How to Use Permethrin Spray

By Outdoors Allie • April 11, 2023

I prevent ticks and mosquitoes by using Permethrin. I use an odorless Permethrin by a brand called Sawyer, which you can find right here on

Permethrin is not a topical treatment like a DEET or Picaridin. It is meant to treat your clothing or other fabrics. The reason why it's not used as a topical treatment like DEET or Picaridin is Permethrin breaks down very quickly when applied to your skin. Instead, you apply it to fabrics by fully saturating them and allowing ample time to dry. That way, you get the lasting effects of Permethrin for up to six weeks or six washes, whichever comes first. Permethrin protects you from ticks and mosquitoes, which are really the big ones because they can transmit diseases, but it also protects you against 50 other insect species. A single bottle contains four and a half fluid ounces and is meant to treat one outfit. What consists of an outfit? For me, it's a pair of pants, socks, and a shirt. Depending on what you want to treat, you can estimate how much Permethrin you'll need.

To apply Permethrin, you first want to ensure that you are in a well-ventilated area. You'll spray it in a sweeping motion, about six to eight inches from the fabric you're treating. Continue spraying until the material is saturated with Permethrin. Then you must let it dry--at least overnight, but it's recommended 24 hours. The treatment will last for six weeks, or six washes, whichever comes first. The agitation from your washing machine starts to break it down more quickly, so if you want to try and extend the life a little bit longer, just hand wash and hang it to dry. And Permethrin is not just for clothing. You can also treat your backpacks, tent, sleeping bag, or anything that is fabric.

--Outdoors Allie