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New clothes declares to ward off mosquitoes


Manufacturers of special permethrin-treated clothing guarantee it will protect you from mosquitoes. Permethrin is a chemical insecticide approved by the Environmental Protection Agency against a large range of bugs, everything from ticks to mosquitoes.

L.L.Bean and ExOfficio say their t-shirts will ward off mosquitoes and other bugs for up to 70 washings. The t-shirts do not come cheap, costing more than $70.

Consumer Reports checked to see how well the t-shirts avoid mosquito bites, both when new and after being cleaned 25 times. Volunteers put their arms into cages with 200 mosquitoes. The permethrin-treated clothes did stun or eliminate numerous mosquitoes that landed, however none was foolproof in preventing mosquito bites.

The volunteers were not bitten when wearing the brand-new L.L.Bean t-shirt, however after the t-shirt had been washed, Aedes mosquitoes that can carry the Zika virus bit three from 4 testers. With the ExOfficio t-shirts, both new and cleaned, all 4 testers got bites from the Aedes mosquitoes as well as Culex mosquitoes, which can carry the West Nile virus.

Consumer Reports contacted the companies that make the permethrin treatment, Burlington and Insect Shield. Both pointed out official studies and field-testing information to highlight the effectiveness of their products. And a government professional states the clothes can decrease the number of mosquitoes right around you.

There is another method protect yourself, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Any repellent that deals with your skin needs to work for just as long when used to clothes.

Customer Reports attempted the exact same test with a routine t-shirt sprayed with a 30 percent deet insect repellent. None of the volunteers were bitten. If you do attempt this, Consumer Reports advises spraying your clothing before you put them on and waiting until they're totally dry.

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