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Permethrin Soak Method Guide

Permethrin Soak Method Guide
You can buy a pre-mixed Permethrin solution like Sawyer Permethrin (left) or dilute a highly concentrated form like 10% Martins Permethrin (right) to save money if you need to treat bulky gear or numerous clothing items.

Permethrin is an insect repellant and insecticide that bonds to fabric and can be used on your clothes, tent, or hammock to prevent Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted fever, or the Zika Virus by killing ticks, mosquitos, and insects that land on your stuff. The liquid Permethrin application techniques discussed below are only for treating clothing or outdoor gear and are not intended for human or animal use.

Soak or Spray: Two Ways to Apply Permethrin to Clothing and Gear

There are two ways to self-apply Permethrin to clothing, tents, and hammocks: spraying or soaking. Spraying your clothes or gear is a convenient way to treat them with Permethrin if you have a limited number of items. To learn more about the spray method using pre-mixed Sawyer Permethrin, see Treating Your Clothes with Permethrin. Soaking your clothes in Permethrin is the second way to treat clothing or outdoor gear and can be useful when you have bulky or a large number of items to treat. Before you begin, be sure to read all labels and documentation that comes with your Permethrin solution to determine if it is legal to use for this purpose in the United States. If in doubt, call the manufacturer and ask.

Permethrin treated clothing kills the ticks that land on it as long as you retreat your clothing periodically to maintain its effectiveness
Permethrin treated clothing kills the ticks that land on it as long as you retreat your clothing periodically to maintain its effectiveness.

How long does Permethrin Treated Gear and Clothing Remain Effective?

Both methods of Permethrin self-application, spraying and soaking, remain effective for 6 weeks or 6 washes. You can prolong the effectiveness of self-applied Permethrin by storing permethrin treated gear or clothes in black plastic bags (since sunlight breaks down Permethrin) or by hand washing items because the agitators in washing machines also accelerate its decay.

There’s anecdotal evidence that soaking your clothes with Permethrin instead of spraying is effective longer, but there isn’t any publicly available laboratory to support that conjecture. It’s just common sense that soaking will penetrate both the inside and outside of a garment, while spraying it will just cover the outside.

If you want a longer lasting treatment that will last up to 70 washings, you can send your clothing to a company called Insect Shield which has developed a proprietary process for Permethrin application that lasts longer than what you can do a home. I have no idea what they do that’s different, which is probably why they keep it a trade secret. Here’s a link to the Insect Shield order form that you use to send clothing you want them to process. The prices are listed on the form.

You can also buy Permethrin treated clothing off-the-shelf from many manufacturers.

Why would you soak clothes with Permethrin instead of spraying them?

Soaking can be more convenient if you have bulky items (tent or hammock) you want to treat or many articles of clothing. Soaking is also likely to provides better coverage than spraying, including the inside and outside of garments than spraying which may miss spots. If an insect avoids the outside of a garment and makes it to your skin, there’s a good chance that it will still be killed if the inside of your clothing has also been pre-treated with Permethrin.

Martins Permethrin 10 percent
Martins Permethrin Concentrate

What is the most economical way of soaking gear and clothes with Permethrin?

While you can soak items in the pre-mixed 0.5% Permethrin Solution sold by Sawyer, it is more economical to buy a highly concentrated Permethrin solution like Martins 10% Permethrin and dilute it down to the recommended 0.5% strength solution recommended for treating fabrics. Concentrated permethrin solutions are also available in many feed and hardware stores.

While often intended for veterinary or agricultural use, highly concentrated Permethrin solutions diluted to a 0.5% Permethrin concentration are thought to be as effective at killing insects as the pre-mixed 0.5% Sawyer Permethrin solution. No one knows definitively in the absence of laboratory testing, although anecdotal accounts from many people suggest this to be the case. Follow all manufacturer product instructions and use at your own risk.

How to dilute concentrated permethrin.

If you choose to dilute a concentrated form of permethrin like Martin’s 10% Permethrin, you need to reduce it to the 0.5% concentration recommended for clothing treatment. Many concentrated Permethrin solutions comes with a built-in measuring cup for this process.

