insect protection that lasts the expected lifetime of a garment.

How should I wash Insect Shield clothing?
For items that can be washed, normal home laundering is recommended. Insect Shield repellent clothes can be bleached, starched, pressed, etc., without effect on the repellent quality; however, they should not be dry cleaned. Dry cleaning removes some of the active ingredient from the apparel, which reduces the insect repellent quality.

Is Insect Shield approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)?
Yes. Insect Shield Repellent Apparel is EPA registered under Reg. No. 74843-2. Insect Shield Repellent Gear is EPA registered under Reg. No. 74843-5.

What does EPA registration mean?
The EPA registration process evaluates a proposed product to make sure it will not have harmful effects on people or the environment. Insect Shield repellent is EPA approved for use by the whole family, with no restrictions.

Our chemistry, the application process and the final consumer product have all been rigorously evaluated. Insect Shield Repellent Apparel was registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2003. The EPA accepted an amendment extending the durability claims of our apparel from 25 washes to 70 washes in 2006. 

Who recommends permethrin-treated clothing?
In addition to doctors, epidemiologists, and outdoor enthusiasts, the following international agencies recommend permethrin-treated clothing:

Insect Shield represents a promising new approach to the longstanding problem of protection against both insects and the diseases they can carry. All of the above agencies actively encourage at-risk individuals to use permethrin-treated clothing as a protective measure against insect-borne diseases.

How did permethrin originate, and how is it used?
Permethrin has been successfully used in the United States as an EPA-registered product since 1977, with an excellent safety record. Permethrin is used in lice shampoos for children, flea dips for dogs, and various other products, some of which are regulated by the FDA. The Insect Shield process uses a proprietary formulation of permethrin in a system, and the resulting repellency is so tightly bound to the fabric fibers of each garment that it lasts through 70 launderings. The process designed by our researchers specifically for creating Insect Shield products and the proprietary formulation that is used are quite different from permethrin-based technologies employed in other industries.

How are permethrin-treated products being utilized to save lives?
Millions of permethrin-treated bed nets are being distributed globally via malaria control programs. Insect Shield-treated uniforms are now being utilized by international relief organizations to help protect them in areas prone to insect-borne diseases. Research is also being done on the impact of future alternative Insect Shield products.

Which insects does Insect Shield repel?
Insect Shield® Repellent Apparel has been registered to repel mosquitoes, ticks, ants, flies, chiggers, and midges (no-see-ums). Insect Shield® Repellent Gear has been registered to repel mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and flies. The EPA requires extensive effectiveness data to prove a product's ability to repel insects. Many species and varieties of these insects have been tested, including many that can carry dangerous diseases.

How much protection is provided by Insect Shield repellent apparel?
A small item of Insect Shield clothing provides less repellency than a larger one. You may need to adjust the amount of Insect Shield apparel you wear, depending on the number of biting insects that are present. For example, you might prefer to wear pants instead of shorts in certain situations; long sleeves instead of short; or add a hat and socks. Topical repellent can be used for exposed skin, and is especially recommended for heavily infested locations.

How long does Insect Shield last?
Insect Shield gear repellency remains effective through 6 months of exposure to weathering, or through 25 launderings for washable items. Insect Shield clothing repellency lasts up to 70 washings. This is confirmed in our EPA registration. It is well beyond the life of most performance fabric finishes. Insect Shield products also have a long shelf life. Treated garments stored for ten years have shown no loss of repellent effectiveness.

Chart: The durability of Insect Shield repellent clothing treatment compared to other kinds of performance treatments

The durability of Insect Shield repellent clothing treatment vs. other kinds of performance treatments

What are the benefits of Insect Shield vs. other forms of insect protection? Insect Shield Repellent Apparel puts insect repellency near your skin, instead of on it, and the protection is invisible. Also, the repellency is long lasting, so no re-application is needed.

Does the product have an odor?
Insect Shield Repellent Apparel feels and smells the same as other clothing.

Is Insect Shield Responsible Insect Protection?
The proprietary Insect Shield process is designed to prevent loss of active ingredient outside the system, and once applied, Insect Shield repellency is so tightly bound to fabric fibers that garments retain effective repellency through 70 launderings.

Why does the Insect Shield label say “dispose of in trash after use?”
This indicates that Insect Shield products can be simply deposited in the trash and require no special disposal process. Eventually, the repellency becomes exhausted through wearing and laundering.

Can Insect Shield products be used around cats?

Insect Shield technology is used in a wide assortment of pet products including beds, blankets, cots, gaiters, bandanas and apparel items.

While permethrin has been known to be harmful to cats in liquid form, Insect Shield repellency is so tightly bound to the fabric fibers in such minimal amounts that it does not pose a risk to cats, or when used in multi-pet households.