Your favorite way to treat clothing with permethrin?

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Shiker
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Your favorite way to treat clothing with permethrin?

Post by Shiker » Mon Aug 12, 2019 4:02 pm

I need to do a big batch of clothing and am looking for suggestions. I get my permethrin as a 10% concentration from Amazon and dilute it down with water myself. It comes in a one quart container of concentrate, so I have options...

What do you prefer to do? Spray or soak? Any "tips and tricks" to speed the process or make it easier?

My current method: I am currently using the "spray method." I use a 2 cup generic pump-action plastic spray bottle (like $1 from Target or Walmart). I measure in the right amount of concentrate and add water so that I have 2 cups of 0.5% solution. I hang shirts in plastic hangers on the clothesline outside. I also spread plastic sheets down on the patio and lay out everything else.

I put on rubber gloves, goggles and a cheap dusk mask, and old clothes. Then I spray everything down until it is wet. For stuff on the plastic sheets, I spray one side, then flip them over and spray the other side.

This seems simple enough, but takes a surprising amount of time when I do clothing for a 1-2 week trip (car camping or hiking) for four people. I have to fill the spray bottle 3-4 times and it takes a lot of spraying... Probably a couple of hours all told.

I'm wondering if there are ways to make this more efficient. I'm also wondering if I should try the soak method. Maybe mix a gallon of solution in one of those Home Depot 5 gal buckets, putting in all the clothes, closing off the top with a lid and sloshing it around?








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Re: Your favorite way to treat clothing with permethrin?

Post by gary c. » Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:17 am

I didn't know that a concentrate was available? I've just been buying the spray bottles and applying as is. Can you post a link of the concentrate that you buy?
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Re: Your favorite way to treat clothing with permethrin?

Post by c9h13no3 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:00 am

I have lots of thoughts, mostly based on my chemical intuition rather than experience. I've never applied Permethrin myself (I just buy it pre-treated).

1) Diluting the 10% concentrate may be bad. Permethrin is not a water loving molecule, and diluting the emulsion may cause it to lose stability. Without soap & additives the permethrin would prefer to float to the top like oil on water. Unless it says you can dilute it on the bottle, I'd apply as is.

2) I don't think the method that you apply it matters much. Soak vs. spray, if you're putting the same amount of active ingredient on, it shouldn't matter. The spray method probably uses less material than soaking, getting more pesticide on your clothes & less in the water supply.

3) Drying the clothes completely after application is likely important. You want to make sure all the permethrin is bound to the fabric of your clothing. Maybe a short cycle in the dryer at low temperature after they've had time to dry outside in the sun.
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Re: Your favorite way to treat clothing with permethrin?

Post by maverick » Tue Aug 13, 2019 11:50 am

What do you prefer to do? Spray or soak? Any "tips and tricks" to speed the process or make it easier?
Neither, no chemicals, that includes no deet or anything else.
Mosquitoes cannot penetrate my pants, or my thin 3.9 oz windbreaker (Patagonia Houdini), if it's really bad, the head net goes on and some ultra thin liner gloves. :)

When I did apply Permethrin years ago, it was a hit an miss, some places mosquitoes would land and take off, some places it did not work at all.
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Re: Your favorite way to treat clothing with permethrin?

Post by Shiker » Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:22 pm

gary c. wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:17 am
I didn't know that a concentrate was available? I've just been buying the spray bottles and applying as is. Can you post a link of the concentrate that you buy?
This one. To get a 0.5% solution, add 1 part concentrate to 19 parts water. BTW, this is intended to be be diluted in this fashion. It is in the directions.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00061MSS0/

There is also a 36.8% concentrate which may seem to be a better deal. But do NOT buy the 36.8% concentrate for treating clothing.

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Re: Your favorite way to treat clothing with permethrin?

Post by Shiker » Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:34 pm

c9h13no3 wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:00 am
I have lots of thoughts, mostly based on my chemical intuition rather than experience. I've never applied Permethrin myself (I just buy it pre-treated).

1) Diluting the 10% concentrate may be bad. Permethrin is not a water loving molecule, and diluting the emulsion may cause it to lose stability. Without soap & additives the permethrin would prefer to float to the top like oil on water. Unless it says you can dilute it on the bottle, I'd apply as is.

2) I don't think the method that you apply it matters much. Soak vs. spray, if you're putting the same amount of active ingredient on, it shouldn't matter. The spray method probably uses less material than soaking, getting more pesticide on your clothes & less in the water supply.