I prefer bagging up the clothing I plan to treat with Permethrin in 1 gallon freezer bags before pouring the Permethrin solution over them and letting them sit and soak.
I prefer bagging up the clothing I plan to treat with Permethrin in 1 gallon freezer bags before pouring the Permethrin solution over them and letting them sit and soak.

If you use a 10% Permethrin concentrate, you want to dilute it with 19 parts water and 1 part of 10% permethrin concentrate to produce a 0.5% Permethrin solution. For example, if you wanted to make a gallon (128 ounces) of a 0.5% Permethrin solution using water and a 10% Permethrin solution, you’d mix 6.4 ounces of 10% Permethrin solution with 121.6 ounces of water. If you do this using a 1 gallon plastic water bottle (shown above), you’d pour off 6.4 ounces of water and replace it with 6.4 ounces of the 10% Permethrin concentrate. Shake well to mix it up.

I recommend wearing protective gloves when working with Permethrin in any concentration, keeping it away from all animals, food, and water supplies, and only using it in a shady, well-ventilated, outdoor area. All of the containers used to hold Permethrin should also be properly labelled and disposed of as recommended on the product label by the manufacturer. One reader has reported a sensitivity to diluted Permethrin that results in a burning sensation on their skin when their garments get wet after treatment. If in doubt, treat a test garment and wear it in rain to determine whether you suffer from this sensitivity. If this is the case, send your clothes out to Insect Shield for professional treatment or spray using Sawyer’s pre-mixed Permethrin.

Pour enough Permethrin solution to soak each item and then let sit for a few hours so that ot fully soaks the material.
Pour enough Permethrin solution to soak each item and then let sit for a few hours so that it fully soaks the material. Sawyer recommends 3 ounces of 0.5% Permethrin solution per garment. But you can add more if it’s needed to soak the item as long as it’s diluted to the same 0.5% concentration.

What’s the best way to soak your clothes with Permethrin?

While you can dip your clothes in a large bucket of 0.5% Permethrin, I prefer bagging them individually in 1 gallon freezer bags and pouring a smaller quantity of Permethrin solution into each bag. This eliminates having a large amount of left-over Permethrin that is complicated to safely dispose or store.

I then massage the liquid into the garment and let it sit for a few hours to fully soak through all the layers of clothing, before pulling it out of the bag and hanging it up to dry in the shade. Sunlight breaks down Permethrin, so you should avoid drying Permethrin soaked clothing on a clothesline in the sun.

Once dry, the Permethrin treated clothing is ready to wear
Once dry, the Permethrin treated clothing is ready to wear.

Once the garments have dried, they’re ready to wear. There’s no need to wash them or dry them in a drier before use. Doing so will only begin to break down the Permethrin that has bonded to the garment’s fabric.

Can you soak clothing using pre-mixed 0.5% Sawyer Permethrin?

Absolutely. It can be far more convenient to soak your clothes using Sawyer Permethrin since it’s pre-mixed to the correct 0.5% concentration without having to dilute concentrated Permethrin, safely dispose of contaminated containers, or left-over Permethrin solution. It’s just more expensive.

Liability Disclaimer: The author of this article and website is not responsible for any damage, personal injuries or death as a result of the use of any information, maps, routes, advice, gear or techniques discussed herein. All activities are carried out at your own risk. 

Updated 2019.

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  1. No. It’s intended for use on clothing, not kids.

  2. Everything I’ve read so far indicates that after drying it will be safe, even for kids. I’m not a doctor, so this isn’t medical advice, but as another commenter says, it’s basically a dye, and won’t leach out any more than the dye will leach out of your t-shirt. I don’t know if that’s scientifically true, but it seems to describe how permethrin is said to work by all of the sources I’ve checked so far. That said, I have seen a variety of people question whether specific formulations used to apply permethrin are safe for skin contact, especially the ones that weren’t designed with human skin in mind.

    Overwhelmingly, every warning and caution I’ve seen has been about the wet form, or about residues or leftovers after it dries. Even the stuff that is specifically sold for use on clothes. You’re not just spraying your clothes with liquid permethrin, the liquid is a chemical that is used to help the permethrin bond with the cloth fibers or whatever else it’s being sprayed on. It’s quite reasonable to say that fluids that weren’t intended to be sprayed on people might have harsher chemicals in them that would cause skin irritation, etc, or even have eventual long-term health consequences.

