Insect Repellent for Flame Resistant (FL) Clothing
Provided by CRC

Everyone in the Utility and PetroChemical industries understands the importance of FR Clothing and the protection it provides during an arc flash.  What may not be known is, what kind of insect repellents to use for outside workers while still maintaining the integrity of the FR clothing.   Traditional insect repellents contain DEET, which is very effective at repelling insects.  However, DEET is highly flammable and can negate the flame resistant properties of FR Clothing by actually making the garment flammable.  DEET containing insect repellents should never be applied to FR Clothing.  The goods news is if DEET containing insect repellents are accidentally applied to FR Clothing, it can be removed through regular washing.  But then the question remains, what insect repellent is safe to use on FR Clothing?

Permethrin vs. DEET

Permethrin is a water-based insect repellent that has been shown not to have an adverse effect on the flame resistance of FR Clothing.  Permethrin is a human-made synthetic pyrethroid that not only repels insects but also works as a contact insecticide, causing nervous system toxicity that leads to the death or “knockdown” of the insect. The chemical is effective against mosquitoes, flies, ticks, and other flying insects.   CRC has developed and tested an insect repellent based on Permethrin called Flame Resistant Clothing Insect Repellent.

ASTM Testing

Working with a leading manufacturer of FR Clothing, testing for CRC’s product was performed at Kinetrics Laboratory in Toronto, Ontario.  The flash arc test was conducted according to ASTM F2621-06: Standard Practice for Determining Response Characteristics and Design Integrity of Arc Rate Finished Products in an Electric Arc Exposure. A picture of DEET-treated clothing (garment on left)can be seen above versus CRC FR Clothing Insect Repellent-treated clothing (garment on the right).

Aerosol versus Pump Sprays

Through field testing, CRC has determined that an aerosol can is the best delivery system to apply insect repellents.  The easy-to-spray button leaves uniform coverage on the garments, which allow total protection for the end user.  Use of pump sprays tends to leave uneven coverage on the clothing leading to untreated areas.  Because the repellent binds to the fabric, one treatment lasts 2 weeks or up to 6 washings.  (Yes, it actually lasts through washings.)  One 8 oz. aerosol can will treat 2 complete FR Clothing outfits: shirt, trousers, and socks.

For further information on FR Clothing, please consult one of the many manufacturers of these products.  For further information on CRC FR Clothing Insect Repellent, contact your Motion Sales Representative or visit