Permethrin on fabric?

Anyone consider spraying the tent fabric with permethrin?

I had to Google what that word meant. Have you considered this? If so why?

1 Like

Hm, interesting idea. There are some data on mosquito nets that permethrin is helpful. A quick search of the literature shows that permethrin helped with torn nets…might be helpful in those gaps on the GFC.

Don’t forget that permethrin isn’t a repellent, it kills them or at least hopefully incapacitates the boogers before they bite you. Applying DEET or picaridin to your body would still be the best option.

It’s used quite often on outdoor gear where there are ticks and lyme disease, so I was thinking it may help with mosquitoes in the gaps and openings.

DEET seems to be the only real solution to repel them, but I’m not sure I’d want to spray that on the fabric.

Was really just curious if anyone else had tried this…

I’m positive that you shouldn’t spray that on the fabric.


Spraying DEET on synthetics is not the best idea Over time it can eat away at it. Permethrin is an effective deterrent. All BDU, DCU, ACU, OCP uniforms are pretreated with them and it lasts about 6 months - with washing, since I presume people aren’t putting the tent through the washer, It should last quite awhile longer until the chemical degrades enough. My 2 cents, but I would stay away from DEET on the tent. Too expensive to take a chance.


I know from experience that DEET will mess up many synthetics. It took the writing off some if my Nalgene bottles and made the waterproof part of one of my light rain jackets fall apart. Use it sparingly away from your tech clothing. I think nylon holds up to it well though.

Deferring to the forum for info on tacoma suspension, etc. But this one I got. Here is the breakdown of vector control products:

  1. Permethrin. Vapor repellant and contact insecticide. Excellent efficacy and safety record. Should only be used on fabrics (NOT skin). Safe on nearly all fabrics, but cannot be used on waterproof/water resistant fabrics (any DWR treated fabric, Silnyl, cuben fiber, etc) because it has to penetrate the fiber and stick. Great product, but you can’t use it on your tent walls for that reason. If you choose to use it on clothing, etc. avoid runoff when you apply (very toxic to aquatic life), ensure piece dries completely (at least 24h), don’t use on most headgear and underwear. Good for 6-12 washes.

  2. DEET. Vapor repellant. Excellent efficacy and safety record WHEN USED PROPERLY. Should only be used on skin (NOT fabrics or other surfaces, NOT on mucous membranes, heads of babies, etc.). Most effective around 33%. Higher concentration products on the market, like 100% DEET, are all risk and no added benefit (in fact, they don’t last as long). Look for a polymerized product for 12 hours of efficacy (3M has the original DARPA developed product). Wash your hands after applying it. Keep away from food. It IS a plasticizer, so may not be ideal if you are worried about melting plastic gear.

  3. Picaridin. Vapor repellant. Newer product, but great efficacy and safety thus far. Should only be used on skin (same caveats as above). Reliable 8 hour efficacy. Equally effective to DEET, only without the greasy feeling of the polymerized product, plus I think it smells better. It is NOT a plasticizer, so safe around all gear.

  4. Citronella. Vapor repellant. Effective, but not as reliable as the above. Can be used on skin or as area repellant. Has to be reapplied frequently, every 1-2 hours.

My choice:
A. Permethrin applied once a season to my shirts and pants (temperate climate).
B. Picaridin on any exposed skin
C. Wide brimmed hat (study shows mosquitos and biting flies will avoid area under brim some, which I will attest to from backcountry paddle trips in Maine)
D. Appropriate clothing and physical barriers (different conversation, bug netting in the GoFast is appropriate gauge for efficacy - I checked before purchasing).

If you want to know more, shoot me as message. I have magazine articles, presentations for medical audiences, etc.