    It can’t be THAT bad if they’re spraying it around homes (the typical use for those highly concentrated forms of permethrin) but there’s a difference between spraying something on your baseboards and staying away from it until it dries, versus spraying it on your skin, or spraying on something that will be touching your skin for prolonged periods of time.

    Most of the time when people say “solvent”, they mean something along the lines of acetone. I’ve had acetone on my skin (hands) dozens of times. I stop doing what I was doing to rush to clean it off… but that doesn’t mean I waited until I got home that night to clean it off.

    • To correct an editing error, above:

      I’ve had acetone on my skin (hands) dozens of times. THAT DOESN’T MEAN I stop doing what I was doing to rush to clean it off… but that doesn’t mean I waited until I got home that night to clean it off.

  3. Everything is ok. If you soak it in 0.5% solution, it doesn’t get any stronger if you have extra liquid left over.

  4. I most interested in Permethrin’s properties for bed bugs. Going on the Camino Portuguese in Sept/Oct and using light wt sleeping bags/liners with our own pillowcases. Soaking sounds the most effective way to treat but what about a back pack? When on the camino I hand washed by sports t-shirts, socks and underwear everyday,(only had 2 changes). Bed bugs are the biggest fear on the Camino. No problem with ticks or mosquitos because we aren’t in the woods.

  5. I don’t do my day time underwear since I use treated long pants exclusively, but I do my long underwear for sleeping at night.

  6. It’s all the same concentration regardless of the volume you soak it in….

  7. Lasts just as long. I use Martins all the time.

  8. Suggest you call the manufacturer and ask.

  9. Because you’re putting the waste water into the public water supply. The stuff is not safe in it’s liquid form.

  10. Yes, it was cheaper at our Feed Store rather than REI. Thanks to Grandpa and Cindy.

  11. Agreed. We have an outdoor cat and her kitty condo has an old sleeping bag, treated with permethrin, in it. Hasn’t hurt her one bit.

  12. I use a washed out plastic kitty litter container and 2 gallons. I wear long sleeve shirt and kitchen gloves just for the soaking. Once the permethrin is mixed I put as many cloths as I can fit into the container. I use a paint mixing stick to make sure everything is stirred well then I put a clean brick on top to hold everything below the water. I put the lid on it and let it sit over nite to soak.
    I have a spare bedroom well vented that I lay sheets of plastic out on the floor. The next day wearing the kitchen gloves I squeeze out all the liquid from the cloths. I lay all the treated cloths on the plastic to dry for 2-3 days. Don’t let your cats anywhere near the permethrin Its very bad for them. Once dry pack away your cloths. I save 2 spray bottles of the permrthrin each in doubled gallon zip-lock bags that get shipped to me later out on thee trail to “freshen up” the treatment. The remaining permethrin gets used around my house foundation and any place ticks and termites might be. Keep your cats and dogs in doors untill the treatment has dried.
    Out on the trail if there is any on the permethrin left I share it with fellow hikers or leave it labeled at hostel in the hiker box for others to use. Again in the double zip bags.

  13. This is great information, and I have started treating my outdoor clothes with permethrin. However, I have a problem with the quantity when using the soak method. If I use 3 ounces, it doesn’t seem to be enough to soak the entire garment, even something small like a pair of socks. Some of the fabric gets wet, but some of it is still dry, and therefore untreated. This is true no matter how much I squeeze or massage it, or leave it to soak for several hours. It seems like I need to use at least 6-8 ounces to get full saturation, and sometimes more, especially with a larger garment.

    Have you run into this, or are you really able to saturate a garment with 3 ounces?

    • The quantity you use doesn’t matter as long as it’s diluted to the correct percentage. Go ahead and use more.

