Permethrin – A Textile Finish


At Pincroft we are proud to be one of Europe’s largest commission printers, dyers and finishers providing services to a range of industries including militaries across the globe. As part of our chemical finishing service, we offer Permethrin fabric treatment that has a range of commercial and military applications.

What is Permethrin?

Permethrin is a medication used to treat certain infections caused by insects such as lice and insecticide for use in agriculture or when applied to fabric products like mosquito nets. Permethrin is used in a number of ways to control insects, here we are looking at its applications on clothing and textiles as an active way to deter mosquitoes and ticks. 

Known as an ‘impregnated chemical’ Permethrin is soaked into fabric, whereas other repellents merely repel mosquitoes, ticks and other disease carrying arthropods, Permethrin treated fabrics will actively repel and kill. Once applied to a fabric, for example an army uniform, the Permethrin textile provides 99-100% bite protection for up to 50 launderings, which is the expected lifetime of the uniform. Even after this point, the impregnated chemical will provide substantial bite protection, but not to the same level. 
Permethrin and its applications?


When a country goes to war some loss of life is unfortunately expected. However, if we take the US military as an example, in recent times the greatest cause for loss of life has not been combat; diseases are the greatest cause of loss of life.

In the Vietnam War and the Persian Gulf War for example, disease casualties, the majority of which were caused by insect bites, outnumbered combat casualties according to some records. Now, we know that this loss of life could have been avoided, and as with everything, when a problem like this rears its head, a solution is quickly sought. In this case, the solution is Permethrin.

With vaccines not available or effective against a large percentage of these vector borne diseases such as malaria, scrub typhus, leishmaniasis, and Congo-Crimean hemorrhagic fever, all of which are particularly prevalent and often encountered by US military overseas personnel; an alternative solution had to be found. This threat of disease is not exclusive to overseas deployment, even in the US, tick borne diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Colorado tick fever are often encountered by soldiers.

Now, Permethrin is the only pesticide that has been approved by EPA for use to treat combat uniforms, and the US Military has been deploying its personnel with Permethrin treated uniforms for over 20 years, which used in conjunction with other repellents, has greatly reduced the disease borne death toll.


Just as the US Military has made the use of Permethrin treated fabrics the norm, with great results, so too can it be used in a commercial environment, protecting the consumer from these very same threats from vector borne disease. Permethrin can be used effectively either pre-treated or self treated on:

  • Clothing
  • Shoes
  • Bedding
  • Netting
  • Camping gear

If it’s made of fabric, you can treat it and protect yourself from the risks of vector borne diseases. This is an attractive option to anyone who has been camping or fishing almost anywhere in the world, you will not have to put up with irritating bites and the risks that come with them any longer.

Is it safe to wear?

While killing an array of vectors, such as ticks and mosquitos, Permethrin is completely safe to wear. You should, under no circumstances, consume Permethrin, but then the same can be said about countless other items and products. In fact, one of the most widely used repellents, DEET, is absorbed 20 times more through the skin than Permethrin is. So you could argue that having Permethrin treated clothing and fabrics is in fact 20 times safer than applying a liberal layer of DEET to your body.

At Pincroft we have 130 years of commission textile treatment knowledge and we pride ourselves on working closely with our customers to meet their exact fabric requirements.

To find out more about what we can do with Permethrin, get in touch with one of our technical experts today, and find out what we can do for you.