3) Drying the clothes completely after application is likely important. You want to make sure all the permethrin is bound to the fabric of your clothing. Maybe a short cycle in the dryer at low temperature after they've had time to dry outside in the sun.
1. It is intended to be diluted with water. That is in the directions.

2. The method of application should not matter, so long as you get the concentration right, apply enough to each item of clothing, apply it evenly. However, some methods probably take more time and effort than others. I'm trying to find the most efficient way, because the way I've been doing it takes longer than I'd like and is tedious.

3. Yes, the "wet" solution should be treated as toxic and safety gear should be used to prevent breathing it in, getting it in your eyes, or having it contact your skin. Don't wear the clothing until it is completely dry. But to maximize the effectiveness of the treatment, it is recommended to avoid machine washing or drying. Hand wash and line dry instead.

For this advice and additional advice, see https://sawyer.com/maximize-effectivene ... treatment/

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Re: Your favorite way to treat clothing with permethrin?

Post by Shiker » Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:56 pm

maverick wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 11:50 am
What do you prefer to do? Spray or soak? Any "tips and tricks" to speed the process or make it easier?
Neither, no chemicals, that includes no deet or anything else.
Mosquitoes cannot penetrate my pants, or my thin 3.9 oz windbreaker (Patagonia Houdini), if it's really bad, the head net goes on and some ultra thin liner gloves. :)

When I did apply Permethrin years ago, it was a hit an miss, some places mosquitoes would land and take off, some places it did not work at all.
The first time I used permethrin, it didn't work that well. I think this is because I bought a pre-mixed spray bottle from REI. Since it is expensive and you don't get a lot, I just spritzed the clothing with it.

Later I learned that to be effective you really want to wet down the clothing with the solution. And this is easy to do and cost-efficient if you get the 10% concentrate in bulk. Since I started doing this, it's worked really well. When mosquitoes are really, really bad, I still will put on DEET, but I have to do this much less often. In moderate conditions, I usually don't need DEET at all.

Doesn't get hot wearing long pants and your windbreaker during the day?

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Re: Your favorite way to treat clothing with permethrin?

Post by maverick » Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:19 pm

Doesn't get hot wearing long pants and your windbreaker during the day?
Always wear long convertible pants (try not use to much sun screen), which when partially unzipped at the knees, allows some cooling. It's only at breaks and camp that the windbreaker and gloves come on. Wear a large bandanna under my baseball cap, which I move side to side to keep the mosquitoes off my face and neck, and may put the windbreaker on, if they are swarming, 4 and above on our mosquito scale. :)
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Re: Your favorite way to treat clothing with permethrin?

Post by Rockyroad » Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:29 am

I use the same strategy: Patagonia Houdini on top and untreated long pants which for me doesn't get hot. I think it is because my skin isn't heating up from the direct rays. Also, no repellent nor sunscreen on my legs seem to result in less sweating and feeling cleaner at the end of the day. My long sleeved sun shirt also works well as a sun/mosquito barrier. It breathes a little better than the Houdini but the Houdini breathes much better than I would have expected.

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Re: Your favorite way to treat clothing with permethrin?

Post by Shiker » Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:45 pm

I came up with a modified soak method that I think works pretty well. Here's what I did:

I filled a 5 gallon plastic Home Depot bucket about 80% full with clothes. Then I mixed one gallon of 0.5% permethrin solution in 1/2 gallon increments and poured it over the clothes in the bucket. (I was hoping to use less, but 1 gallon seemed to be about the right amount.) Using rubber gloves, I "stirred" the clothing around so that everything would get wet. Then I started taking items out, focusing on the items that were the most absorbent and seemed to be the most soaked. I would squeeze out the solution onto the clothing still in the bucket and put in a kitchen-size trash bag.

I had two bucketfuls of clothing like this, so I used 2 gallons of the 0.5% solution. This was a solution I mixed myself in an old milk bottle from 10% concentrate I got from Amazon (link upthread).

Finally I put the wet clothes out to dry, on a clothing line or laid out on plastic sheet on my backyard patio.

This was faster and less work then spraying the clothing. Also, spraying creates a mist that, what with the breeze, inevitably ends up on you and the surroundings. So eye protection and face mask are must. I was able to avoid that.

It did end up using a lot more permethrin. I suspect that the treated clothing will work better as a result. At least I hope they will! I am about to find out...

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