    • Greg, there is a limit to how much is needed to absorb into your cloths. But, it must all be saturated. Also, a brief surface spray will only do the outside layers of wool and other thicker fabrics. As it is absorbed, there is less Permethrin to be absorbed and it may not be enough to fully protect your cloths & you. But, I too have run into some woolen cloths that just absorb a LOT of water/chemical. Like cotton, wool also absorbs a relatively high percentage of water into the material. This has the effect of treating wool more heavily than nylon, for example. So, I often do a dip with my nylon pants & shirt, then switch to my wool clothing adding some extra water if needed to totally distribute the Permethrin. So, as the bath becomes depleted by a 15minute soaking with the nylon/poly clothing, then diluted by plain water, I am guessing the actual concentration with the wool bath for socks and sweaters is down to about .2 or .3%. This is fine because it soaks about 100% more solution into the actual fabric. Note that when this is done I dilute it again with plain water and saturate my entire sleeping bag. It is likely down to a <.1% solution but down absorbs water like crazy. Soo, again, it gets up to the same percentage after drying by hanging.

      The other thing is, you do not need to do your socks & underwear. Generally, your socks will be covered by any Permethrin on your pants or your shoes. I never got a tick on my feet in over 40 years of hiking, but, I DO treat my sleeping socks (longer, knee-length wool socks.) Doing your wool sweater is kind'a begging the question "Why?" It will be much cooler by the time you need to wear it. Most bugs will be "sleeping." But, some times in wet weather, I will wear my sweater under my rain jacket or without a rain jacket in drizzly conditions. I get wet anyway, I just don't want cold raindrops on my shoulders and arms. Soo, this sort'a adds to my comfort with a buggy situation. Is it necessary? No. Only your main hiking cloths and bedding. Permethrin can, rarely, cause problems with sweaty areas. I don't risk any problems with my feet. Bags/quilts cover your bedding against all sorts of bugs:, fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, bedbugs, etc. I never do underwear either.

  14. Can I waterproof my boots and running shoes after treating them with permethrin? Or will the scotchgard eliminate/reduce permethrin’s effectiveness?

  15. I picked up my martin’s permethrin last weekend. I’m going to soak them this weekend.

    Has anyone used cattle tags treated w/ pesticide clipped to their backpack as an added deterrent?


  16. FWIW – I’ve tried both spraying and soaking and think spraying is generally more effective. With spraying I can see where I’m hitting and not hitting the fabric with the spray. I can also be more certain of reaching the inside of the clothing by turning it inside out and spraying again.
    Except for some small items, it seemed as if the liquid was not soaking uniformly into the clothing when placed in the bag. The part of the clothing the touched the liquid first soaked in but then it was difficult to get the liquid to distribute equally throughout the bag and into the clothing. I ended up pouring more liquid into the bag just to be sure.
    I do have a large well ventilated and lit garage where I can hang up multiple pieces of clothing while spraying and drying overnight, so this is an advantage that all may not have.
    Finally, I’m using a spray bottle (Zep) with the diluted solution I’ve mixed up in a gallon container, as per instruction above, not a pre-diluted solution.

  17. Cats are different from humans in many other respects.

  18. I am not sure about martin’s permethrin but most Peremthrin from feed stores are not formulated to bond to materials. It is possible the rain was washing the Perenthrin out. The spray Peremthrin made for gear and clothing is formulated to bond to materials. This might also be why some people are finding they are getting better results from the spray. Always follow the Label when dealing with pesticides.

    • If one followed the label, one would not use Martin’s 10% on clothing, as that is not one of the listed uses.

      It’s illegal to use pesticides in a way inconsistent with the label, so the wisdom of recommending this product for this use is questionable.

      • Before you start making any claims about what’s illegal or unlawful, I suggest you brush up on the EPA guidelines for the clause you are citing. Just a suggestion. Here’s a relevant quote from the EPA website that pertains to this issue.

