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How to Wash Insect Repellent from Your Clothing

Posted by Patricia Spencer on
How to Wash Insect Repellent from Your Clothing


Between the warm weather, the ample sunshine and the endless barbecues, it’s hard to find something not to love about the summer season – that is, until we get our first insect bite that leaves us itching for hours.  Biting bugs are one of the absolute least favorite byproducts of the warmer months of the year, but at least we have plenty of bug sprays to choose from in order to keep insects off of our bodies as much as possible.

No matter what kind of bug spray you apply to your skin, there’s always the risk of staining your clothes.  Why?  Because most bug sprays are oil-based formulas, as oil sticks to the skin longer than water, prolonging their insect-repelling effects.  There are all kinds of other ingredients in bug sprays that can add to the discoloration that ends up on your favorite summertime garments.  Luckily, with some natural cleaning products you have lying around at home, like natural laundry pods, chemical free dish soap, and so on, you can eliminate those stains quickly and effectively.

How to Get Rid of an Insect Repellent Stain

As is usually the case, the sooner you act, the better.  Waiting too long to address the stain gives it plenty of time to set deep into the fibers of the material, making it all the tougher to remove.  Follow these steps below, which rely on non-toxic cleaning products to do all of the hard work.

Step #1: Remove the Garment ASAP

As soon as you notice the bug spray stain, remove the clothing item so that you can address it.  Of course, this may not be possible if you’re camping, hiking or doing any other kind of activity where you’ll be outdoors and away from home for a while.

Step #2: Pre-Treat with Natural Dish Soap

Now, let’s pre-treat the stain, to give a head start to the stain removal process.  You can use something you already have lying around your home, which is the natural dish soap that’s next to your kitchen sink.  We recommend a sustainable dish soap formula such as Grab Green Liquid Dish Soap, which is an eco-friendly dish soap formula that’s gentle on fabrics, but effective at breaking up the oils in many bug spray products.  Simply massage this dish soap into the stain and let it sit for 5 minutes.

Step #3: Throw It in the Wash

You’ve pre-treated the stain, so all that’s left to do is go through a wash cycle.  The dish soap will be working hard to lift away the oils in the material as you make your way into the laundry room.  We strongly suggest using non toxic laundry pods, as they’re better for your skin.  Grab Green’s naturally-derived 3 in 1 Laundry Detergent Pods are the answer, since they’re the best non-toxic laundry detergent for sensitive skin.  You can also go with a natural laundry powder if that’s what you prefer.  Once the washing cycle is done, you can run your clothes through the dryer (if the label on the clothing says you can so do) as you normally would, using either natural dryer sheets like Grab Green Classic Laundry Dryer Sheets or Stoneworks Dryer Sheets, or even Grab Green Dryer Balls to stop static cling from making for an annoying laundry separating process.

Insect Repellant Stains Aren’t the End of the World!

Insect repellant is an important way to prevent bug bites that can be annoying at best, and harmful to our health at worst.  Just because it has the potential to stain fabrics doesn’t mean that we should forego it, and simply allow those summertime pests to feed on us all season long.  As you can see, you can remove bug spray stains with natural cleaning products that you already have lying around your house, without relying on harsh and dangerous chemicals to get the job done.

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