        TO USE ANY REGISTERED PESTICIDE IN A MANNER INCONSISTENT WITH ITS LABELING.-The term ”to use any registered pesticide in a manner inconsistent with its labeling” means to use any registered pesticide in a manner not permitted by the labeling, except that the term shall not include (1) applying a pesticide at any dosage, concentration, or frequency less than that specified on the labeling unless the labeling specifically prohibits deviation from the specified dosage, concentration, or frequency, (2) applying a pesticide against any target pest not specified on the labeling if the application is to the crop, animal, or site specified on the labeling, unless the Administrator has required that the labeling specifically state that the pesticide may be used only for the pests specified on the labeling after the Administrator has determined that the use of the pesticide against other pests would cause an unreasonable ad-verse effect on the environment, (3) employing any method of application not prohibited by the labeling unless the labeling specifically states that the product may be applied only by the methods specified on the labeling, (4) mixing a pesticide or pesticides with a fertilizer when such mixture is not prohibited by the labeling, (5) any use of a pesticide in conformance with section 5, 18, or 24 of this Act, or (6) any use of a pesticide in a manner that the Administrator determines to be consistent with the purposes of this Act. After March 31, 1979, the term shall not include the use of a pesticide for agricultural or forestry purposes at a dilution less than label dosage unless before or after that date the Administrator issues a regulation or advisory opinion consistent with the study provided for in section 27(b) of the Federal Pesticide Act of 1978, which regulation or advisory opinion specifically requires the use of definite amounts of dilution. “

      • Intended as a reply to Philip’s reply to my comment as there’s no “reply” button under that:

        Well, if you can make sense of that bureaucratic language mess and determine that use of the Martin’s 10% is permitted, you’re a better person than me.

        I actually called the manufacturer (Control Solutions Inc.), and they said they can’t recommend use of that product for treating clothing unless it’s explicitly stated on the label.

        Just seems like you’re unnecessarily opening yourself to legal liability.

      • Thanks for your concern.

  19. While I was in the Army we always stressed having our uniforms Permethrin treated and our bodies treated with DEET. One time about 30 of our soldiers went on a land navigation field exercise in a highly tick-infested area. Some soldiers did as they were told and used both Permethrin treated uniforms and DEET. Others either used only DEET or Permethrin. What we found is that only those whose uniforms were treated with Permethrin and whose bodies were treated with DEET were tick-free. Others had as few as one tick and as many as 32 ticks during mandatory nightly tick checks. The moral of this story is to always use Permethrin-treated clothing and DEET when going into tick-infested areas.

    By the way, the permethrin treatment the Army used was supposed to be good for the duration that the uniforms were in serviceable condition.

  20. I am not sure that pouring it on your driveway is a good idea. This could wash away in a rain before it’s decomposed and end up in surface or groundwater. If it were that simple, that would be on the bottle. I think the better practice would be to save what is left over in a clearly marked bottle for future use.

  21. nope. what brand did you use? Did you dilute it? is your water hard?

  22. I’m 60. It won’t matter to me. :-)

  23. Boots: soak or spray?

    I have non-leather (ballistic mesh and webbing uppers, rubber sole) boots, and I’m wondering whether I can soak ’em in a bag or if I should only spray them.

    I’ll be soaking my pants and socks.

    Thanks for any thoughts.

  24. Wow… this is all very interesting. Thinking of Permethrin like a dye does change how I think about this. I used to dye clothing and recall (hopefully correctly!) that it’s actually the number of *molecules* of dye rather than the concentration. Once the binding sites in the fabric are saturated, additional dye will just rinse out. And twice the volume of dye at 1/2 the concentration contains the name number of molecules of dye which should, theoretically, find the sites with which to bind in the fabric. Sorry to be such a geek about this, but I see why people buy the permeated clothing ready-to-wear!! It’s more complicated than most people think, which wouldn’t make any difference if this wasn’t a potentially harmful situation — harmful if over, or UNDER used!

  25. Country life vs. city life! lol. I’ve lived in both, love my local feed stores, but miss me some REI! :-)

  26. How do you know that the Martin’s lasts as long as long as the Sawyers? I’m curious about the water vs. petroleum and binders vs. no binders issues. I have the 10% solution so I’m not trying to nay say, just curious if you have somehow tested.

  27. Is one oz of permethrin with 20 oz of water safe for spraying cloths ?

  28. If you soak your clothes in a bucket is it sufficient enough to wash the bucket out afterwards and dry it completely.

  29. I’ve done the small Sawyer bottles and the soak method, but what really works for me is to hang everything up on a clothes line and use a hand-pumped garden sprayer. Easy, thorough, and quick. Clothes are left on the line to dry (1-2 hours) and I find it just as effective as the other methods.

  30. Is is possible to iron the cloths after the treatment? Will it totally ruin the treatment?

  31. I have a bottle of Permetherin from Control Solutions Inc that is 36.8% in the bottle. Would anyone like to suggest how much of this insecticide to mix with a gallon of water to dilute to a 0.5% solution for soaking clothing? Also I am looking for suggestions of what would be best to use for a wetting agent.

    • The 36.8% is probably SFR, which contains petroleum distillates — it is oil based. If you use it, you will find it leaves an oily residue on your clothes. Also, petroleum distillates are not considered healthy for your skin. The Martin’s 10% solution, which is what the author discussed, is water-based. (Although, it is not actually approved for treating clothing, either.)

      • Read the label on the product! To get 1 gallon of desired emulsion,at 0.5% concentration, mix 1 2/3 fl. oz of permethrin sfr 36.8% + 126 1/3 fl.oz.of water to obtain your gallon of mixture. They also list 1.0% and 2.0% emulsion on the chart,up to 192 gallons of finished emulsion. Also their SDS lists 36.8 % concentration, 15% hydrocarbons, and the rest is water. They even tell you not to mix with anything but water. The labels and SDS sheets are quite complete, if you take time to read them before hoseing yourself down! another BOB.

    • 1.75 ounces of your 36.8% solution per gallon of water will give you a 0.5% solution.

  32. I have been doing this for years. Clothing, hats, socks, sleeping bag and am able to sleep outside in Alaska in the summer without a net. Just permethrin and DEET on exposed skin. I also treat my dogs bed, and the comforter on my wife’s and I bed, (the dog comes up there). On heavy tick days my wife just shakes the dead ticks off the comforter in the morning. No more ticks in bed. Great, and highly recommended.

    One thing missing from the article is the formula for dilution. It is:
    C1*V1 = C2*V2, where C1 is concentration of your concentrate, V1 is the volume of the Concentrate, C2 is the final Dilution and V2 is the volume of the final concentration. It works like this. I use concentrated permethin at 38% and want to end up with 1 liter of 0.5%. The formula is:

    0.38*V1=0.005*1000ml, goes to V1=(0.005*1000)/0.38 = 19.7ml.

    Use 13.2ml of 38% permthrin to 1 liter of water to achieve 0.5%.

    • Cliff – I’m having trouble following your calculations. Isn’t 5% = .05 (not .005)? That would mean you would use 132 ml of 38% permethrin to 1 L of water.

      Also – how did you get 19.7ml?

  33. Why is there such a huge difference in the concentration for treating a yard vs the unpublished usage outlined here? For example 1.5 fluid ounces to 10 gallons water to treat grass. Whereas this article indicates 6.4 fluid ounces to 1 gallon of water. That’s a huge difference. Am I missing something? Just want to make sure I’m being safe. Although I suppose since the product specifically says to not apply to clothes in any concentration….

    • Jeff, it must presumably be that the higher the concentration the faster / more reliably it works / longer it will last. If you put very concentrated permethrin next to your skin it would probably work better but would almost certainly not be tolerated.

  34. This the first time I’ve used permethrin and am spraying my cloths. I have to admit I have’t bee as careful as I should and twice now I am dizzy, nauseated and tired. Is this an effect of the Permethrin or just a coincidence? Getting ready to go to the BWCA and expecting lots of bugs.

  35. The spec for treating military clothing is MIL-DTL-44410C. A web search will bring up a .pdf which describes the process for treating clothing.

    The kit provided for doing so includes the equivalent of a gallon Ziploc, a piece of string, and two bottles with 9ml (about 1/3 oz.) 40% permethrin in each. One bottle (I guess the other is a spare) is mixed with 15 oz water in the bag and agitated, the garment is rolled up and tied and placed in the bag, shaken and kneaded to distribute the solution and left to soak about three hours, then hung up to dry. The document says this will last the life of the garment (50 washings).

    I did notice some difference in the permethrin specified and the 36.8% product I’d been purchasing. The 36.8% concentrate has a cis/trans isomers ratio of max. 42% cis and min. 58% trans, whereas the 40% concentrate in the mil spec has 35%/65% ratio.

    Being the inveterate tinkerer, I had to find that stuff and finally found some Gardstar 40% EC (Emulsifiable Concentrate) with the same cis/trans ratio and bought a quart of it. It costs about double what the 36.8% product does. I don’t know if all that makes any difference but I’ll have on hand enough to treat my entire family wardrobe. I was able to fish out of pertinent military documents the supplier for the permethrin in the kits but I couldn’t find a website for that company so I searched for and bought what had the equivalent specs.

  36. So, this is a great recommendation. I have used both the spray and soak methods and moth are effective. And, after some thought, I have another method to apply. We had an un-used 1 gallon plant sprayer in the back shed and my wife suggested we mix up a batch from concentrate and spray our gear. So, 4 ounces concentrate (@ 10%) blended with 76 ounces water yields a 0.5% concentration. We put a blue tarp out in the shade and then carefully layout clothes, foot wear, etc so they are flat and each piece touching the adjacent pieces. Then apply, let dry, turn items over and re-apply. This is the most efficient way we have found (practically zero waste, minimal handling required) plus it is easy to do tents, screen rooms, and other “bulky” items. Jb

  37. You’d never believe I was a math major…

  38. I’ve seen a lot of people freak out about it being poisonous while still liquid. Doesn’t seem possible since a potion of twice the strength of what we’re soaking clothing in (1%) is what’s prescribed for people with head lice.

  39. Thanks Philip for taking the time to let the average guy know how to affordably protect their self and family from mosquitoes, tics and other insects/bugs while enjoying everyday life outdoors. If it were up to big business and regulators no one would know how to do anything but pay for expensive products. I like your DIY approach and will start protecting my family this way. I have so many friends and even family members who now suffer with Lyme disease that when you think about it may have been prevented by using this clothing soak method and some DEET. Great job!

  40. Does anyone have any experience with the effectiveness of Permethrin treatment as protection from no-see-ums?

    And thank you for all of your helpful calculations and advice!

  41. I bit the bullet and did my own permethrin soaking before my section hike (in Virginia) this August. No problems with ticks: hurray. Thanks for the instructions.

    But a question: is there a risk that in rinsing out clothes along the way that some of the permethrin be wrung out? In wringing out some clothing while on the trail, the rinse water seemed cloudy in an unusual way. I wondered weather it was not simply sweat but the permethrin. Could that be possible? If so, it would certainly be a concern both for the protection the clothing provides and for the environment.

  42. After soaking the clothing, can you dry them in the dryer – maybe after they drip dry? Socks can take 3 days to dry if you do not put them in the sun.

  43. I premixed Martin’s 10% permethrin to a 0.5% concentration. I used a clean plastic container. About 1 month later, the permethrin has floating “slime” and some has turned black, almost like a mildew appearance. One of the ziploc bags I used for soaking also had this same black slime.

    Has anyone else experienced this? Any guesses as to what’s causing it? Should this solution be disposed of, safely, or used?

  44. Gotcha … misinterpreted your original reply.

  45. Hi Philip, thank you so much for this super informative post, and to those who have left comments with additional guidance. We are planning to go ahead and try this method. Unfortunately, we are based in the UK and unable to purchase Martins Permethrin – indeed, the options look significantly more limited this side of the Atlantic! We have narrowed our potential options down to two brands: Lignum Pro (62.5) and Permost CT. We think we have a preference for the Permost (its main non-active ingredient is propanediol which seems pretty inoffensive, whereas the inactive ingredients in the Lignum have a few more general health warnings attached). However our main concern is the Permost apparently is ‘microencapsulated’ permethrin, with 50% being large and 50% being small, to give longer lasting results when sprayed on a surface. Appreciate this is completely out of the scope of your initial post, and may not be something you have come across, but just wondered if you had any thoughts on how this might impact the effectiveness when treating fabric?

  46. I ran into an issue with mites infestation in my jome. My question is, can I soak my bed sheets and blankets in permethrine to get mites out of them?

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